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Poll: Banana ethics

You know how everybody has distinct preferences when it comes to buying bananas? For example, my homeless friend Dave X likes his bananas “lightly freckled.” I prefer mine still tinged with green. Because of that, I only like to buy three bananas at a time.

Which brings me to a dilemma.

When I’m choosing bananas, I rarely see a bunch of three green-tinged bananas. There will be a bunch of five green-tinged bananas, maybe, or three lightly-freckled bananas, but rarely three green-tinged bananas.

I was brought up to believe it is wrong to tamper with the banana bunches. You choose the closest thing they’ve got to what you want, and you buy it.

GC, on the other hand, is a banana bad-ass. He cheerfully breaks the bunch of bananas in two in order to get what he wants. He even does it right in front of the produce man! I always pretend I don’t know him when he does that, because breaking the bananas is just as bad as sampling the grapes! I’m pretty sure GC would never sample a grape in front of the produce man, but he insists breaking the bananas is perfectly okay.

Maybe he’s right. What do you think? (If you’re reading this in a feed reader or email, you’ll have to come over to to vote.)

19 comments to Poll: Banana ethics

  • Eric

    It’s like picking the best mushrooms or editing bunches of asparagus that are sold by weight (rather than the bunch) If the grocery store wants to charge those appalling rates and waste all the food that rots on the shelf rather than sell it at a more reasonable price than I get to be picky about what I’m buying.

  • We each eat a banana every day so we also buy them regularly. I like mine a little crunchy but Peter prefers his a bit riper. I often mix and match my bananas, taking 3 or 4 really green ones with several riper ones. Sometimes, all the single bananas are stacked neatly at one side and I can choose from among them. Just because they grow in a bunch together doesn’t mean they have to stay that way. Grapes are different because they are so small and in fact, you damage them by removing them from the bunch. I’d say, take yourself off the hook!

  • I voted “yes” because it seems pretty clear to me that it breaking up a bunch doesn’t matter. And yet – do I ever do that? Um, no.

  • Kathy

    My husband was told by the produce man to try a grape before he bought them. I have separated a bunch of bananas before to get the amount I wanted.

  • grace

    Wow. There is finally a bad ass category I can fit into!

  • I like you – prefer slightly green bananas, and also go for the banana trifecta. But like GC, I am an unabashed banana-breaker. Besides – there’s is probably somebody out there who only wants two bananas – so I’m helping them!

  • I am bad-assed and didn’t even know it! I never even considered before that it was wrong to break up a bunch, so now I will give it a bit more thought.
    One thing I never do though, and I do know some people who do this, is remove the stems from peppers and vine-ripened tomatoes before going through the cash. So the produce will weigh less.
    Perhaps we should all start peeling the bananas before paying too?

    Thanks for the smile :)

  • Evan Thornton

    Hmm, seems pretty overwhelmingly “yes” as is “yes it’s OK to break”

    Meaning your Mom may well have suffered a fair bit of social anxiety needlessly – and imparted same POV to you.

    I see the same thing happening with my wife and daughters sometimes. Wonder if fathers impart anxieties to sons the same way? Mine was pretty easy-going, so probably not the best to draw conclusions from … but he broke up bunches without a second thought.

  • Florence

    I too, like slightly green bananas, and have never had a problem breaking up the bunches. I usually only buy two bananas at a time and have very rarely seen two bananas by themselves! I am very careful to make sure I don’t damage the other bananas when a separate them.

  • I am astounded! I thought the yeses might outnumber the nos, but I never would have imagined that every last one of you would be a Banana Bad-Ass!

  • grace

    Betcha didn’t know this either. Karen teaches this to all her grade one kids the first week of school so that they can ‘do it themselves’.

  • …I don’t know about big grocery stores, but out here on the edges we buy our bananas by the pound. I think it’s $0.69 per pound. So it seems to me tearing a bunch apart is actually encouraged. I’ve rarely done it though, mostly because a bunch should age at pretty much the same rate, but I have cut a bunch in half or quarters to save a buck.

  • me

    What about portabello mushroom stalks? I’ve seen people yanking those off and leaving them behind in the box. I just can’t bring myself to do THAT. But there is one store that cuts their stalks right down and I shop there just because of that.

  • Eileen

    I break bunches regularly to get the ones I want. Our local Metro store has started taping the stems of bunches together, so apparently they don’t want people breaking them. I break the taped ones too!

  • I’m paying by the kg, I’m not gonna buy bad bananas, and you bet I break apart bunches AND buy a bunch of orphans too. It all equals out.

  • What I don’t get is the people (almost everybody, I think) who open up a cob of corn and peer inside. If they don’t like how it looks they toss it aside. Who will ever buy the opened ones?

  • Since they are sold by the pound, breaking a bunch does not matter. Has the produce man ever yelled at GC? I think not. But if you buy more than you can eat before they start to “turn”, just make smoothies with the overly ripe ones. And if they turn black, it’s time for banana bread!

  • Lucy

    Yeah, I agree with you, Robin. Those are the same people (almost everybody, I think) who press thumbprints into avocados before deciding they are not ripe enough and tossing them aside.

    Breaking a bunch of bananas is OK because it doesn’t damage the ones left behind.