Going bananas. November 6, 2011Posted by ourfriendben in gardening, wit and wisdom.
Tags: blog humor, On the Cheap, Spencer Soper, stupid ideas, uses for banana peels
Our friend Ben and Silence Dogood are big fans of Spencer Soper and his weekly “On the Cheap” column in our local paper, the Allentown, PA Morning Call (www.mcall.com/onthecheap). Every week, Spencer shares fellow cheapsters’ tips on how to save money on everything from garden carts (convert a grill chassis) to laundry soap (make your own). Some are pretty silly, and some simply take more time than they’re worth, but many are genuinely useful and a few are actually brilliant. (We’re still contemplating the possibilities of converting a grill salvaged from the side of the road into a mobile wood storage rack, but of course have no clue how you’d go about removing the grill part…)
But this week’s tip, as Spencer clearly realized, was simply bananas. Even the tipster refused to reveal his last name or phone number, for reasons that will soon become obvious. His tip: Since bananas are sold by the pound, you could save money by peeling them in the store, dropping the peels (on the floor, no doubt, to enhance your fellow shoppers’ appreciation of slapstick), and tossing the peeled fruit into plastic produce bags. Spencer did the math and discovered that, at today’s prices, if you bought two bunches of bananas a week, using this tip, you’d save $936—that would be almost $1,000 for the mathematically challenged, not exactly chump change—over 20 years.
This style of shopping could save shoppers from a lot of composting and recycling over the years. Why take home canned beans or soup when you could simply open the cans and dump the contents into produce bags before checking out? Or open egg cartons, crack the eggs into your trusty plastic bag, and leave those yucky shells and their carton in the store? Why haul home bazillion little yogurt cartons when you could just open them all right in the dairy aisle and squeeze them into a bag? Stupid Coke cans. Just bring a gallon jug from home, pour the soda cans into it, cap the jug, no worries!
Alert readers might point out that our examples are flawed, however, since they’re typically sold by the unit, not by the pound. All righty, then: Why not core peppers or apples and leave the cores in the produce aisle, or cut those slimy seed masses out of cantaloupes and pumpkins and dump them on the floor, scrape the corn off the cobs, bone your fish, chicken or turkey, shuck your oysters or clams, peel your shrimp, shell your peanuts and pistachios?
It might feel a little awkward at first, but surely your fellow shoppers would quickly catch on and applaud your cleverness. In addition to pointing out your savings and how much detritus you were keeping out of your home, you could patriotically announce to any naysayers that, unlike them, you were creating jobs, since the store would have to hire at least one full-time employee to clean up after you. Aren’t you proud of yourself?
Sheesh. We’re relieved to report that even the tipster who shared this brilliant idea hadn’t had the nerve to put it into practice. We here at Poor Richard’s Almanac would like to present him with the Golden Banana Peel Award, and hope that plenty of people were around with their cellphone cameras when he slipped on it.
For the rest of you, we’d just like to note that, while banana peels aren’t much fun to handle, much less step on, they make great, mineral-rich additions to the compost pile. Your garden (as well as your grocer) will thank you for bringing them home!