Amazon looked to be doing Seattle a solid turn in 2015 when the online retailer started offering free bananas for all.
As one of the world’s most widely eaten fruits, bananas seemed like an inspired choice for civic do-goodery. They’re healthy, packaged by nature and compostable. (Just watch where you throw those peels.)
Who can say no to a free banana?
Company CEO Jeff Bezos was behind the decision, the Wall Street Journal reports, that would begin with a single stand and eventually ramp up to around 8,000 bananas per day.
But it turns out there is such a thing as too many bananas. And it’s somewhere around 1.7 million, according to Time.
Bananas have, in fact, become so common that no one wants to pay for them — and that may be a slippery slope to market collapse.
“People have bananas on the brain,” one café owner told the Journal.
In fact, local restaurants, the newspaper goes on to note, have had to remove items like banana toppings from their menus because patrons are going BYOB(anana) — and leaving a trail of banana spoils in their wake.
When fruit is free, everybody goes nuts
You might say, when life gives you bananas, make banana bread. But the trouble in Seattle is that no one is making any bread.
Even grocery stores, the Journal reported, have peeled back their selection, opting to replace bananas with other fruit. You know, the kind that costs money.
But the city may also be seeing the emergence of the most enterprising of entrepreneurs. Like one woman spotted hoarding the freebies, presumably to peddle the fruit far from Banana City limits, where they still cost something.
“One day, I saw a woman drive down the street,” John Schoettler, a senior executive at Amazon, noted in Food & Wine. “She hopped out of her car. She ran up to the banana stand. She grabbed a whole bunch of bananas, ran back, got in her car and drove off.”
For its part, the company has no plans to repeal its popular stands, where the people who dole out the fruit are, appropriately, called banistas.