Banana ethics

Bananas look funny, sound funny and they’re a three-dimensional euphemism for something naughty. (Have you ever noticed how a banana resembles a hot dog? Those have so many nitrates! OMG!). Meantime, old bananas are turned into a great source of alliteration (and carbs): banana bread. Banana bread is tasty and beloved, harkening Midwestern memories of hearth and home.

~ Excerpt from my Hibbing Daily Tribune column for the Sunday, Dec. 2, 2007 edition. The topic: Is it ethical to break up the banana bunches at the grocery store? Read it in the Hibbing Daily Tribune, or archived here.


  1. Just call me Chiquita Boy says

    Ok, so I just read your article about bananas. Man, you are *twisted* if you get your panties in a bunch over such a trivial thing! I mean, come on! I buy bananas by the one occasionally, if the one I want is being sold as a single. But I’ll be darned if I’m going to take a bunch of 7 bananas home. Don’t work – I can only eat 2, maybe 3, before they turn yucky.

    However, there was this one time, when I was on vacation in Puerto Rico. I was driving in the mountains and spotted these two guys with scoop shovels literally shoveling up loose bananas from the floor of this little building along the road. I skidded to a stop, forced it into revers, and shot back to where they were working.

    When I asked if they sell bananas, they gave me a funny look, and talked quickly and low to one another. I explained that I live where it’s too cold to grow bananas, but I’d love to have some fresh from the grove. One guy headed into the back room, and I continued talking with the other. In a bit, the one fellow returned with a full ram of bananas – picture Magilla Gorilla. I started to select a bunch of about SEVEN, as you would propose. “NO NO!” the guy insisted. “You take all!” I tried to negotiate down, but they insisted, and next thing I knew, the back seat of the rented Pontiac Firefly (think Geo Metro) was filled wall to wall with bananas. They also gave me a gunny sack of oranges, a similar amount of grape fruits, and were heading back for more.

    They refused any type of payment, no matter how much I insisted.

    So, I threw $20 on the ground, and basically ran to the car, shouting thanks and waving, as I sped away before they could put anything else in the car. Sadly, it was probably the most they’d ever been paid for their produce.

    When I got back to San Juan, the gas station attendant traded me gas for bananas. “You know, those bananas from up in the mountains are really good! You’re so lucky you got those!”

    When I got back to my hotel, I didn’t know what to do with them, so I took the works to the little tiki hut bar and gave them to the bartenders. The one bartender, a gay man who had been flirting with me for days, started telling everyone what a good provider his husband was, to bring all this stuff from the mountains. It was great. I never paid for another drink, and we all got to enjoy the fruits of my negotiation.

    So, yes. ONCE I didn’t break up the bunch of bananas, and it was a darned big bunch, too. But in the store, if I don’t want SEVEN, I ain’t buyin’ them.


  2. I hadn’t thought of that. I’ll offer an amendment to my position. It’s OK to purchase bananas in any increment so long as they are bartered for booze and gas. 🙂

Speak Your Mind


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.