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Amazon's 1.7 Million Free Bananas 'Disrupting' Local Fruit Economy (consumerist.com) 112

Amazon has transformed businesses including retailing, filmmaking and data storage. But no one anticipated the bananas. It started with a brainstorm from founder and CEO Jeff Bezos that Amazon should offer everyone near its headquarters -- not just employees -- healthy, eco-friendly snacks as a public service. After considering oranges, Amazon picked bananas, and opened its first Community Banana Stand in late 2015. However, not everyone is pleased with the ecommerce giant's effort. From a report: Although there is no money in Amazon's community banana stands -- where the company has been offering free fruit to both workers and locals in Seattle since 2015 -- the tech giant's largesse is changing the banana landscape for some nearby businesses. [...] Thus far, the company says it's handed out more than 1.7 million free banana, reports The Wall Street Journal. But while many folks are fans of the free bananas, others say it's changing banana consumption in the community: Some workers say it's harder to find bananas at local grocery stores, while nearby eateries have also stopped selling as many banana as they used to.
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Amazon's 1.7 Million Free Bananas 'Disrupting' Local Fruit Economy

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    They keep for a fairly long time, taste great, and come with their own packaging. When you're done eating, the packaging is also a source of fantastic comic relief if used properly. You also can always get a laugh by running around swinging a banana around and making monkey noises.
    • just be careful not to be called a racist with them
    • You lead off with "they keep for a fairly long time", yet bananas barely last a week, despite being bought green-yellow.

      If you are looking for a perfect food, consider parsley. Keeps two or more weeks, and has ten times the variety of nutrients, including protein.

      Even nuts are "more perfect".

      • Let's assume that parsley indeed has ten times the nutrients as bananas -- it really sounds like a figure of speech. Now, eat a kilogram of bananas. Then 100 grams of parsley. Oops...

        • Bananas have sugar and potassium. Sugar being a minus. So you could buy sea salt for your potassium, and skip the sugar, and be better off than a mainly-bananas-eater.

          • sea salt is close to 100% NaCl. If you're interested in potassium you can buy KCl which is marketed as a "salt substitute"
        • No one eats a kilogram of bananas. Try one, and get 450 mg potassium.

          As to that 100 grams of parsley? 554 mg of potassium [wikipedia.org]. Oops.

          As to the your 'ten times sounds like a "figure of speech"' slight:
          Carbohydrates 6.33 g
          Sugars 0.85 g
          Dietary fiber 3.3 g
          Fat 0.79 g
          Protein 2.97 g
          Vitamin A equiv.: (53%)
          Thiamine (B1): (7%) 0.086 mg
          Riboflavin (B2): (8%) 0.09 mg
          Niacin (B3): (9%) 1.313 mg
          Pantothenic acid (B5): (8%) 0.4 mg
          Vitamin B6: (7%) 0.09 mg
          Folate (B9): (38%) 152 μg
          Vitamin C: (160%
          • No one eats a kilogram of bananas

            Why not? That's just 5-6 bananas. When I buy them, after splitting with the family the usual share is 3 or so, and they get devoured pretty much instantly -- eating a bit more wouldn't even make you engorged.

            As to that 100 grams of parsley? 554 mg of potassium. Oops.

            What's wrong with a bit of potassium, that's hardly above what you'd get from a bunch of bananas?

            On the other hand, you can eat a sprig or two of parsley, but anything more and you'll puke it out.

            As to the your 'ten times sounds like a "figure of speech"' slight:
            [snip]
            I count twenty items (aside from the sugar ones).

            Newsflash: bananas do also include all the items you mentioned. They also contain gold, arsenic and plent

            • They also contain gold, arsenic and plenty of other substances,

              Nice troll response there. That conveniently ignores the percentages I (wiki) listed for eighteen of the twenty items.

              Let's emphasize a few of them, shall we? 53% of the Vitamin A! 38% of the Folate. 160% of the Vitamin C. 48% of the iron one needs in a day.

