Traveling vendors put out of business

Published 4:58 pm Friday, July 2, 2010

Thanks to a state law that took effect Thursday, Clanton residents may never see another traveling gold buying show come through town.

That’s just fine with many of our residents.

The gold shows, taking advantage of an increase in the price of gold over the last few years and the lack of laws prohibiting the activity, swoop into town for a few days, advertise heavily, buy up gold and jewelry, and then leave as suddenly as they arrived.

The problem is these vendors also end up buying stolen items.

The traditional pawn shop has been around forever and operates under stringent guidelines: Anyone selling merchandise must present identification and submit to having a picture taken, and the shop must carefully document each item, report the transaction to police, and keep the item for 21 days before selling it.

Traveling vendors did not operate under the same guidelines, making them targets for criminals with something to get rid of. Plus, once the shows have picked up and moved on, it’s almost impossible for local police to track down stolen property.

The state rectified the situation by passing a law that requires dealers of precious metals and stones to operate out of a permanent place of business and to report transactions more thoroughly. Basically, the law is the end of traveling vendors, as we know them, in the state of Alabama.

That’s good news for local law enforcement as well as local pawnbrokers, who were frustrated that the competition didn’t have to play by the same set of rules.

It’s good for municipalities, also, because the traveling vendors that were previously only required to purchase a $50 license will now have to pay out at least $150 in county and state licenses on top of the standard city business license.

The new law is a win for everyone–except the traveling vendors.