All joking aside, that is a very good observation. Both were icons and at one time represented certain aspects of who we were as a nation and people. Maybe much of the products were junk but there was still a consistency and a real quality to the service you received. You got your money's worth.
I don't know what killed Hostess. Management will say labor costs but I don't see competing products from China and other snack food companies seems to be doing great. What is clear in both companies is that management tried to solve their problems by blaming everything on the employees at the bottom. The work more and get paid less school of management styles.
I also suspect that both companies suffered from a perception on the part of consumers that they were no longer relevant and that there were more viable products from better run companies out there. At my local discount grocery store chips take an entire row, candies another long row and cookies and crackers a third row. That is a lot of choices and each product calls out to the consumer with promises of happiness, contentment and love.
As we enter the all important count down to Black Friday I ask where either of these two one great brands now stand as the consumer contemplates where they will be spending their money? And the answer is that neither of them have even the most minimal relevance at this point. Online purchases compared to B&M stores only continue to grow as weary shoppers see better prices and zero hassle with crowds, out of stock stores, and just the overall convenience of doing everything in the comfort of one's home. And within the world of those who still prefer buying in a physical location? Be serious, who really thinks of Radio Shack on Black Friday? Or that weekend? Or the entire holiday season? Begging for crumbs.
I'll miss Hostess even though I personally haven't had one of their products for decades. I hope the Smithsonian opens a permanent display featuring their products. And I hope business schools can use Radio Shack as an example of a company destroyed by its own inept upper and middle management.
Wall Street has the money and power to destroy any company they want outside of Bernanke's bankster buddies. Hedge funds working with information from insiders helps to speed the process. Upper management taking their options and cashing them in short term also helps.