              - - -

              BTW, when I said "Oops" regarding the 554 mg of K in parsley, the point I was making (that you missed) was that parsley has *more* K than bananas. Ironically trumping that much vau

              • Yes, you'd get 53% of daily requirement of vitamin A had you consume 100g of parsley. My point is, eating that much is not humanly possible.

                We're comparing a condiment you eat in tiny amounts with a fruit typically eaten in bulk.

      • Try wrapping the banana stems in plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Your bananas will keep longer.

        If they do get too ripe, don't throw them away. Peel them and place them in plastic bags in the freezer. From there, you can make them into Banana Peanut Butter ice cream (puree the bananas in a food processor and add a tablespoon of PB - I prefer dark chocolate PB - for each banana, freeze the result) or banana bread.

    • by hey! ( 33014 )

      I log everything I eat... because I'm a data geek. Then one day I noticed I was getting something like only 20% of the potassium I needed. Potassium has a huge number of roles in the body, so being low on it is not good.

      So I decided that I'd try to get 100% of the 4700 mg a day you supposedly need, and it's hard. Even supplements typically only contain something like 3% of your RDA. Bananas contain only about 9% of your RDA; even so they're one of the highest potassium common foods. You'd have to eat 1

      • Even supplements typically only contain something like 3% of your RDA

        For some reason or another, Potassium supplements are restricted to a certain amount. It isn't that it is impractical to put it into a supplement. Somewhere there is a regulation on it (not that I can find it, but I don't accept as coincidence that none of the supplements exceed a certain amount.)

        Go on Amazon and search for potassium chloride powder. You can get 227 grams for a little over 7 bucks.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 22, 2017 @07:03PM (#54466583)

        I log everything I eat... because I'm a data geek. Then one day I noticed I was getting something like only 20% of the potassium I needed. Potassium has a huge number of roles in the body, so being low on it is not good.

        So I decided that I'd try to get 100% of the 4700 mg a day you supposedly need, and it's hard. Even supplements typically only contain something like 3% of your RDA. Bananas contain only about 9% of your RDA; even so they're one of the highest potassium common foods. You'd have to eat 11 a day to get the 4700 mg, but that beats taking 33 potassium gluconate pills.

        In fact, getting enough potassium is sufficiently tough (and impractical to get through supplementation), you could almost use potassium intake as an overall proxy for dietary quality. I eat a lot of bananas -- typically three or four a day, but I have to eat a huge variety of high potassium foods to hit my target; you can't do it on a single food unless you want to eat ten cups of beans or thirteen cups of yogurt a day. Avocados, when you can get one ripe, are packed with potassium -- almost a thousand gram of it apiece.

        Or the nutritional advice you have to eat 4700mg a day is wrong.

      • by dj245 ( 732906 ) on Monday May 22, 2017 @08:41PM (#54467035) Homepage

        I log everything I eat... because I'm a data geek. Then one day I noticed I was getting something like only 20% of the potassium I needed. Potassium has a huge number of roles in the body, so being low on it is not good.

        So I decided that I'd try to get 100% of the 4700 mg a day you supposedly need, and it's hard. Even supplements typically only contain something like 3% of your RDA. Bananas contain only about 9% of your RDA; even so they're one of the highest potassium common foods. You'd have to eat 11 a day to get the 4700 mg, but that beats taking 33 potassium gluconate pills.

        In fact, getting enough potassium is sufficiently tough (and impractical to get through supplementation), you could almost use potassium intake as an overall proxy for dietary quality. I eat a lot of bananas -- typically three or four a day, but I have to eat a huge variety of high potassium foods to hit my target; you can't do it on a single food unless you want to eat ten cups of beans or thirteen cups of yogurt a day. Avocados, when you can get one ripe, are packed with potassium -- almost a thousand gram of it apiece.

        Where are you getting 4700 mg as a RDA? The Mayo clinic [mayoclinic.org] says "Because lack of potassium is rare, there is no RDA or RNI for this mineral. However, it is thought that 1600 to 2000 mg (40 to 50 milliequivalents [mEq]) per day for adults is adequate."

