TheStreet) -- We're sorry. The home, car, plane ticket and sandwich you wanted are all out of stock. Can we interest you in a gift card?
That's kind of how it went for many consumers this year as prices and loan rates rose, brands and discounted gadgets disappeared, airlines played hardball and restaurants just toyed with their emotions. With some products gone completely, others never to be found new again and still others facing steep markups or obsolescence next year, here are 10 items consumers should have bought when they had a chance:
This former military mainstay was supposed to handle anything that was thrown at it, but couldn't manage 20 years in the American auto market. Somewhere, a Jeep driver is laughing.
One of the hardware heroes of the first Gulf War -- if only because Patriot missile systems made lousy lawn toys -- the original Hummer produced by AM General first hit U.S. streets as a civilian vehicle in 1992. It wasn't until
bought the brand in 1998 and spun it off into smaller H2 and H3 models that the iconic vehicle gained traction.
"The Hummer, in that form, was the perfect symbol of the consumerism and the economy that we were all a part of in the early 2000s," says Charlie Vogelheim, executive editor at Intellichoice. "When you consider anyone buying, owning and operating the H1 in a suburban environment, it's absolutely ridiculous, but to fault GM for offering different iterations of it is hard when consumers were lining up for it."
Ten years later, however, amid soaring gas prices, shrinking vehicles and alternative fuel sources, GM started to give the Hummer second thoughts. Impending bankruptcy and slumping sales made the hardy Hummer expendable and, after a Chinese automaker passed on buying the brand, GM put it to rest this year. It made the last one in May and offered deep discounts on the remaining supply.
Hummer haters rejoiced, but the death of the symbolic all-consuming SUV did little to curb appetites for big trucks. Porsche's Cayenne SUV, fetching $75,000 to $100,000, is the brand's top-selling model. The redesigned crossover Ford Explorer is actually longer and wider than the SUV it replaced. The Jeep Grand Cherokee grew even without changing its designation. The difference is that each of those vehicles looks like the family car when sitting in the mall parking lot, while the Hummer still looked like a rich guy playing war games.
"It was over the top and extreme in a segment that grew over the top and extreme," Vogelheim says. "In the current sensibilities, it's the opposite of everything the consumer is looking for after the economic downturn in terms of obvious consumption."