Kris and I met after work to go to Contract Furnishing Mart in Clackamas to look at various samples for our bathroom remodel.
“Look at that: a bakery outlet,” Kris said, as we walked through the parking lot.
“It’s not a bakery outlet,” I said. “It’s a Hostess outlet.” And we all know what that means.
We spent half an hour looking at samples of granite and Marmoleum. We hemmed and hawed over various shades of cream. Do we prefer the Umbra or the Shell? Maybe the floor would look better in Van Gogh. And what about the countertops? Should we go with Brazilian Brown or with Mystic Brown? Such choices. It didn’t help that we hadn’t thought to bring a paint chip. Kris had to scour the store for something close to the color she has in mind for the walls, and the best she could find was a big hunk of deep pile carpeting.
When we had finished, we walked over to the bakery outlet. To the Hostess outlet.
“Look!” I said, in awe. “I didn’t even know Hostess made breakfast cereal.” But they do. There were boxes and boxes of Hostess-branded cereals, knock-offs of Cheerios and Fruit Loops and various other big name brands. There were Hostess “toaster pastries”. And, of course, there was a big-ass aisle of bread.
But none of that was why I’d wanted to enter the store. You all know why I wanted to check out the bakery outlet: Sno-Balls. I’ve been very good with Sno-Balls since the start of the year. I’ve had them once. (Maybe twice.) But I figured that here, in a Hostess outlet, I’d let down my guard and stock up.
Only there were no Sno-Balls to be had.
“I don’t know if I want anything,” I said. “Do you?”
“Let me look around,” said Kris. While she wandered the rows of Ding-Dongs and Cup Cakes and Twinkies, I watched a man in distress do his shopping. Perhaps he was intoxicated. Perhaps he was crippled. Whatever the case, he teetered and tottered through the store. He reached for products in wild, flailing gestures that threatened to send stacks of Ho-Hos to the floor. When he’d finally found the food he wanted, he rummaged through his pockets to check for change. He had some, and we all knew it because it rained to the floor. Kris and I walked back to the bread where we pretended to be interested in the various varieties of hamburger buns. This guy was a little creepy.
When he’d gone, I grabbed a cherry Fruit Pie — a “sell by 01 APR” cherry Fruit Pie — and Kris picked up a box of chocolate Zingers.
“You don’t have any Sno-Balls,” I told the clerk when we went to pay.
She seemed a little daft, a little slow. “No. No,” she said. “We had them yesterday. You should have been here yesterday.”
“I love Sno-Balls,” I told her in a low, confidential tone, “but I always wonder if I’m the only one. They’re often sold out wherever I go. I wonder: are they sold out because they’re popular, or are they sold out because they’re unpopular?”
“Well, the boss used to order more of them,” she told me, “but we couldn’t sell them all. Now she don’t order as much, and it seems we always run out. I wouldn’t be surprised if people was stocking up because they know we don’t have enough.” A run on Sno-Balls!
“But you do get them in from time-to-time, don’t you?” I asked.
“Oh, yes,” she said. “I don’t know which days we get them, but we do get them in.” Then she changed her mind. “Well, Tuesday is Sno-Ball day.”
“Tuesday is Sno-Ball day?”
“Yes, Tuesday is Sno-Ball day. We always have Sno-Balls on Tuesday. All day long.” I thanked the woman, and we left.
“We should remember this place,” Kris said. “We should come here on our way to Bend.”
“Yeah,” I said. “Just think: we’d be the most popular couple if we brought a couple of boxes of Suzy Qs and Twinkies.”
“Can I have a bite of your chocolate Zinger?” I asked as we drove home. “I’ve never had one before.” I was impresseed. Compared to the non-chocolatey nature of other Hostess products — Ding-Dongs are the worst — Zingers are actually pretty good.
My cherry Fruit Pie was better. All 470 calories, all 22g of fat (11g of which are saturated), and all 35g of sugar.
But what I was really thinking was, “I’ll be back. Next Tuesday is Sno-Ball day.”
JD, It’s funny you should write about Hostess today. I logged on to your site to tell you that today is the anniversary of the Hostess Twinkie. The first one was made on this day in 1931. I can’t say I join you in your enthusiasm for Sno-balls or Hostess products in general. I think the last time I had one was in High School when I’d occasionally buy myself a fruit pie.