5 top Cuyahoga County commissary items purchased (including chips you could only previously buy in prison)

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - To be completely honest this story began about a year ago when I asked the Cuyahoga County Jail what its top selling items were in the commissary.

A commissary is where you can buy comfort items like food, snacks, shampoo and even shoes if you have the money for them on your account.

The top five items purchased are in order below:

  1. Ramen Noodles-$.65
  2. Honey Buns-$.80
  3. Jalapeno Squeeze Cheese-$.60
  4. The Whole Shabang Chips- $2.00
  5. Peanut Butter & Jelly Pack- $.65

The list was pretty self explanatory right up until, "The Whole Shabang Chips."

What in the heck is are The Whole Shabang Chips?

In looking for that answer I found there's one company, the Keefe Group, who supplies most of the jails and prisons in the U.S. with these products.

While the Keefe Group distributes to the county lock-up they don't distribute to stores.

I was told about my only option was to commit a crime to taste the chip, which I didn't think was reasonable.

The chips are so sought-after, after prison, you can find people online looking for the chips.

In the past year the Keefe Group realized there might be a market for the chips and started selling them online.

While word has been slow to get out, some stores in the Cleveland area have realized a certain part of their clientele know, recognize and want the chips.

I finally found The Whole Shabang chips at the Marathon gas station at the corner of East 185th Street and St. Claire in Cleveland.

Right when you open the door there they sit, stacked up like a mythical pyramid.

Manager Jake Handam said when customers see them, "They are surprised, because nobody has them. They said they had them in county."

The chips are one of the top sellers at this gas station and they order 12 cases, six bags in each, every other week online.

"They're really good, they have all the seasoning on them," Handam said.

As for the taste, it is a truly unique flavor that I have never had in a chip before.

The best way to describe it is to take a bag of salt and vinegar chips and a bag of barbecue chips and mix them together.

Here was the taste test video:

At $5.99 a bag, or two for $10, at the Marathon they are a little pricier than the $2 in the commissary but its a taste, on the outside, that must be worth it.

Follow Dan DeRoos on Facebook and Twitter. Have a question you want him to answer? Email him at dderoos@woio.com.

Copyright 2018 WOIO. All rights reserved.