The Surprising Reason Trader Joe’s Bananas Are Always 19 Cents Each
A chance encounter with a customer forever changed the way Trader Joe’s sells bananas.
If you’ve ever shopped at a Trader Joe’s, you know that nothing can beat their insanely low prices—especially on fresh produce. But unless you’ve been to Trader Joe’s stores in different cities, you might not know that bananas at every Trader Joe’s location are always 19 cents a pop.
In their new five-part Podcast series, Inside Trader Joe’s, the minds behind our favorite grocery store chain revealed everything from how they choose the products to stock on the shelves, to why their employees wear Hawaiian shirts, and even how they price their produce.
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According to Dane Bane, Chairman and CEO of Trader Joe’s, the bananas weren’t always sold this way. They used to be sold bagged by the pound, but since Trader Joe’s stores don’t have scales, they were pre-bagged, so each customer had to buy four or five bananas at a time. One day when he was visiting the Sun City, Arizona store, he saw an older woman looking at the bananas, but she ultimately didn’t put them in her cart.
“I said, ‘Ma’am, if you don’t mind me asking, I saw you looking at the bananas but you didn’t put anything in your cart,’” Bane explains on the podcast. “And she says to me, ‘Sonny, I may not live to see that fourth banana.’”
While funny, it was a comment Bane took to heart. And from that moment on, TJ’s has sold bananas individually, for 19 cents a fruit.