What was my biggest banana problem? Glad you asked.
I love bananas. Cannot get enough of them (well I can, one a day is plenty), and we’re lucky enough to have a superb fruit and veg man nearby (right outside Chancery Lane tube station, please do visit him if you’re in the area). Every Monday morning, I will buy a bunch of five. His produce is so good that one day, I realised, shortly after my final bite, that I had just finished the best banana I had ever eaten in my life. Every part of it was superb. The flavour, the texture, the consistency, the ease-of-peeling. Everything about it was everything that any man could desire from a banana, and much more. It was faultless, and I told everyone else in the office.
Sometimes, I still dream of that banana.
Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, well, for a little while, we had a banana thief. Clearly, someone had overheard my proclamations of bananery magnificence and decided that they wanted a piece of the action, without the inconvenience of paying. Every week, I would arrive in on a Wednesday or Thursday morning and would realise that only two or one bananas, respectively, remained. For a while I toyed with the idea of consulting the CCTV, or by taking a more low-tech approach of writing ‘don’t think I’m not watching you’ on one of the bananas in felt-tip pen, but after some careful deliberation I thought, “No. Who am I to judge another for stealing another’s bananas? For are not all of us trying to make their way in this uncompromising world and if I can provide the thief (for they are a thief, and nothing can alter that fact) with a moment’s bananery relief from the troubles they must be facing in order to resort to the sordid crime of banana theft, then perhaps it is my role to do so. I can take the 25p hit. I can be the bigger man. Does leave me a banana short, that’s true, but I’ll just have to buy another one on Friday mornings.
And Friday mornings would come round, and I would buy another one and then I would think, “Actually the banana thief has done me a favour here because by Friday the fifth banana has normally gone really soft and soggy and instead I am enjoying another perfectly ripe banana, which sets me up nicely for the weekend.”
Perhaps, in a twist of the tale, the banana thief was actually trying to teach me something about the need to live in the moment and not think too far ahead, for plans, in this world at least, are subject to the whims of others and the changing winds and shifting sands of nature, and perhaps buying five bananas at the start of the week is simply too conservative a way to live your life.
Then one week they stole 2 bananas and that was just pushing it too far.
Anyway, we’ve moved offices now and it’s stopped.
But, nonetheless, something stayed with me from that time of skulduggery and thievery: the need to get your bananas ripe and the perils of buying a bunch of five.
Luckily, though, for me, you and this entire planet, one genius, who works at E-mart in Korea, has come up with a concept so brilliantly simple, and fiendishly clever, that I can only stand and applaud.
This, ladies and gentlemen, is how you sell a bunch of bananas.
It may be only once or twice in your life you get to see, first-hand, with your own eyes, true genius, but this is one of them.
Take it in.
Like I savoured that perfect banana in the old office.
Life is hard, and it’s made bearable by occasional, sweet moments where true beauty and genius reveals itself, like when Handel wrote the Hallelujah chorus from his majestic work Messiah, and spake “I did think I did see all Heaven before me and the great God Himself.”
If Handel himself could see what this humble E-mart worker has created then he himself would bow down in appreciation, and you should too.