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article image'Black market' emerges as people rush to buy Hostess snacks

By Greta McClain     Nov 17, 2012 in Business
While many are mourning the loss of Hostess, free enterprise and the entrepreneurial spirit is proving to be alive and well as people take to the internet, selling the iconic Hostess Brand snacks for as much at $10 million dollars.
On Friday, Hostess Brands, who had already filed for bankruptcy in January, asked a judge for permission to cease its operations. The move came after members of the company's baker's union remained on strike in protest of steep pay and benefit cuts. The company filed for bankruptcy in 2004 as well, but remained operational after a four-and-a-half year restructuring process.
Reaction to announced closing had Twitter buzzing. One person predicted that the Mayans were right and that the world is coming to an end, saying:
"Hostess goes out of business right after marijuana is legalized? Bring it on Mayans clearly we want the world to end."
Another twitter poster lamented:
"Worst part about Hostess going out of business is now there's nothing to eat to cope with Hostess going out of business."
As part of the liquidation process, the company is expected to auction off its most valuable
Nashville Target stores have limited supply of Hostess Twinkies
Nashville Target stores have limited supply of Hostess Twinkies
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brands such as Twinkies, Wonder Bread, Ding Dongs and Ho-Ho's, giving hope that the much loved snack foods will remain a part of the Americana landscape.
Fans of the iconic snacks were not taking any chances however, rushing to stores to stock up on their favorite treats. Reports of "Twinkie hoarding" began streaming into Twitter, with users relaying reports of people buying multiple packages of various Hostess Brand snacks. Twitter user, Gretchen, said her husband reported seeing a woman with a shopping cart full of Hostess products at grocery store.
Lee White tweeted:
"Just cleared a shelf of Hostess products"
As store shelves that once held the iconic snack cakes began to empty, a Hostess "black market" began to materialize on the internet. Packs of the Hostess Twinkies that once sold for under $5 are now selling for nearly $30.
Prices for Twinkies have skyrocketed since Hostess announced it was closing.
Prices for Twinkies have skyrocketed since Hostess announced it was closing.
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One seller on Ebay is offering a 24 count box of Hostess Twinkies and a 24 count of Hostess Ding Dong's as a package deal for a buy it now price of $200.
Another Ebay seller who has listed "1 Brand New Sealed Hostess Bakery Twin Pack Twinkie Cakes", calls it as a "rare collectors items". The starting bid of the item is $100, with a buy it now price of $500.
Salon reports that a single box of Twinkies is being sold for $10,000. The seller is marketing the auction as "one of the last boxes for the Zombie Apocalypse"
Two Boxes of Hostess Brand Zingers, which according to the seller is "new & fresh" and includes free shipping, has buy it now price of $40,000. The seller has declined one offer and there is another offer pending.
The prices of those auctions are actually reasonable compared to some. The New York Post reports that a Florida seller offers to deliver one box of Twinkies that "displays your company logo" to the address of the buyer's choice. The price of such a marketing gem? A mere $10 million dollars.
It is unlikely that anyone will be willing to pay thousands of dollars, much less millions of dollars, for any snack food. But part of the American dream is based on free enterprise and a supply and demand market. While some are calling the price hikes and auctions "crazy", others remind us that "you never know until you try."
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