Tough Times for Some, Good Times for Others

Glenn Swanson
by Glenn Swanson
tough times for some good times for others

"It's one of those rare businesses: when the economy struggles, Henry McCarty's work thrives," reports KHOU (via CNN). Henry McCarty's "work" is repossessing cars from those who've fallen behind on the payments. Just how good is the repo business in the Houston, TX area these days? "We're running 24 hours a day, seven days a week, just to keep up," says McCarty, who runs Citywide Lien Enforcements. McCarty says "There's a lot of people out there that fall on tough times," and default on car and truck loans. "They're bankers, they're police officers, they're… you know, even doctors." KHOU reporter Kevin Peters says that nationwide, about 1.5m vehicles were repossessed last year, up 15 percent from 2006. He adds that "experts" predict another "10-percent jump" in the number of repos this year. As for repo man McCarty, he says most folks don't try to stop him when he shows up to tow a vehicle away, in fact, most people expect it. "People are just givin' up these bigger cars because of gas prices, you know, they're going to the more economicals." English skills aside, McCarty's knows the good times for his business come at the expense of those less fortunate: "We're not out there to try and be the bad guys." In other words, don't take it personally- it's just business.

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  • Joshvar Joshvar on Apr 07, 2008

    @canfood: Same can be said for the Dallas area. Except it isn't quite as humid.

  • Robert Schwartz Robert Schwartz on Apr 07, 2008

    Repo Man is a great flick. Frustrated punk rocker Otto (Emilio Estevez) quits his supermarket job after slugging a co-worker, and is dumped by his girlfriend at a party. Wandering the streets in frustration, he is approached by Bud (Harry Dean Stanton), who needs a vehicle driven out of a "bad area." After discovering his parents have donated his college fund to a televangelist, he joins the Helping Hand Acceptance Corporation and is apprenticed to Bud, veteran repo-man, with some bad habits. The plot thickens when the repo men are told about a Chevy Malibu with a $20,000 bounty on it. The soundtrack features punk rockers: Iggy Pop, Fear, Black Flag, Circle Jerks, and Suicidal Tendencies. Strippo's quote above is from the movie. The first car I ever owned was a Chevy Malibu of that vintage (1965). With a basic small block and nothing in the way of accessories, it was fun to drive. I bought it for $450 in 1969 (it was probably $2,000 new) drove it for three years and had it towed away for $100 in 1972.

  • Praxis Praxis on Apr 07, 2008

    Steve_S; I'd be a bit wary about taking home one of these vehicles. I suspect the owners stopped paying for maintenance long before they defaulted on their loan.

  • Dastanley Dastanley on Apr 07, 2008

    Here in New Mexico, a problem we have here in town is that the indigenous population that resides on the rez often buys an item or vehicle (F-250s are popular) over time, maybe makes the first payment, and then hides out on the rez with the item. No more payments are made and no repos are possible. After all, the ___ Nation is a sovereign nation and only the FBI and the ___ Nation Police are permitted on the reservation. And then when merchants in town are reluctant to do business with said population, they are branded as racists. Your tax dollars at work. Funny. When the ___ Nation needs help from the US they play the race card, usually to their advantage. When the US needs assistance from the ___ Nation, then they're a sovereign nation and can't be bothered.