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Attention, People Buying Twinkies for $50 Online: The Twinkie Is Not Extinct

Derek Thompson

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There are two reasons why you should pay $50 for a box of Twinkies. First: You are the world's only Twinkie addict and they are not immediately available in your local 7-11. Second: You are a billionaire sitting on a pile of money you've resolved to donate by the most bizarrely random means possible.

Since those are low-probability motivations for buying a sponge cake, I'm guessing that many of the people bidding $50 for a box of Twinkies think that the liquidation of Hostess will spell the End of Twinkies, in which a dwindling supply of the soft golden food-bricks will drive up their market price.

This confuses liquidation for extinction.

The Twinkie will almost certainly survive when some company buys it as a distressed price in the Hostess fire sale. Among the leading contenders: Kellogg, Campbell Soup, and Grupo Bimbo -- the parent company of Sara Lee, and Entenmann's, and other snacks only somewhat less awful for you than a Twinkie.

I suppose a behavioral economist could cheekily point out that, since price has been shown to change "experienced pleasantness" (i.e.: we have a tendency to report that food tastes better when it's more expensive), the poor sap who spends $50 on a box of creme-filled starch-manufacturing might report the most delicious-tasting Twinkie in the world.

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