, Australia's Outback, the Bering Sea -- but none lonelier than the showroom of a Hummer dealership.
Looking for an up-close glimpse at economic ruination, I spent a couple of hours at Lynch Hummer
Chesterfield earlier today. Seemed like an eternity. There were no
signs of life at Missouri's one and only Hummer dealer. All an eerie
quiet, save for the three large American flags flapping in the icy
breeze and the ruffling noise of the plastic President's Day Sale sign that
had come unmoored from the entrance way.
Nary a creature stirred in the parking lot where dozens of the
world's biggest passenger vehicles languished like whales upon the sand
-- awesome, yet helpless.
The Hummer's days are numbered. Soon it will be gone the way of dinosaurs, many of which, in fact, were smaller than the $75,850 Hummer H2 SUV
(13 miles per gallon in the city; 16 on the freeway) that swallowed up a feisty share of showroom space at Lynch -- the proverbial gorilla in the living room, one might say. The converted and name-changed High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (Humvee) in-your-face automotive line that General Motors bought from AM General in 1999 is now on life-support. Then again, so is GM, who at one point last summer, was hemorrhaging $118,000 a minute.
Inside the showroom, I wandered about, you know, kicking the tires, fully expecting a salesman or two to come bounding out to greet me like a puppy dog that hasn't seen you since you left to pick up a carton of milk at Schnucks. But again, nothing.
At last a receptionist noticed me gazing at the sticker prices and asked if I needed help. I asked whether they've been doing much business these days. "Oh, sure, sure," she happily replied.
"We're selling a lot of these." She asked then if I'd like to talk to a salesman. I said, why sure, and to which suddenly appeared a man in windbreaker, carrying a clipboard.
I introduced myself and said I was doing sort of business story on the recession.
"We're not allowed to talk to the press. I can't talk to you," he said, plainly irritated.
Are you a salesman, I asked.
"No," was his sarcasting reply. "I just come here everyday."
At least somebody does.
There are many lonely places in this world -- the