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Americans Will Not Surrender SUVs Without a Fight

While many people are crowing about how the bad economy has cured them of the desire to procure new goods, when it comes to giving up the stuff we acquired during the boom, well, that’s an entirely different story. Today’s Wall Street Journal takes us on an epic, absurdly colorful ride with two repo men as they chase their prey across South Carolina. “People are doing everything they can now to hold onto what they’ve got,” repo entrepreneur Tony Cooper, an ex–Piggly Wiggly employee, tells the paper. “Do you think they’re going to wait [around] to give up their cars? They hide them. They fight over them.”

In the story, the guys spend about ten hours chasing down an evasive 28-year-old blonde waitress who owes $2,000 on a “lipstick-red” Jeep Cherokee. She keeps slipping through their fingers. As they track her, much Mountain Dew is consumed. Many cigarettes are smoked. And then, at last, comes the conclusion:

The elusive waitress was getting on Mr. Cooper’s nerves. “If we don’t put some kind of pressure on her, she’s going to keep playing games,” he said.

At 3:30 in the morning, they pulled up to a double-wide mobile home in the town of Dalzell. They rapped on the door. The waitress’s mother answered. She told them that she hadn’t talked to her daughter in months.

“If you can give me an address where we can go pick this up, I’ll give you 50 bucks,” Mr. Cooper offered.

The mother declined the bounty, but provided an address in Sumter. In an interview the next day, she explained that she wanted to force her daughter to take responsibility for her life.

The repo men drove 12 miles to the single-story home, white and peeling. Inside the carport, the beam of Mr. McGee’s flashlight touched on an armchair, a table, a wicker sofa, and, in the rear wall, a windowed door into the backyard. Through the glass, Mr. Cooper saw a flash of red metal.

“That’s it, buddy,” Mr. McGee said.

So scenic! The Journal tries to make the point that because repossession is getting more difficult, Tony’s business is struggling. But after this, we kind of think the only person who’s going to be out of a job is Dog the Bounty Hunter.

The Recession’s Gotten So Bad, Even The Repo Man’s Singing the Blues [WSJ]

Americans Will Not Surrender SUVs Without a Fight