tonight on "nightline" -- pawn queens. with the economy reeling, these gals started dealing with opening an upscale pawn shop. buying purses instead of car stereos. so what did they pay for things like this? and how much does gold bring? plus, high, high-heels. the primo love affair with ever higher heels. stilettos that look more like stilts. so how high is too high? kelly ripa invites us for confession of a shoe lover.
and tmz tours where she got a dui. the chicken place where he used to work. the corner where he got busted. part of the hollywood tour. the bus tour of shame. we hop aboard. good evening, i'm cynthia mcfadden. we begin with the economy. today was not a good day on wall street, with the dow down 130 points. consider the staggering loss of personal wealth in the u.s. since the crash 2 1/2 years ago. despite the recent recovery, almost $8 trillion is gone from our retirement savings, checking accounts and home value. about $25,000 for every man, woman and child in the country. meanwhile, the official unemployment figure is bad enough at 9% but if you add in those who have given up looking
or who are working part time but want to work more the rate climbs past 15%. that's more than 24 million people. so tonight, we meet two women who came up with a highly original solution to the crunch. they decided to take advantage of a booming market for used household goods. a market that has boosted sales of the nation's biggest pawn companies, 45% alone. here's vicki mabrey. >> reporter: if you're in the market for a ten-foot tall suit of armor or you've got one that you'd like to sell, mapleville is the place for you. at this combination pawn shop/second hand store, business is booming because, well, the economy isn't doing so great. >> so what are the most pawned items? >> jewelry. got to be jewelry. micky and menda are the owners,
along with menda's friend. >> ipods, phones. >> people are selling them. >> reporter: other popular items to pawn. first, it was gold, these days, it's silver. the price is in the stratosphere now. >> what used to be probably a family heirloom handed down from generation to generation, people are cashing in because of the high price of silver. $30 an hour or 30 bucks. it could be essentially a couple thousands dollars. >> people are coming in and they're deps pretty. desperate. >> so people that are unemployed, unfortunately and -- yeah. >> they don't have their savings, their little cushions like they used to. >> we kind of roll our eyes when i hear, hey, i'm trying to finance my trip to paris but you
feel heart-felt about the dad who says you're putting food on my table. >> reporter: easier than ebay, more lucrative than goodwill, whether buying or selling, pawn shops seem to be more acceptable even cool these days. >> the approachable pawn shop ideas have made it kind of chic, people are proud of the deal they get when they make a killing at something. >> reporter: nowadays, pawn shops aren't just on the seedy part of town with bars on the windows. >> bracelets, necklaces, rings, yep, you got it, we have it. >> why so much tiffany? >> relationships end every day. >> it's popular, you know. >> reasonably priced here. somebody wants a piece of tiffani, and they don't want to fork out several hundred
dollars. >> reporter: not that there aren't a lot of stereos and guitars and speakers, there are. >> of course when you start out in the business, you'll take anything you can get. we needed merchandise to fill the store. and people just started coming. >> reporter: but women, the natural shoppers, are the biggest customers. so not surprisingly, they're doing a big business in purses. >> oh, yes. yes, yes, yes. women come in with purses left and right. and i'm happy with that. >> there's lots of purses. >> i could use a purse. >> reporter: and thanks to the popularity of the show "shawn stars" on the history channel, they're cashing in themselves with a reality show called "pawn queens. >> i'm menda. >> i'm nikki. >> reporter: and "i love lucy"
doll, a wedding dress with christmas lights. a dog bed studded by 95,000 swarovski crystals. the owner said he paid $20,000. and you bought it? >> we took a pass. we couldn't get to a correct price. >> i don't know of anybody looking to buy a $10,000 dog bed, even at half price. >> wow, they're not real diamonds. >> i know, that it's kind of shocking, especially when you come in and you have a $10,000 price in your head. i can offer you $75. >> 75? >> reporter: and capitalizing on people's fascination, especially in leaner times, on how much you can get or what you might have 0 sell. tom guerin dropped by to see what he can get for this random
assortment of "playboy" paraphernalia, an old pipe, a couple of casino chips, a pair of cuff links. >> those mugs don't sell for that much, unfortunately. somebody didn't get 10 bucks for a set of four. >> reporter: he told us, he doesn't need the moneys are he's just cleaning out the lifetime accumulation of stuff. after bickering, when he gets a couple hundred dollars for his collection, he's okay. >> do you want to put it on ebay, do you want to put it on craigslist, or just take the smaller items in, grab a few dollars and fill the tank with gas and we're doing fine. >> reporter: are you guys making money? >> we're staying afloat. >> getting the bills paid. >> our landlords are doing okay. >> no new cars in the parking lot or anything like that. >> reporter: and in this economy, that's doing pretty well. this is vicki mabrey for "nightline" in naperville, illinois. >> the show is on thursday on
tlc. next, platforms, wedges, stilettos, oh, my. kelly ripa invite us into her closet to talk about the addiction to high high-heels. me. ♪ my lady! ♪ cornelius! my lady! will you take my hand?! [ male announcer ] car chases make movies better. [ tires screech ] and "fast five" has a lot of car chases. [ glass shatters ] in theaters and dealerships now.
