R.I.P. St. Louis Hostess Plant; Most Delicious Field Trip EVER!

Categories: WTF?

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To a child, a trip to the Hostess bakery was more alluring than a journey to Oz.
It was with a heavy heart (and a sweet tooth of nostalgia) that I read news yesterday of Hostess Brands closing its St. Louis bakery. Apparently the maker of Wonder bread and Twinkies is in bankruptcy (How is that possible? Are we not still a nation of fat asses?!) and has promised to close any bakery where workers honor a labor strike.

That threat proved real on Monday after St. Louis employees refused to cross the picket line. Some 365 local employees of the factory will lose their jobs. And while that is extremely unfortunate for the workers and their families, the fourth-grader in me cannot help but think of the thousands of St. Louis kids with no connection to the bakery other than this: For generations the Hostess plant was the most kick-ass school field trip ever.

I still vividly recall my trip to the plant on North Broadway. I'd spent my entire elementary school career waiting for that moment. Older kids at the bus stop had gloated about it since I was in kindergarten. And now I had arrived. My classmates and I were finally old enough to -- as a friend put it at the time -- "go to the place where Ding Dongs are made."

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We triumphantly boarded the school bus that morning already giddy about the sugar high we were bound to experience that day. And, spoiler alert, the Hostess plant would not disappoint. But before we got to sample the bakery's confections, we were given hairnets for a tour of the plant floor. To my nine-year-old eyes, the scene was dizzier than anything Lucy would experience in the chocolate factory. Traveling past us streamed thousands of plump and luscious Suzy Q's, raspberry Zingers, sweet and sticky Fruit Pies, spiral-swirled Ding Dongs and creme-filled Cupcakes.

Right then and there every kid in Mrs. Robin's class knew exactly what they wanted to be when they grew up. They wanted to be one of the employees in white uniforms and cotton gloves frantically packaging the sugary delicacies as they whizzed by on the conveyor belts. These people were true professionals.

Though they were not perfect.



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11 comments
krb3
krb3

I worked at the Hostess plant for over 20 years. It has provided a good living for me and my family. But, I have given up a lot during those years also. I missed family events, funerals, and weddings due to the strict work schedules at Hostess. We worked lousy hours, weekends, and every holiday on the calendar. I, for one, voted to accept the last and final offer given to the bakers. And to see the media making light of the closing of Hostess is very sad indeed.

barefootpirate
barefootpirate

As I understand it, Hostess Brands is bankrupt due to employee pensions.  Unions negotiated lofty pensions for the workers, now the company can't pay out all of the pensions.  I think this is going to be more common as the baby boomers start retiring.

Spectrum1
Spectrum1

What a shame they believe that workers who are deserving of better pay are the REASON the plant is closing and Bankrupt, Like Donald Trump its the new contract breaking tool, and now they attempt to make the bakery employees the scapegoat, maybe if your food stuff wasnt the most fattening substance on earth I would feel sorry for the Hostess Brands, But I think you should give the worker who makes your brand succesful, its not wages that have upset the pastry cart its GREED...

Robert Winkelmann
Robert Winkelmann

Since the layoffs are because of spite and not company conditions they can shut their plant down and I am shutting down every purchasing their brand again. There is no irony in the fact that the executives of said company attempted to give themselves 75% raises back in June and would have had the court not stopped them. If you have money to give yourself a monumental raise in pay you have enough to not ask your employees to take a 30% cut in pay and benefits. Goodbye Hostess. You're no longer welcome in my house.

Leslee Brown
Leslee Brown

well sad about the lost jobs but not about the loss of worthless junk food

Jason Brock
Jason Brock

@Darrell - The Union didn't screw the people, Management was screwing them! Learn the facts.

NewsDog
NewsDog

If you grew up in the Dallas area it was the tour of the Mrs. Bairds bakery plant. And if you lived in the area and the wind was just right you could smell the warm yeasty bread for blocks.  

jonnyfogel
jonnyfogel

What a shame! I still remember the room at the end of the tour where they gave you samples. They had a terrarium built into one wall with a lizard in it that they told us was THE Chocodile!

Bambi Zj Baker
Bambi Zj Baker

That place was fat enabling good riddance sorry for the loss of jobs but still those jerks never considered sugar free or whole grain and so on they brought them out once then took them back by saying they didn't sell well I call BS

Adam Woehler
Adam Woehler

I remember the field trip they let us try a new treat called the Chocodile!

Drew Caplan
Drew Caplan

That crap sucked and made me a fat kid. Good riddance. Segregation was a part of our childhoods too but I'm not going to get nostalgic about it either. When we were small, they still made actual cake. In the last decade, their product has devolved to a wad of corn product. For fattening cattle, uh er, people.

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