Big 8 Corporate Stiff List 2009

Over at CNN Money there is a slide show featuring massive durable goods slaughter as 2009 became the death year for some truly Big Names in consumerism.

Oldest To Die: Pontiac (born 1926) and Max Factor (also originated in the 1920s as a consumer product). Apparently the old muscle cars could have used a little of Mr. Factor’s makeup, as consumer’s found them unappealing enough for GM to pull the plug when undergoing bankruptcy. Max Factor products will continue to be sold in Europe, where glamour hangs-on to its image like Norma Desmond held on to her sanity.

Best Known Pop Culture Item: Kodachrome. Mama apparently finally decided to take it away. The once-mighty celluloid strip fell to just 1% of Kodak’s overall film sales, and was down to just one manufacturer when Kodak exposed the last frame to the light. The era of consumer color photography initiated by Kodachrome in 1935 is over, co-opted by the more convenient but far inferior digital camera. We are all culturally poorer as a result.

Most Geek To Go: Circuit City, because the iPod killed stereo sales, and Wal-Mart took over everything else. Unfortunate because they had a better selection than Wal-Mart. Partially resurrected online under new management, the name “Circuit City” will live on.

Most Likely Not To Succeed: Saturn, the attempt at Toyota-killing that never quite became an automotive threat. Started by GM in 1990, it was initially thought of as the “U.S. Yugo”. Quality improved over the years, but sales didn’t. Another casualty of the GM re-structuring.

Worst Case Of Food Poisoning: Gourmet magazine. Since 1940 the magazine that featured dishes Americans couldn’t cook, pronounce, or get handed to them through the car window.