Friday, November 23, 2012
Geez, it’s been a rough weekend around my house. I don’t know what I’ve spent the most time worrying about, it’s hard to say. Was it the 3” of steady rain yesterday – not to mention the howling winds – that broke past records for our city’s weather? Was it almost attending the wrong 75th surprise birthday party for hub Russ’s two cousins on Saturday? (Even in a town as small as Trenton, N.C. – population, 227 – there seemed to be two parties going on simultaneously one mile apart. Who woulda thunk it?)
No, I’ll tell you what’s bothered me the most. It’s the shocking news that Twinkies will no longer be twinking or twinkling. Come to find out, Hostess Brands – their creator – is selling out. I don’t know about y’all, but I’ve tossed and turned for the past few nights. What is this world coming to? How could we be a nation without Twinkies? Hard to fathom, huh?
With the first headline, “Twinkies no more? Let’s consider what happens if the iconic snack really does go away?” on Nov. 17, my insomnia and anxiety began. This was followed the next day with more nervous jitters when I read another headline, “Twinkies a hit on online auction sites.” And finally, today, Nov. 19, I’m reading and nodding, “Twinkies likely to survive sale.” They aren’t out of the woods, or rather, sugar factory, yet, but it seems there is some hope, after all.
To begin with, the roughly century-old company, Hostess, has indeed shut down. Hostess makes Twinkies, Ho Hos (my dad’s favorite) and Ring Dings, even Wonder bread, Zingers, Yodels and Fruit Pies. Catchy names, right? All except for Fruit Pies. That one’s pretty lame. Tootie Fruitie would’ve been so much better.
I had no idea that so many urban legends existed about Twinkies, the “cream-filled sponge cake without the cream.” For the sake of being conversational, I’ll repeat them: did you know that some people say Twinkies are indestructible? That they are made with the same chemical as embalming? Did you know they last 5, 15, even 50 years? No! Not really to any of that nonsense! However, to set the record straight, Hostess staunchly maintains a 25 day, max, shelf life.
Now, if you think Hostess shut down due to the newer trendy, organic, all-natural, artisanal and seasonal competition, think again! No, it’s much simpler. Hostess blames it on a labor dispute – or, at least, they did at the time. Not so dramatic, huh?
But, fear not: the bidding wars have begun and people are snapping up Twinkies faster than you can say “150 calories of pure junk swallowed in 15 seconds!” On eBay, a 10-pack is $24.99 and four 10-packs are $99.99. Normal retail for a 10-pack is $5. One of their own sales reps from Sherman, Texas, who was laid off, recently bought up 16 boxes of Twinkies and Ding Dongs, selling them on eBay at $300 for three boxes. And finally, a fellow from Tampa, Florida, recently bought 20 boxes of the same two treats. He hopes to sell them for about $1,000 and “put the money to good use.” Yeah, sure he does.
I’m glad I was sitting down tonight when I read the paper with the latest news on Hostess. It seems that the company will now begin a bankruptcy proceeding to sell itself. They aren’t able to make it through a conventional Chapter 11 bankruptcy restructuring due to debt, management turmoil, rising labor costs and changing tastes in America, they say. So, they want to sell their assets and go out of business, EVEN with $2.5 billion in revenue per year and with high brand recognition.
Shoot! Twinkies alone brought in $68 million so far this year. Whoa! Speculation is that Hostess will sell the Twinkies’ name and recipe to a company that wants to make them. Two leading contenders are rumored to be Pabst Brewing Co. and Nature’s Own bread.
Well, I wonder what could possibly happen next to shock the palates of the hard-working, hard-drinking, hard-eating American public? Next thing you know, moonshine distillers will be making their first batches of legal liquor. Oh, wait!
That’s already happening. It says so right here in the same newspaper, “Moonshine makers set up shop in Georgia (Dawsonville) city hall.” Now I have heard it all! I wonder which one will last the longest: Twinkies or moonshine? Sounds like the lyrics to a great country song, if you ask me.
Ann Ipock “Life is Short, I Wish I Was Taller” firstname.lastname@example.org www.annipock.com