retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The Wall Street Journal has a wonderful story about how several years ago, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos had a brainstorm - "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. It has since expanded to two stands on its corporate campus, which sprawls across several blocks in downtown Seattle, and says it has given out more than 1.7 million free bananas."

The initiative has created some level of disruption - local business seeing sales drop for their banana-based products, consumers expecting free bananas at local cafes, and patrons who sometimes bring their free bananas into restaurants where they are eating lunch.

It also is something of a cultural shift at Amazon, which "has traditionally been more frugal with its perks than other tech companies, which offer dry cleaning, haircuts, cold-brew coffee, nap pods and in-house yoga classes, among other things."

"'Banistas' oversee the wooden cart operation, stacking up a selection of fruit, which range from green to bright yellow, as fast as passersby can take them. They move about 8,000 a day, Monday through Friday, at the two stands, according to Amazon ... Most visitors take two. Others take close to a dozen, claiming they have hungry co-workers—never, of course, that they hanker to bake banana bread after work. Some post photos on Instagram feeding the bananas to their dogs."
KC's View:
A couple of things here.

First, while Amazon chose bananas because, like oranges, they come in their own packaging and create fewer food safety issues, there is a kind of pleasing symmetry here. After all, many e-grocers say that bananas often are the most frequently purchased product online, and I think that's because it is easy to determine quality and attention to detail. (If you ask for green bananas and the bananas you get are yellow, it speaks volumes about the e-grocer.)

Second, I learned something I did not know from the Journal piece - that a cluster of bananas is called a "hand," and that a single banana is called a "finger."