Twinkies not going down without a fight


Isn’t it funny how the small things in life can have such an impact? That was never more true than when the Hostess Brand announced last Friday it was filing for bankruptcy, which could mean the end for favorites like Ho Hos and the famous Twinkie.

Immediately there were stories on both local and national levels about people buying out stores’ supplies of Hostess products.

Some were saving them to ration out and savor in the privacy of their own homes.
Others immediately turned to the Internet in our crazed era of believing that anything can make you a buck or $300, like the one package of Twinkies now on eBay.

In fact a search of “Twinkies” on the Internet auction site brought up more than 20,000 active listings for the sweet treats. Some people were selling entire boxes or groups of boxes, while others were selling individual packages.

One of the first thoughts many had when this debacle began was the maxim that Twinkies could survive a devastating event.

That is not true, however, as several articles have indicated that in fact Twinkies do have expiration dates.

The other funny thing that came to mind for me was the movie “Zombieland,” which tells of a group of nomads living in America after a Zombie apocalypse. One of the main characters, Tallahassee, played by Woody Harrelson, is on a constant quest for Twinkies and hunts in grocery stores, convenience stores and Hostess trucks for the elusive treat.

In one scene, he and his traveling companion, Columbus, played by Jesse Eisenberg of “The Social Network” fame, stumble upon a Hostess truck filled with Sno-Balls, not Twinkies.

“Oh, this Twinkie thing, it ain’t over yet,” Tallahassee says.

Another time Tallahassee says words that I imagine some Twinkie lovers have whispered in the past few days as they stared at empty shelves.

“Where are you, you spongy, yellow, delicious bastards?”

I haven’t gone on my own Twinkie quest. But I was in a local convenience store Monday night and just happened to see some Little Debbie snack cakes and thought I would see if the Hostess craze had hit this local shop.

Going around the corner, I found the treat section and a shelf still stocked with Hostess Donettes, Ho Hos and Ding Dongs — but no Twinkies.

Since Friday’s announcement about the Hostess plant closures, it’s been almost impossible to watch the national news or visit a national news website without seeing the latest update on the Twinkie disaster.

In fact, my inspiration for this column came from an article I found on msn.com, the Web page my husband has set to pop up when our Internet Explorer opens on the home computer.
The article from the “Today” show was titled “Twinkie’s last stand: It’s up to a mediator.”

The article was about Hostess Brands, unions and lenders all possibly going into mediation to resolve the issue rather than sending the bankruptcy to court. If they can resolve the issues behind a worker strike, Americans may soon be back to eating those iconic Twinkies.

In fact, John Pottow, a bankruptcy law professor at the University of Michigan, told “Today” that he expected an agreement to be drawn up today, less than 24 hours after they agreed to go into mediation in the first place.

While negotiations between unions and corporations don’t usually make the top headlines, when it comes to a snack so famous it had its own plot line in a movie, people tend to take notice.

Even if Hostess and the unions don’t come to some sort of agreement, there’s the likely scenario in play that another company will snatch up the recipe for a hefty sum and start producing it.

It really is amazing, though, that a sweet treat with literally no nutritional value can cause such a stir — one greater than many of the other news stories that should take precedence.
As I’m writing this column, I don’t know if Hostess and the unions will settle, or if the recipe will be sold to another company.

I do know that either way, Twinkies won’t be out of our lives for some time. Because who can resist that spongy, yellow, delicious goodness?


Shay Burk

Veteran Tribune reporter Shay Burk writes whatever is swirling around her mind each week. Read her columns on Tuesdays for her humorous thoughts on everyday life.

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