The announcement that the Hostess company was filing bankruptcy, no longer in production or shipping its baked items to stores, set off a flurry of conversation via twitter, Facebook, emails, in office cubicles, and in grocery store aisles. It triggered childhood memories of foil wrapped Ding Dongs, Zingers or fruit pies in our brown bag lunches. Often a special Friday treat, after the homemade baked goods stash had been depleted during the week. Hostess items were hot trading commodities and if you so desired, could often gain something pretty lucrative in lieu of a Twinkie, or Hostess cupcake.
I got caught up in the moment and as the day wore on, became increasingly obsessed with acquiring one last box of Ding Dongs. My sister texted me and said “Remember how we used to put them in the freezer,” because for some forgotten reason that made them extra tasty. I naively believed by the end of the day I would still score at least one box, if not two or three. Carpooling that day with Noreen, who was also interested in the hunt for Hostess, we set out after work. First Winco, then Fred Meyer, Albertsons, Fred Meyer again, Albertsons again, a couple of convenience stores, and finally to a local outlet bakery that stocked Hostess products. More defeat as the outlet bakery had closed at 6 pm, and our hopeful faces plastered to the windows could see that nothing Hostess remained.
Except for the purchase of some Hostess Zingers, both vanilla and chocolate, we struck out. What remained on the store shelve were bags of hostess donuts and orange or strawberry cupcakes. Exhausted after a long week of week, we decided it was time to halt the Hostess hunt. We have both been working on eating healthier and trying to detox our bodies from excessive processed food consumption, so in the end, it was okay not to stockpile Ding Dongs.
Going into the stores on the hunt was an adventure. How many times have I walked by the Hostess product and yet when I went looking, it seemed elusive. We started out nonchalantly, quite certain we would be done with our Hostess purchases at the first stop. After the second store, we began to realize that of course many others had the same plan. At additional stops, we would split up, walk fast, or break into little spurts of running. Then I become a bit competitive, and paranoid, sure that everyone person walking into the store was going for a Hostess product. I deliberately, yet slowly pretended to be looking for something else, in case someone was following me. That strategy did not change the fact of empty shelves.
In the end we experienced jovial fun with store managers, clerks and other customers. We went down teenage memory lane recalling how carefully, slowly the foil on Ding Dongs had to be unwrapped in order to savior the moment. Through all the fun, jokes, and commentary on the highly processed, rather unhealthy nature of the product, we further reflected on the tremendous loss of jobs occurring right before Thanksgiving. Our hope is the company will be quickly acquired, perhaps the recipes adjusted, and folks re-employed.