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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Going bananas

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Bananas get a bad rap sometimes. Look no further than the headline of this column which, loosely translated, means "to go crazy."

Well, let the stereotype continue, thanks to a couple recent stories.

Billa, a European grocery chain that bills itself as the "common sense" supermarket, thought it could package bananas better than nature. Yes, instead of a peel that tells potential eaters when the banana is ready to be eaten or used for banana bunt cake, Billa chose cellophane and styrofoam boats that will speed the rotting process.

When a Facebook photo sparked outrage and boycott threats, the company deleted its Facebook page completely. At least the company is consistent with its overkill.

Not surprisingly, Greenpeace is among the critics.

"If there is an easy-to-open, ready-packed food, it's the banana," a spokesman told the Austrian Times. "Peeling it only to pack it in environmentally unfriendly plastic is just madness."

Even the staunchest opponent to Greenpeace can probably agree with that.

It appears Billa agreed in the end, apologized and said it would not happen again.

Apparently, Billa was not the first to package bananas, as Del Monte started selling individually packaged bananas last year. They marketed them as a "natural energy snack on the go," and yet said the bag extended shelf life by up to six days.

Explaining Billa's move is more difficult, but here are some possible scenarios:

The executives played too much Mario Kart when they were kids and didn't want anyone spinning out or slipping because of a banana peel.

The produce stockers were having trouble stacking bananas in their natural state.

There was a sale on cellophane and styrofoam boats may also be to blame.

And then there's the possibility of charging more for less.

Speaking of money, Studio Banana Things created a video for design company Kawamura-Ganjavan to promote an online Kickstarter campaign for an Ostrich Pillow. It looks exactly like it sounds.

The idea is to create "a micro environment in which to take a comfortable power nap in the office, traveling or wherever you want."

As crazy as the thing looks, the concept is pretty cool.

About 900 people agree to the tune of about $77,000, surpassing the $70,000 goal way before the fundraising deadline of 5:06 a.m. on Oct. 18.

So, it looks like the product may actually hit shelves at some point.

Here's to hoping they make an infomercial for that one.

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Gabe Licht
Junior Moments