Do pineapples belong in a snowstorm?

Montreal enjoyed several days of warm weather last week, which melted almost all of the snow that had fallen over the last two weeks, and there was a lot of it. Just as I was beginning to enjoy walking to work in my hiking boots, mother nature dropped another big snowfall on us and I had to switch back to my Baffin Island heavy-duty, knee-high snow boots. After shoveling our stairs and the area leading from the sidewalk to our building, I decided to go for a short walk.

As I was walking home, at around 4pm (notice how dark it is in the afternoon!), I passed by one of my neighbourhood fruit and vegetable shops that I rarely buy anything from these days. This decrease in shopping is due to my membership in a CSA, my "putting by" for the winter, and the general changes (I'll call them improvements) in my eating habits. To reinforce that I made the right decision, I saw this display on the sidewalk (left).

Those poor snow-covered pineapples are priced at 99 cents each. That low price made me question not only how much of that 99 cents went towards shipping the pineapples from whatever tropical country they came from, but also how much the workers who grew and then picked them got paid, as well as how much the plantation owner got, and let's not forget the wholesaler, the duties and taxes, and lastly the shop owner where I saw them freezing in the snow.

I would ask the same questions about those mangoes priced at 3 for $2 and the 'maroc' oranges that are priced at $5.99 a box. I just don't see how that makes any sense. I mean, do these pineapples look like they are having a good time?

5 Responsesto “Do pineapples belong in a snowstorm?”

  1. Ed Bruske says:

    Wow, what a bargain, Peter! When pineapples go on sale at our local Whole Foods, they're marked down to $3.99 from $4.99.

    Pineapples are traditional in upper lattitudes. Go back a couple of centuries, sailors arriving home for the long sea voyages would bring back pineapples, displaying one at the front door to let all the neighbors know it was time to socialize again. That's why you see the pineapple over the doors of hotels and inn's in the Northeast.

    I use them as a base for a fruit smoothy. Enjoy...

  2. Saara says:

    Oooh! A windfall, I say. I would assume that the shop owner spent more than that for them, but was hoping to get rid of them quickly at any price since they'd frozen, instead of just throwing them away. Local or not, there's no reason to waste food. Home-canned pineapple anyone? ;)

  3. Wow! 99¢!!! I would have bought a dozen! :} I've never seen them so low. Were they being dumped due to the weather or something?

  4. Peter aka Nosher of the North says:

    If this were a rare occurrence, I too would get in line and buy a few of these pineapples at a mere 99 cents. Unfortunately, the reality which I failed to mention was that this particular shop regularly prices its pineapples at 99 cents. It forces the neighbouring shops to do the same, will may eventually force the regular price downwards. Who would suffer if this were to happen? Not the consumer or even the retailer, but most probably the people toiling away for pennies a week.

    I love pineapples, but they are not something I buy every week, 52 weeks a year. If I wanted to do that, I would move to Costa Rica.

  5. Huh. I wonder if they are doing that as a loss leader drying to get people to come in and buy a pineapple and the while they are there also do their other shopping. I have read of stores doing that sort of thing.

    I think the lowest I've seen pineapples in years (10???) is $3.99 (US) and they were $4.99 earlier this month when we went shopping. I have a friend who grew one in her window (here in Vermont no less) and I've tried but never with any great success. I just got foliage. I suspect our house is too cool and we don't have enough light.

    It is amazing the idea that something could be shipped from Hawaii or Costa Rica all the way north to our area for so little. Even $3.99 seems low - especially given that the store generally gets 30% to 50% of the price for doing the retailing.

    Keep warm!

    -WalterJ
    in Vermont
    on a crisp and sunny day