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Hostess and the Donettes of doom.

How it all started

For a couple of years during school, I worked in the radiology department of a local hospital, tending to the servers and delivering reports to the various departments throughout the day. It paid well, but it required working some strange hours: Mon-Fri 5-6am, Mon-Fri 5-8pm, and Sat-Sun 8am-8pm.

However, those odd hours resulted in a little perk that I never anticipated.

The vending machines

On the days that I had the early morning shift, I'd roll out of bed at 5:45am and drive over to the hospital, all bleary-eyed and hungry, and start my rounds by delivering a stack of reports to their various departments.

Along one of those delivery routes was a cafeteria, sitting across the hall from an alcove filled with at least a dozen vending machines - stocked with the typical assortment of late-80's junk food: candy bars, chips, sodas, and the like.

The cafeteria closed at 8pm, so invariably during the night some hungry and hapless doctor would insert their coins and then watch as the screw mechanism took their food right to the edge without dropping it.

Doritos stuck in a vending machine, hanging on the edge before falling
Image source

As a hungry college student, I soon figured out that being tall allowed me to rock those machines ever so slightlyº, causing them to disgorge those dangling snacks into my hands - netting a tasty breakfast or weekend snack of Hostess Donettes, Oreos, Cheetos, or something along those lines.

º Do not try this yourself! Two Americans a year die from vending machines falling on them.

Donette's revenge

Several months into this grift, I was back from my morning rounds of delivering reports and shaking machines, my recently-acquired Hostess Donettes and a cup of black coffee at hand.

A package of 6 powdered sugar Hostess Donettes

I forget what had my attention - perhaps a server going offline or a thread on some random usenet newsgroup - but I absentmindedly opened the pack of Donettes without really even looking at it, and started working my way through the six little snacks inside.

And oh how I loved those powdered-sugar donuts, with that silky matte finish on the outside and the buttery soft cake inside. My absolute favorite part was the hole in the middle, where the powdered sugar accumulated into a blissful little nugget.

So there I was, tossing the Donettes into my mouth one by one, letting them slowly dissolve and washing them down with a slug of black coffee. Truly, a cherished respite before my day.


As I got to Donette number 4, I noticed that something was, well, different about the texture of that silky matte powdered sugar finish. Less smooth. Less sweet. Fuzzy even. Still distracted, I choked it down with some more coffee.

It crossed my mind to take a look at the package and see what could be the cause of this buzzkill. And there it was: the remaining two Donettes (especially right around the donut holes), and much of the packaging for that matter, were ripe with a dusty green mold.


En fin, it took me almost a decade to get back to the point that I could truly enjoy a package of powdered sugar Donettes alongside a cup of coffee. And to this day, I inspect each one, front and back, before popping it in my mouth.

NB: It was probably Hostess Donettes. It might have been Little Debbies or something else.


Another tale, this one about getting one's (prepackaged) nuts stuck in a vending machine


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