Sudden Shortage of Slim Jims Causes Widespread Panic

By Justin Rohrlich  JUL 09, 2009 2:05 PM

Plant explosion means fans wil have a horribly ungreasy summer.


On June 9, an explosion ripped through a ConAgra (CAG) plant in North Carolina. Federal agencies say the blast was caused by a faulty water heater.

The facility -- which is the only one in the country that makes Slim Jims -- halted production immediately, and it won’t resume again until August. ConAgra said the company won’t be back up to its usual Slim Jim production levels until autumn.

Citigroup analyst David Driscoll cut the stock to “hold” from “buy” due to the explosion, and was quoted as saying that Slim Jim generates $200 million in annual sales and $0.06 a share for ConAgra.

“Slim Jim loyalty is very high,” food industry consultant Jim Degan told the New York Post. “If you eat Slim Jims, you aren’t going to find brand B or C to be an acceptable substitute.”

Truer words were never spoken. I, for one, would never deem a Rolets Beef Chevy an “acceptable substitute” for my beloved Slim Jim. Nor some off-brand “Beef-n-Cheez” combo pack often found at filling stations.

No, for me it’s Slim Jim or no Jim at all -- unlike some, for whom it’s no Slim Jim, period. Many self-styled “gourmands” seem to be turned off by the ingredients, for some reason:

This, in case you’re wondering, is mechanically separated chicken:

So it may not look like the chicken you’re used to seeing. But it’s still chicken. What’s all the fuss about? Shown below are the various cuts of beef that may or may not go into your meat treat:

Beef pizzle. Fo' shizzle.

As a man who simply cannot get enough mechanically separated chicken and hydrolyzed corn gluten, I set out to hoard Slim Jims as soon as I heard the news.

After striking out at every deli in the neighborhood, it was time to go with my ace in the hole -- S&B News on East 50th Street. Whether I’m looking for a limited-edition white chocolate Kit Kat or the latest issue of Don Diva magazine, S&B has never failed me.

Until yesterday. Not one Slim Jim in the whole damn place.

“The guy just stopped coming,” the gentleman behind the counter with the unpronounceable name told me, shrugging his shoulders, defeated. “I don’t know what happened.”

There I was -- the kid who got to the front of the box-office line right after the very last Blue Oyster Cult ticket was sold.

Anyone who says kicking a smack habit is “the hardest thing they’ve ever done” is lying to your face. Try sitting out the rest of the summer without a single Slim Jim. Imagining the Trainspotting-like withdrawal scenario about to unfold, I headed straight home and crawled into bed.

That’s when the nightmare began.

Uncontrollable sweating, alternating with chills and waves of goosebumps.

Nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps.

Muscle spasms, intense anxiety, and deep, throbbing muscle pain.

I started to hallucinate, imagining not spiders crawling up the walls, but 4-legged Slim Jims, mocking me, laughing at me, calling out their meaty siren songs to a desperate man.

Screw it. Cold turkey is no way to go. I rushed downstairs and grabbed the closest thing I could find to the tubular meat monkey firmly attached to my back.

Meh. While I experienced all the satisfaction of eating wholly inappropriate parts of a formerly living being, I got none of the greasy snap I’ve come to depend on. Pig lips -- even pickled -- are single-A ball compared to The Show. But, they’ll have to do for the next 6 weeks or so.
No positions in stocks mentioned.

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