Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

November 23, 2012

Buyers beware of bargains

By Rebecca Todd

— As the country bows its collective head and takes a moment to contemplate the possible impending doom that their beloved Twinkies may be facing, I am continuing my month-long series on things I am thankful for. This week I am thankful that I am not a greedy, confection junkie living in a tent in the Best Buy parking lot. Perhaps I should explain.

During this week of giving thanks, I have only been hearing about two things: Twinkies and Black Friday. Call me un-American, but I could care less about either one of those things. I do, however, find it fascinating that so many people do care. So just for fun, I decided to examine these two groups of people and see how they might be connected.

Let's begin with the Twinkie history. The Twinkie has been around since 1930 and has been the hit of the Hostess Company, which also produces Wonder Bread, Ho-Hos, Ding Dongs, and Fruit Pies. All of which are non-food products whose ingredient list reads like a chemical experiment gone horribly wrong. Know why the Twinkies are so spongy and greasy when you open them? They are petroleum-based products. Yummy.

Yet it is the Twinkie that has so captivated the American public. In fact, Americans are so addicted to the Twinkie they were flying off shelves over the past weekend and were immediately going for upwards of $99.99 on eBay at the height of the Twinkie-pocalypse last weekend.

There are some pretty unhappy Twinkie addicts out there right now since the furor has died down and the Twinkies might live. You can now get a box of Twinkies on eBay for as little as $5. Although, I did see that one enterprising entrepreneur had listed a box for $1 million. Nice try! That's the American spirit!

Let's turn now to Black Friday.

As early as a week before Thanksgiving, tents were appearing outside Best Buy stores across the country. Apparently the "best buys" are at Best Buy this year for Black Friday. However, the sale doesn't start until midnight on Thanksgiving night. The campers do this so they can be first in line to score a new television or some other very important electronic device for a bargain price.

I have to wonder, wouldn't they be better off going to work for a week before Christmas then buying a television outright with the money they earn? Also, I wonder how they can afford a television at all after spending all that money on Twinkies, because I'm pretty sure the ones camping out are probably the same ones who felt the need to purchase a large supply of the greasy confections for hundreds of dollars. It just stands to reason; I see a similarity in the reasoning of both groups of people. I'm guessing they are one in the same. At least we know the campers will have something to eat on Thanksgiving.

Me, however, I will not be sitting in a tent in a Best Buy parking lot eating Twinkies on Thanksgiving Day. And for this I am truly thankful.

- Rebecca Todd is a freelance writer and the author of the book What's the Point, available at booklocker.com. Contact her at btodd@tds.net.