Twinkies collapse causes gold rush
Twinkies, the sugary, spongy, cream-filled snacks that have been an American favourite for 80 years, are being sold for hundreds of dollars on the internet following news of their manufacturer's collapse.
Thousands of boxes have been posted on the auction site eBay after Hostess Brands, the bankrupt maker of Twinkies, sought permission to close its business late last week following a crippling national strike.
A court hearing regarding the firm's liquidation is expected today.
Hours after the announcement was made, Twinkies fans headed to supermarkets in anticipation of a spike in demand for any that remained.
Greg Edmonds, of Sherman, Texas, said he had managed to buy 16 boxes of Twinkies and was now selling three boxes for $300 (R2660). One box of 10 usually costs $5.
"I figure I'd better sell them pretty quickly because I am not sure how long this novelty is going to last," said Edmonds.
John Stansel, of Tampa, Florida, said he had spent $100 on 20 boxes of Twinkies.
He hoped to sell them on for $1000.
"Maybe I will hire a personal trainer for myself or donate the money to a charity to fight diabetes," said Stansel.
"No matter what, I figure I am getting sugar off the streets."
Despite frequent criticism of their lack of any nutritional value, the golden-yellow treats have been a mainstay of American supermarket shelves for more than 80 years.
The closure of Hostess Brands is likely to result in the loss of 18500 jobs and the suspension of operations at 33 bakeries throughout the US.
But it is still possible that Twinkies will make a comeback as Hostess Brands, which also manufactures Ding Dongs and Ho Hos, is planning to sell assets individually, meaning a new owner could emerge.
Twinkies do not last forever and many of the snacks listed online carried an expiry date of early next month.
Not all sellers demanded top-dollar for their haul and some were willing to barter.
"I am willing to trade a box for some good microbrew [specialist beer]. A real quality six- pack," offered one New York seller on Craigslist.