More enterprising pie holders have offered up their stock for bid on eBay. One listing: Two pies for $12,000 "or best offer."
Any way you slice it, Patti LaBelle’s Sweet Potato Pie is the must-have food item this Thanksgiving. But good luck trying to find one.
“There are no more in the country,” a weary-sounding bakery clerk in a New Jersey Wal-Mart Supercenter store told a telephone caller. In a call to a south suburban Chicago location, a request to be put through to the bakery was interrupted with, “Are you calling about the Patti LaBelle pies?”
The pies, available in-store only, are described on Wal-Mart’s website simply as: “Made with California grown sweet potatoes, butter & spice, ready to serve, 8 inches.” Cost: $3.48. They have been available since September. A Waukegan, Illinois Wal-Mart Supercenter clerk noted that initially, the store was selling 9 pies a day. Last week, demand surged to 600 pies daily, she said.
What happened? James Wright happened. In a video that has since gone viral, Marshall posted, “My Review on Patti LaBelle Sweet Potato Pie.” In the 3:15 video that is seasoned with profanity, Wright literally sings and dances the pie’s praises while sampling the goods. “You’ll turn into Patti after eating this,” he proclaims. As of this writing, the video has received more than two million views, and Wal-Mart has experienced a run on its stores for the pies, selling roughly one pie every second, the Associated Press reports.
Among those fortunate enough to own one of those precious pies, the more enterprising have offered them up on eBay for auction. The average current bids span between $25-$65. One mercenary pie-holder is auctioning off two pies for $12,000 "or Best Offer.”
The chances of getting a Patti LaBelle Sweet Potato Pie in time for Thanksgiving are slim. “We need something like two million pounds of sweet potatoes, and that’s not something easy to get,” Kerry Robinson, vice president for bakery and deli at Wal-Mart told the AP. Remaining supplies in the warehouse are reportedly being sent to stores with the highest demand.
And it’s not looking too good for Christmas, either. “We swept everything we had right into the stores to supply the demand, including our Christmas volume, so they have everything we’ve got,” Robinson added.
If you are set on serving Patti LaBelle’s Sweet Potato Pie, but cannot find it in stores, you can try making it yourself using a recipe from LaBelle’s own cookbook, “LaBelle Cuisine: Recipes to Sing About.” Click here, courtesy of the Washington Post, for the recipe.
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.