Mercury's Demise Met With Sadness, Shrugs

"My wife and I had one in college and it was the worst car we have ever owned. Like driving a large piece of crappy plastic.Took it to the dealer for a transmission problem and they told us the engine needed to be replaced (out of warranty). Told me it might make it 500 more miles. They didn't know I was an engineer and with further questioning I found that they failed to run any tests to confirm the engine was bad. We drove it 16,000 more miles on that "bad" engine before we traded it in. They never checked the transmission problem. Hey Saturn, have a good funeral! I wonder if the coffin will be made out of the same plastic as their cars."
-Steve, Tallahassee, Florida

Smith & Hawken

Plant buffs across the country mourned the demise of major garden retailer Smith & Hawken in July, 2009, when the 30-year-old chain's parent company, Scotts Miracle-Gro, announced it would shutter all 56 Smith & Hawken stores in 22 states. The company decided to close the stores after finding that "the combination of a weak economy and the lack of scale proved too great to overcome," CEO Jim Hagedorn said in a written statement.

"Losing Smith and Hawken is losing a 'lift your spirits' type of store. The exotic orchids, the dutch bulbs of highest quality, the upmarket pots and outdoor furniture all of which were pure garden perfection. Even if I did not buy during a particular visit, I would OFTEN visit, just to browse because Smith & Hawken was a 'something special store'. I am very sad … and I do not want to believe it has happened."
-Denise Wade, Montgomery, Texas

"I've been a loyal customer since the mid 1980s, and they have no peers for quality and service. It's like losing a trusted friend."
-Daniel McGinnis, Westmont, New Jersey

"The feeling is one of sadness that something that offers such reliable quality in terms of gardening tools and gardening accessories is no longer able to make it in today's economy … Walking into their store is a little bit like a going to a public garden, because of the number of things they have add depth and color to gardening peoples' lives."
-Heidi Hesselein, Allentown, New Jersey


Automaker General Motors announced in April that it would phase out its Pontiac brand next year. GM introduced the brand, known for its Firebird, Trans Am and Grand Prix models, among others, in 1926. Some readers told us they have long, personal histories with the Pontiac brand.

"I got to help my dad pick out a Bonneville the one year (1963) we lived in West Palm Beach, Florida. I was in fourth grade and we needed a car so Dad and I picked out the most beautiful Bonneville - all white with red trim (not seats, just trim). We never had a better, sweeter car."
- Amy Mayhall, Santa Barbara, California

"My first automobile that I purchased on my own was a 1985 Sunbird. It lasted approximately 10 years, then I purchased a used '94 Sunbird in '95 because they had stopped making them. It too lasted until 2004. ... I put well over 100,000 miles on both of my Pontiacs. I will be retiring soon and I was going to purchase a new Pontiac as my retirement car, but things change, which I just have to accept. ... It's a sad day for us GM drivers."
- Cherisee Beasley, Detroit

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