On November 16, 2012, Hostess Foods filed for bankruptcy protection. Hostess was the manufacturer of many popular snack foods, including Wonder Bread and Twinkies, and unfortunately, wasn’t able to continue operating during a prolonged bakers’ strike.
I know it sounds strange, and perhaps a little mercenary, but I’ve actually been waiting for this day – not because I have anything against Hostess Foods, but because this was going to mark the beginning of the first phase of my elaborate strategy for financial freedom… that is, until this morning. Allow me to explain what I thought was the perfect plan for a luxurious and carefree retirement.
For as long as I can remember, people have been telling me that Hostess Twinkies have no expiry date. I don’t know if this is true because I no longer eat them. I ate a few as a child, but I don’t think I’ve eaten any since grade school, and I’ve never bothered to actually look for one in a supermarket and check the box for a “Best Before” date. However, my friends insist that Twinkies not only have an indefinite shelf life, but that they are virtually indestructible. In fact, it’s rumoured that in the event of a global thermonuclear war, the only things remaining on Earth afterwards will be cockroaches and Twinkies.
It was from these unverified urban legends that I concocted my own unconventional retirement plan. Should the day ever arrive when Hostess stops selling Twinkies, I will be prepared. On that day, I will travel from store to store and buy up all of their remaining stock. I will then sit on this inventory while the rest of the world savours their final Twinkies. Then, I’ll wait a little longer, until the entire planet laments their loss in unison and longs plaintively for their cherished, non-perishable spongy treat. I’m not sure how long that will take, but it doesn’t matter; since Twinkies are supposedly inert, my inventory will always be fresh.
When our collective longing for Twinkies has crescendoed to a shuddering climax, phase two of my plan will commence. I will then start selling my Twinkies on eBay… slowly – one box at a time, or even one Twinkie at a time. Since the Twinkies will still be in pristine condition, my auction should trigger an unprecendented bidding frenzy from a hungry and nostalgic public. The Dutch tulip mania of the 1600s will pale in comparison to the global Twinkie mania that I will create singlehandedly!
I can’t estimate what price the Twinkies will command on eBay, but I’m confident that my investment will easily outperform the S&P 500, the Dow Jones Industrial Average, and the ten-year return of every mutual fund in existence. As the world’s only supplier of Twinkies (in perpetually mint condition), my inventory will become increasingly valuable as the years progress. While the first few boxes might be offered on eBay, I fully expect that museum curators will eventually contact me, and implore me to let them purchase a Twinkie for their collection.
I fantasized of a Twinkie empire so formidable, that it would elicit the following proclamation from investment guru Warren Buffett “My dear shareholders, I offer my heartfelt apologies to you. Bob saw what Charlie and I missed. We should have invested in Twinkies. The returns are just astronomical”. My Twinkie empire was going to be so pervasive, that it would even alter our lexicon. The classic motivational metaphor “dangling a carrot in front of someone”, would soon be replaced with “dangling a Twinkie” – since the incentive was clearly much more powerful and persuasive.
I had my cushy retirement planned to the last detail. I would be the world’s only supplier of Twinkies, which would soon become the most coveted commodity in history; all I had to do was wait. Then on Friday (November 16, 2012) when Hostess declared bankruptcy, everything started falling into place… that is, until this story from Business Week utterly destroyed my dreams of inestimable wealth.
As this article makes clear, Twinkies, unlike diamonds, don’t last forever; they actually have an expiry date, and it’s a miserable and heart-wrenching 25 days – which is impressive for a pastry, but not suitable for a long-term retirement-based investment product. Therefore, it is with a heavy heart that I must chastise myself for believing those urban Twinkie legends as I now fall back on my retirement “Plan B” – hard work.