she sells family jewels to the city loan to go to work and fill up gas

An auction was held on Friday April 8th on behalf of the Crédit Municipal de Reims. The old “pawn shop”. Behind these objects, pieces of jewelery and other works of art are pledges of people who find themselves in sometimes dramatic personal situations.

The auctioneer waits patiently on his platform for the room to calm down. In front of him about thirty people, catalog in hand, are discussing the next auction. Gold jewellery, luxury watches, Chinese vases and bronze statuettes, everyone hopes to take home the piece they have discovered. All of these objects auctioned this Friday, April 8, come from the pledges deposited with the Crédit Municipal de Reims by people in financial difficulties. The old “pawnshop”, a convenience bank to get cash quickly.

Alain Copied has already found happiness: I acquired some jewelry, bracelets and paintings. I had set myself a budget of 1,000 euros, but went a little beyond that. For Alain, the important thing lies elsewhere. This 60-year-old, like the vast majority of those in attendance, is here mostly for the atmosphere and the bargain. “I bought things like bracelets that would have cost me a lot more at a jeweler. The same applies to tables. I mainly use them for framing. Normally it costs 250 euros and there I had them for 15 euros”.

But behind Alain’s “bargain”, behind each object, there is a personal or family story. Most of these assets are here because their previous owners were in dire need of cash and were unwilling or unable to retrieve the items pledged to the Crédit Municipal de Reims.

A few hundred meters from the auction room, on rue Henri Jadart, Isabelle Desseaux, director of Crédit Municipal de Reims, greets individuals behind the Plexiglas window of the entrance. The principle is simple: “Customers enter the engagement room, which is a confidential place, with their belongings, usually gold jewelry. Then, using a metal analyzer, the composition of the object is determined. Depending on its value, a credit scale is applied. Finally, you will receive the corresponding sum. »

We have 13% extra credit. This is explained by the recovery in economic activity, but also by the general inflation that we are currently witnessing.

Isabelle Desseaux

Director of the Credit Municipal de Reims

People have six months to recover their items, with the option to renew this contract as many times as they like. If the property is not reclaimed or the contract is not renewed, the latter is likely to go up for public auction.

In order to pawn an item, the person must provide identification, proof of address less than three months old, and in certain cases an invoice or proof of competence. “We have just over 2,000 active contracts for 1,400 users, says the director. We currently have 1 million 810,000 euros outstanding. But we found that there has been a 13% increase in loans since last year. This is explained by the recovery in economic activity, but also by the general inflation that we are currently witnessing. »

This inflation affects everything we consume on a daily basis. groceries, petrol, electricity, Rent, no domain escapes her. This price hike hits the less affluent hardest, especially since wages are not keeping up. As a guide, price increases in the euro zone hit 7.5% in March, the highest rate since the single currency was launched.

In the engagement room in Reims, a woman in her forties walked up to the counter. She places several objects on the facial features drawn behind her mask. Annick (alias) is a nursing assistant in a palliative care unit. She pawns jewelry that has a high sentimental value, like her husband’s wedding ring, who died of cancer a year ago, or her grandmother’s gold cross.

With a heavy heart she confides to the director: “A few years ago I had pawned jewelry. It took me three years to get her back by putting a little money aside each month. I’m coming back today because I have no choice.” The mother of two children earns 1,200 euros net per month “by making dog plans”. His children are not aware of his initiative.

During this exchange, the value of her jewelry decreases: 445 euros. ” That With the money, I can fill up my car to drive to work, do some shopping for my kids so they can eat, and buy tobacco. She explains. There will be no hairdresser, no beautician. All these beautiful things are not for me. »

In recent years, Annick has found that her purchasing power has gradually declined. Today she counts everything. All these editions aim at the same goal: Survive. “It’s been 19 years since I went on vacation. I don’t even remember what happened. The same applies to cinema or theater. My life is subway work sleep. At some point it has to stop. We only have one life and for me life isn’t that.”

With this money I can fill up my car to drive to work and to do shopping for my children.

The supervisor now turns her attention to the presidential election: “The President must be held accountable for everything that is wrong. Something has to be done, it can’t be done anymore. We should raise our wages and lower taxes so we can finally stay afloat. »

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