Wednesday, 26 June 2013

There Goes My Twinkie Investment Portfolio! — or Maybe Not

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It was a brilliant investment strategy: Twinkies. With Hostess Brands, Inc. declaring bankruptcy and going out of business last year, the iconic spongy sweets were a sure bet. Twinkie addicts would guarantee continuous, ravenous demand, while the supply of the sugary confection melted away faster than a popsicle in Hades. Soon Twinkieholics would be willing to pay any amount, or trade in Porsches and platinum bars for their daily fix. The rate of return on investment would rocket off the charts!

However, I didn’t actually become a Twinkie mogul by strategy; it was more like serendipity. Attending a fund-raiser auction last December, I was confronted with the opportunity of a lifetime: help a good cause and get rich at the same time. Some enterprising lady had scavenged the local store shelves and cornered the remaining global supply of Hostess treasures.

My first bid on a package of Twinkies was simply a modest attempt to help the cause and boost the price above $5. I outsmarted myself and ended up stuck with the treacly treats at $10. This performance was repeated a number of times with the Hostess Ding Dongs, Ho Hos, Zingers, and Cupcakes. Then more Twinkies. Before I knew it I was fast approaching the status of “Twinkie King,” and it dawned on me that I had unwittingly hit on the investment opportunity of the century. Bill Gates has his Microsoft, Warren Buffett has Berkshire Hathaway, Jim Rogers has his commodities. I have Twinkies, Ding Dongs, Zingers and Cupcakes, and I’m wagering my investment assets will outperform those of Gates, Buffett and Rogers. (Admittedly, with a total investment outlay of under $100, it may take a while to eclipse their fortunes — but I’m patient).

What’s not to love about these assets? Like gold they’re non-biodegradable and will last in storage virtually forever. Like McDonalds’ burgers, they are probably immune to attack by bugs, bacteria, and mice. True, they are slightly more squishable than gold or silver bullion, rare coins, or gems. But the brand recognition more than makes up for this negative. These are the REAL DEAL and there ain’t never gonna be no more. Or so I thought. Imagine my shock and horror then, when strolling through the supermarket I espied, from the corner of my eye, a display of Twinkies! At least that’s what it appeared to be at first sight. A closer look revealed that they were clever imitators, impostors: Twinkie, Ding Dong, Zinger and Cupcake wannabes produced by Little Debbie, a division of the Tennessee-based McKee Foods Corporation. Having not consumed a Hostess treat in many years, and having never consumed a Little Debbie confection, I am unable to offer a first-hand evaluation of the ersatz Twinkies and other faux pastries. However, my unscientific sampling of the fierce Internet debates raging over Hostess vs. Debbie taste comparisons reveals that among the Cupcake/Twinkie connoisseur set Hostess is still loved the mostest.

But that consolation has been all but dashed by the June 24 announcement that a reorganized Hostess will be making a sweet comeback with its signature sugary treats next month. Twinkies, Ho Hos, etc. are expected to be back on store shelves on July 15.

How will my stash of original Hostess treasures stack up to the new offerings? I have it on good authority that Twinkie aficionados will still pay top dollar for the originals. Then too, there are the celebrity criminal defense lawyers who will pay a mint for a genuine exhibit for their client’s “Twinkie defense.” Beyond this, I’m considering an intriguing 9-figure offer from a consortium of investor-philanthropists for my Hostess collection for a permanent display at the Modern Museum of American Culinary and Confectionary Arts, a prestigious institution that is yet to be established.

In the meantime, my cache of sugary comestibles is appreciating in value, locked safely in a secret, well-guarded, secure facility, protected from the Zombie Apocalypse, the CIA/NSA/FBI predator drone sensors and Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Twinkie Police.

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