The Banana Index

There’s always money in the banana stand.

“I just paid 75 cents for a banana!” a friend yelled at me in disgust as he slammed the banana down on my desk.

This troublesome injustice was somewhat lost on me, especially given that the banana now likely had a bruise from the slamming. Apparently, this outrage stemmed from the overpricing of the banana: 75 cents is too much for a singular banana in my friend’s book. We then began pondering the fair price for a banana in Manhattan.  Should the price vary by neighborhood? Would it be correlated with rent prices? Proximity to office buildings? We began pinpointing recent banana prices:

Street Cart on Broadway in the Financial District: 4 for $1

Street Cart on Nassau in the Financial District: 3 for $1

Street Cart on 23rd St: 3 for $1

Random Bodega in SoHo: 50 cents

AuBonPain in Midtown: $1

Trader Joe’s in Union Square: 15 cents

No discernible correlation going on here except where the banana is purchased. Obviously paying for a banana in a cafe or deli will warrant a service charge versus buying one at a grocery store (TJs). We were hoping to unveil the next Big Mac Index and reveal pricing discrepancies throughout different neighborhoods and boroughs that would somehow lead us to economic or rent-predicting glory. At the very least we would discover our own banana wars! Those dreams are gone. Alas, I tell you this story so that you know what we now do: Buy your bananas at the grocery store or from the street cart.  May you never overpay for a banana again! You’re welcome.

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One Response to “The Banana Index”

  1. My guess is that bananas are a rare commodity at a convenience store or street cart because 95 percent of the stuff sold there is seen as crap (and in most cases is). A banana is perceived as a fresh and healthy snack, which is what everyone wants to be seen eating at work/in public. At a grocery store, banana bunches are just another run-of-the-mill item. That’s part of it anyway.

    I can’t believe how long I spent pondering this…. good post!

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