      • I get a ton of potassium. There are many foods that are high, many higher than bananas: squash, beans, spinach, sweet potato, pomegranate, apricot.

        I also use KCl instead of NaCl, and K based baking soda / baking powder
    • by guises ( 2423402 )
      Textured vegetable protein. Super cheap, keeps almost indefinitely, easy to prepare (just add water ... and also cook), high in protein, low in fat, high in fiber, environmentally friendly, and it doesn't taste like much on its own so you can make it taste like whatever you want.

      Alternative answer: dry dog food. All of the above, plus it's nutritionally complete.
      • I cannot digest TVP. A little bit in a burrito makes me urpy. A whole bunch in anything makes me pukey. I can actually detect TVP or tofu in foods by the specific kind of indigestion it gives me, even when I cannot taste it.

    • They keep for a fairly long time

      Uh, no they don't.

    • Slow down there, Ray Comfort.
  • Over Amazon giving away bananas. I think they should add one to every Prime order they ship out.
    • by Pontiac ( 135778 )

      That is the last thing I need. Hey lets chuck a banana in this box with a 30 lb sack of dog food.. SPLAT! or I'll get a giant damn box with nothing but 300 air packs and frickin banana because the my item shipped form a different warehouse than the bananas. At a minimum my cat will enjoy the box.

  • OMG! (Score:5, Funny)

    by JMZero ( 449047 ) on Monday May 22, 2017 @05:12PM (#54465779) Homepage

    They just have to stop doing this, then. I mean, it's tragic when any business is harmed in any way - but this is just too far. The banana eatery business is what this country was built on, and I can't imagine the hardships faced by grocers selling less bananas than normal.

    God only approves of food consumption if it's part of a legal financial transaction.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I'm not sure about your assertions on God, but it still is part of a legal financial transaction. Amazon is still buying the bananas - just not from the local stores any more, effectively cutting off that part of their revenue supply. It may not be important to you, but then again it's not your revenue that's getting lost....

      • by JMZero ( 449047 )

        You free food hippies need to just get out of here: the fact that Amazon has a proper financial relationship with the distributor makes it worse, not better.

        Do you really think the distributor wouldn't call it quits if they knew who Amazon was giving the banana to? They're the ones I feel for. Well, and the children who have to live in this neighborhood - what are they going to grow up thinking?

    • by ozduo ( 2043408 )
      only EVIL commercial gods. The only true god promotes spaghetti!!!!
    • They just have to stop doing this, then. I mean, it's tragic when any business is harmed in any way - but this is just too far. The banana eatery business is what this country was built on, and I can't imagine the hardships faced by grocers selling less bananas than normal.

      I can't wait to see your face when you find out about Google's free lunches. :-D

  • Fake supply chains for resources (e.g., 'welfare') ruin real supply chains.

    What happens when the fake supply chain decides to close shop, or indeed runs out of resources without anybody realizing it? You get catastrophe.

    Foreign aid, welfare, subsidies, etc., all force the local market to build itself around fake infrastructure (look at Walmart, where employees make ends meet with food stamps), and the only way to keep that fake infrastructure going is to keep pouring more resources and transferring more aut

    • Yeah, it will get a lot harder to "sell" those jobs where you break your back for pennies.

      Here, allow me to play the world's tiniest violin for you.

  • Private company hands out free healthy snacks to anyone who wants one, paying out of their own pocket, as a community service, and people find something to bitch about.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Have they been cited for feeding the homeless yet?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      The problem is that it kills competition with an unfair advantage, even thus in this case this is clearly not Amazon's main reason for doing this (unless they're playing 6D evil chess). This is similar to the monopoly problem.
      Step 1: provide service for free, pay users to use it, because you've more money and resources than many countries.
      Step 2: wait until all smaller competing businesses collapse as they cannot keep up with you paying people to get free stuff.
      Step 3: change the service price to now cost 1

      • by ark1 ( 873448 )
        We are talking about a single product here and bananas tend to be loss leaders at supermarkets anyway. 1.7million in a about 18 months thus around $100K per month. A lb is about 2 bananas at a cost of 0.50 per lb -> around $25K/month in sales of bananas potentially taken out of local economy.
        • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

          We are talking about a single product here and bananas tend to be loss leaders at supermarkets anyway. 1.7million in a about 18 months thus around $100K per month. A lb is about 2 bananas at a cost of 0.50 per lb -> around $25K/month in sales of bananas potentially taken out of local economy.

