SEATTLE -- Amazon.com has shaken up online retailing for years, but now it’s also disrupting the local fruit economy of two Seattle neighborhoods.
In 2015, Amazon launched two community banana stands offering more than 4,500 free bananas every day to passersby in South Lake Union and the Denny Regrade. That's added up to more than 1.7 million free bananas so far.
The flood of free fruit seems to have grocers stocking fewer bananas and restaurants rethinking their strategies. The Wall Street Journal reports bananas are hard to find at nearby grocery stores and that people use free Amazon bananas on their morning yogurt at nearby cafes, instead of paying the surcharge for a sliced banana.
“People have bananas on the brain,” a cafe manager told the Wall Street Journal, explaining that they’ve added banana-flavored items draw those customers back.
A manager at another nearby restaurant told the Wall Street Journal that customers often dine with Amazon bananas in hand and leave behind the peels when they leave.
The “banistas” working the stands show no sign of slowing down.
“As long as the community keeps loving their daily bananas, we’ll keep doing it,” Amazon’s website says.