It had to happen. As soon as Hostess Brands Inc. announced its plans to close shop last week, devotees of Ding Dongs, Ho Hos, Twinkies and a host of other packaged treats made a beeline for the supermarket to stock up. Some of these people, like Baltimore Hostess factory worker Adil Ahmed, had only theirs and their families’ interests at heart. According to an Associated Press story about the Hostess closure, Ahmed “…rushed to the supermarket Friday morning after hearing the news. Growing up in New Jersey, he said his Southeast Asian family bought Wonder Bread to dip in curries and loaded up on sweets from a nearby warehouse for the holidays.” In an interview, Ahmed shared, “I have nephews and nieces — we have to pass on the tradition to the next generation.” He did his part and purchased four boxes of Twinkies for a family gathering over the weekend.
Other folks joined in the shopping frenzy and it was only a matter of time before one of these enterprising people placed a soon-to-be-extinct (but hopefully not spoiled, thanks to ample preservatives) Hostess item for auction on eBay. Here it is, a Single Twinkie! Collectors Item!
Just in case you require a visual, here’s the picture from the listing:
If the $8,000 starting bid price looks steep to you, consider two things. First of all, the seller kindly is donating 50 percent of the proceeds of this sale to charity, in this case the American Red Cross in Greater New York.
The second consideration is a bit more obscure, but also potentially important regarding disaster preparedness. Hostess products, namely Twinkies, play a starring role alongside Woody Harrelson and Jesse Eisenberg in the 2009 thriller/comedy Zombieland. Harrelson’s character, Tallahassee, has such an affinity for what he calls “spongy yellow bastards” that he braves potential zombie attack to score them at an abandoned store. Here’s a montage of Twinkie scenes from the film:
Sno Balls, Devil Dogs, even Wonder Bread did not hold a candle to Twinkies, which were the most popular product made by Hostess. Their mass appeal and longevity (referring to 82 years of production, not to their actual shelf life which some people estimate as a mere 25 days when only sealed in cellophane packages) has generated some intriguing Twinkies trivia and lore:
*During his presidency, Bill Clinton called the snack cake “an object of enduring American symbolism” and placed one in the National Millennium Time Capsule.
*A single Twinkie contains 39 ingredients, five of which originate from rocks.
*That cream center? It isn’t cream, but shortening.
*The original name of the treat was Twinkie Fingers.
*At its height of popularity, Twinkies were produced at a rate of 16 per second.
*Twinkies show up on many films, including Ghostbusters and The Iron Giant. Watch the clips over at the Wired website: Sugar Drops: 10 Pop Culture Moments for Twinkies.
This madness for all things Twinkie extends beyond the little snack cake. According to Aaron Smith at CNN Money, eBay shoppers are moving in on the Hostess-themed merch as well. “A lunch box featuring ‘Twinkie the Kid,’ a cartoon character that bears a striking resemblance to the iconic yellow cake with cowboy hat, fetched a winning bid of $690 on Friday.”
If you love your Hostess products but your budget just can’t cover an $8,000 Twinkie, take heart. There’s a whole box of Suzy Q’s on eBay for 20 bucks.