          It's less about the free bananas and more about unintended side effects.

          First, Amazon gives away free bananas. Great for everyone. But it also means local shops won't want to carry them - why woiuld people buy them i

          • When I was in seattle a few months ago I saw bananas everywhere that I normally see bananas. Grocery stores, convenience stores, hotel breakfasts, smoothie shops, tiki bars even.

            I'm not disputing the fact that 1.7m bananas or whatever it is will affect the local market, but as far as I could tell as a tourist everything was working fine for bananas.
      • by enjar ( 249223 )

        I pay very little for water from my household tap, yet there's an aisle in the supermarket filled with water in plastic bottles, and people buy it all the time. A lot of it comes from municipal taps just like mine.

        Also, the local yogurt place could just offer other fruits to put in their yogurt. Also, should Amazon ever try making it to step 3 it's not like redirecting a ship or truck to bring back reasonably priced bananas is going to be impossible.

      • Step 1: provide service for free. ... Step 3: change the service price to now cost 100x more than during the step 1 period.

        Something tells me you didn't do the math on this one.

      • Step 3 has this small flaw: when other people observe seemingly large profit opportunity, they will enter the market in droves, which will bring the price down to where it belongs. Amazon is not the only entity on earth with plenty of resources.

        P.S. How does one include paragraph break in /. comment anyway?

        • I use html - <br><br> at the end of a line will give you a new paragraph. a single <br> gives new line. There are other ways.
  • by Tom Veil ( 115114 ) on Monday May 22, 2017 @05:16PM (#54465827) Homepage

    "Although there is no money in Amazon's community banana stands"

    That's ridiculous. There's always money in the banana stand.

    • by E-Rock ( 84950 )

      Where are my mod points when I need them?!

    • by mydn ( 195771 )
      +1
    • Was expecting this to be closer to the top.
  • As in, the plural requires an S. I counted at least two instances of "banana" used as the plural. What else about this report is half-assed and slapdash?

    • by Quirkz ( 1206400 )

      How is this redundant? I've read every comment on the page and nobody else has mentioned the weird plurals/typo issue yes.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        A lot of people here don't actually know what "redundant" means.

        A lot of people here don't actually know what "redundant" means.

  • Knock Knock ... Who's there??? Banana... Banana Who...
  • All:

    When I saw the headline of this article I immediately thought of Harry Chapin's song

    30,000 pounds of bananas
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HfFM4Ilt4Rs

    Lyrics here:
    http://www.metrolyrics.com/30000-pounds-of-bananas-lyrics-harry-chapin.html

    Opening stanza:

    It was just after dark when the truck started down
    The hill that leads into Scranton Pennsylvania.
    Carrying thirty thousand pounds of bananas.
    Carrying thirty thousand pounds (hit it Big John) of bananas.

    • by Quirkz ( 1206400 )

      That's a classic. It's been too long since I listened to the Verities and Balderdash album, I'm reminded.

  • Amazon should instead give out Nutraloaf [wcax.com]. It provides most of a person's nutritional needs and no local businesses will complain as few, if any, sell it (although some government agencies also give it away to selected individuals so Amazon might face some competition there if they are not careful when selecting their distribution channels).

    • Bananas are stupid cheap for various typical reasons, most of which involve taking advantage of brown people. How much is Nutraloaf(tm)?

  • When you are able to include "banana landscape" in some published copy you can go home with a smile on your face.

  • B - A - N - A - N - A - S

"An idealist is one who, on noticing that a rose smells better than a cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup." - H.L. Mencken

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