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okay. let's talk about high-heels. we like to wear them because they look good, or at least we think they do. but what if the new trend of even higher heels, if a three-inch heel stylish and sexy? is a six-inch heel twice as sexy or twice as hard to walk in. high-heels can be dangerous to walk in. as juju chang fell out. >> reporter: sky high platforms are lady gaga. but when mariah and beyonce start falling over high-heels, not to mention a bevy of supermodels, it's got to be the shoes. in platforms, wedges, even
clogs, cow and horse hooves and bird-inspired heels. the higher the better. 6, 7, even 11 inches high. high-heels have doubled rising an average of three to six inches. and the queen of sky high-heels, kelly ripa. >> hi. how are you? >> hi, kelly. >> welcome to my inner abode. >> reporter: she's famous as regis' side kick but infamous for her stilt-like stilettos. do you wear them because of the way it makes you feel and the way it makes you look. >> i put on heels and i immediately for whatever reason look taller and skinnier and i look more confident because i feel more cough dents. >> an eight-inch heel, boy, this is like a stiletto. yeah, yeah. >> i have no life, like this is it. this is my hobby. >> it's a good hobby.
>> it's a lobby. >> reporter: new york's bergdoff goodman has a legendary shoe department. look at these. the fashion director says heels can't get much higher. these are close to seven, they're like six and change. and much pricier. this is $6,000. explain to me in the macrosense, women's love affair with shoes? >> it's unconditional love. you can gain 10 pounds and your shoes still fit. >> reporter: but do men love women in sky high shoes. are you dating this girl or this girl? >> ooh, it depends. i think some day you want to end up with this girl. but right now, this is kind of where we're leaning. >> reporter: maybe they're leaning towards these girls. >> we are here at crunch with stiletto strength so you can rock out those heels whenever you want to.
>> reporter: they're working on the stiletto strength on the aptly named crunch. for some, the quest for altitude can get treacherous. podiatrists are saying they're seeing an uptick in shortened achilles tendons and bunyans. that hasn't stopped thousands of women from joining kelly ripa in a charity race dubbed "the high-heel-a-thon." she started it two years ago. >> i thought this would be a fun idea and i thought i would win. i thought, i would blow these women out of the water because i maneuver in high-heels but it's quite different. >> one woman like did a total face plant. >> yeah, she dove across the finish line. >> you're in a lot of pain, you're bleeding all over the place, what happened? >> i won. >> reporter: they say pain is the price for beauty. and kelly ripa herself stirred
up controversy for being a little too devoted to her fashionable footwear even during a stress fracture. the blogosphere went a little bananas when you came out on crutches. >> my him doctor went insane. >> reporter: she cannot resist the high she says she gets from her heels. >> i'm never confident with what i'm wearing on my body, i always feel i made the wrong choice. but i'm always confident about the high-heels. who knows maybe i'll run with high-heel on. >> these are too high. >> reporter: maybe not. i'm juju chang for "nightline" in new york. >> if you thought those heels were something, check out our website at abcnews.com slash nightline for crazy numbers.
it has been so much serious news lately from the shoot nlg tucson to the tsunami in japan to say nothing of egypt and libya. we thought it was time to have a little fun. what better than a frolic in hollywood, a bus tour specializing in all the places the stars don't want you to see. david wright gets on board for tonight's "sign of the times." >> reporter: hollywood star tours tend to focus on the obvious, hollywood sign, rodeo drive, beverly hills. welcome to the show on wheels. ♪
>> reporter: tourism with a twist, or better still, twisted tourism. >> it's fun, you know, it's craziness. it's partying, it's trouble. >> reporter: harvie levin's website and tv show tmz is all about cutting stars down to size. >> most famous street in hollywood, sunset boulevard, whoo! >> all right. >> reporter: sunset boulevard has come a long way since norma desmond's close up. the drive-through where paris hilton got a dui. the fried chicken place where brad pitt's first job was to dress up in a chicken suit. >> exact place where hugh grant made the worst decision in his life. >> reporter: which is probably why hugh grant thought no one
would notice that he picked up a hooker here while he was dating elizabeth hurley. >> you see a celebrity, i want you to shout, there's a celebrity out there. >> reporter: the unmarked gyms where they work put. >> it looks like a regular house. >> reporter: they point out the swanky apartment buildings where the stars live. >> evander holyfield lives here. >> reporter: but linsey lohan recently moved out. >> you don't have that. >> reporter: and there are the five-star hotels where they make their sex tapes. >> you got any sex tapes? >> reporter: the four seasons beverly hills where they filmed "one night in paris." >> who knew that would be part of the sex tape at four seasons?
>> reporter: some of the bus' trial runs, stars have waved eager to be noticed. >> we have tyra banks, fabio. have you ever wanted to be a tour guide? >> i've wanted to do this more than a year. truth be told, i love being a tour guide. it is a blast. did i ever think of being a tour guide, no. could i be a tour guide? i really could. >> reporter: there's no one better informed. what's your favorite? >> a bunch that i'll never be able to get into. >> reporter: can i just say? you're right. hey, at least now i have a better idea of what i'm missing out on. i'm david wright for "nightline" in hollywood. >>