I couldn't tell you the last time I ate a Twinkie or a Ding Dong, but I can hardly get the tasty treats out of my mind lately. I put the blame squarely on the shoulders of national media outlets for their unrelenting reports over the demise of Hostess Brand Inc., which makes the popular confections.
As soon as the news that the maker of Twinkie's were closing its doors, long lines erupted all across the country at stores known for selling the "golden sponge cake and creamy filling." There were even reports that customers were grabbing them by the armful.
While some fans of the delicacies were sad, others didn't waste any time quickly cashing in on the potential lack of sugar high. I've seen people selling boxes of Twinkies and Ding Dongs on Ebay and Craigslist, asking as much as $10,000 dollars a box. There are actually people trying to sell Website domains associated with the brands for as much as a million dollars! Would you believe there are even people peddling to the collector crowd doing their best to sell vintage Twinkie's as old as 20 or 30 years-old?
It's astonishing at the hysteria that's been created by the closing of this company. Who would have ever imagined the fanfare and the lengths people have gone for their affection over a Twinkie?
For those addicted to the cakes, there is some good news. Apparently, the Twinkie craze has spurred a number of Food Company's expressing interest in the Hostess brands.
There's really a lot more to this story than I think people realize. The failure of the company isn't an economic problem at all, although executives have cited declining sales over the past decade as a contributing factor. That's sort of hard for me to swallow once I read that Twinkie sales alone generated more than $68 million dollars in sales annually.
It appears that the culprits behind the closing are union members and the management of Hostess. Evidently Hostess had been operating on razor thin profit margins for years and the Union wasn't willing to offer many concessions to keep the company afloat. The baker had already reduced wages and pensions, but a union strike that started on Nov. 9, which included 30 percent of the baker's workforce is really what crippled the company.
If you were to ask the Union you'd find a much different reason. In fact, the union members argue that the death of Hostess is because of mismanagement and executive compensation and bonuses. Who knows?
Nevertheless, I find it near breathtaking that the most important part of this story is not being told. That's the fact that more than 18,000 employees have lost their jobs due to the closure of Hostess Brands, Inc. Where's the outcry for those employees?
It took some time and my reading a number of reports before even finding that tidbit of information. Surely, our society has not grown cold to the fact people are losing jobs, yet they go into a frenzy over the potential death of a Twinkie or a Ding Dong?
If I were a betting man, I'd say it isn't going to take very long before you can find the cream filled sponge cakes in stores. Sadly, I believe the future isn't as bright for the former Hostess workers looking for new jobs.
Jesse Lindsey is the editor and publisher of The Rogersville Review. He can be emailed at (firstname.lastname@example.org)