So I’ve been working at the WalMart store in the produce department for two weeks now and so far so good. I like my co-workers and they seem to like me.

The big news this past week was that WalMart is going to require it’s suppliers to provide information on the environmental impact of their products. This isn’t going to happen for a while, but how can it be a bad thing? Most of us are concerned about leaving a cleaner planet for our children right?

I must say, the produce section at our store looks great. The past couple of weeks I’ve been learning about how they display different fruits and veggies, how things work on different days, etc. On weekends, for example, we can stack tomatoes and peaches two layers high, but not during the week. They’re too fragile. I learn the most when customers ask me questions and I have to run and get the answer from my co-workers. A lot of what we do is going through the section and cull anything that isn’t fresh.

We throw away so much stuff. I know that local food banks would love to have some of the food that we’ve thrown away, and I can’t be the first person to notice this. Our store gives $$$ to the food bank, I know that. Well, after I’ve been around a bit longer I can find out more.

WalMart uses a point-of-sale ordering system for all products. This may work well in other departments, but maybe not so much in produce. I’m still learning how it works, but all decisions are made by the home office based on the prior day’s sales. We have no control over it. This has led to an embarrassing day last week when by the afternoon we were out of bananas and strawberries. I actually told a customer that they had stopped making bananas. I’m not sure she appreciated the attempt at humor.

The other day I was working on the floor and a woman with her three year old daughter was nearby. There was a bang that sounded like a balloon popping. The little girl was scared, but her mom calmed her down and soon we were trying to figure out what it was. The girl said she got something liquid in her hair, and that led us to the culprit. One of the Whacky Coconuts (pre-grooved so they’re easy to crack open) had exploded.

Fortunately this incident was witnessed by another guy from the department (I’ve decided that all of my produce co-workers will have fruit or vegetable related names, so his name will be Cornelius.), otherwise no one would have believed me. Cornelius has worked in produce for 30+ years, and he has never heard of a coconut exploding. Neither had anyone else in the department.

So naturally, first chance I got I hopped on Google to look for “exploding coconut.” I found quite a bit once I got past YouTube videos of guys putting fireworks inside coconuts, and directions on how to make a coconut bomb. Damn, the intertoobs are scary! I did also find a fireworks rocket called “Sky Monkey with Exploding Coconuts.” Before I clicked on it I was thinking that it was a monkey tied to an exploding coconut that you catapulted toward your enemy. How effective, considering how I feel about monkeys. You would blow up your enemy AND a monkey at the same time!

I’m so going to get nasty comments on that one.

There’s a blogger named Matthew Buckley who writes a blog called Chickens Don’t Have Armpits who had an exploding coconut incident in 2005 and got a lot of comments from other coconut victims. He followed up in 2006, and again in 2007, remarking that his original blog post was the first thing you see when you google “exploding coconuts.” If you’re reading this Matthew, I can tell you that it is now #2. It’s been knocked from its #1 position by one of those YouTube idiots. If my silly posting further supplants it, I apologize, but please know that your blog is still the definitive source for exploding coconut knowledge.

I also found a very informative website for vegetarians that had some info on coconuts, so from all these sources I think we can reasonably assume that some fermentation had occurred on the WalMart shelf, and that if only we had gotten to the coconut before it exploded we could have had some kick ass pina coladas.


3 thoughts on “Yes we have no bananas, but we have got a lovely bunch of exploding coconuts

  1. I relate to your comment about learning from your customers. I think the trick is to be able to fake your way through until you either learn what you need to know or get fired.
    It is the rare customer with a sense of humor. Humor is lost on most customers, and often it backfires because they might suspect you are making fun of them – which you might be, but so what? Save obvious humor for coworkers who will truly appreciate a humorous diversion. If you can pull off subtle humor with a customer, that is the ultimate. That is the kind where you say something so ludicrous, but with such sincerity and with such a straight face that they believe you. I have been constantly amazed at what people will believe.
    There is another kind of innocent lie that works well. This is the answer to a customer question like, “Were those cabbages grown in California or Mexico?” See, ultimately, what the customer wants to know is if it is safe to eat them. In this case, just answer whatever the customer wants to hear. Sometimes I can combine the ludicrous lie with the innocent lie. In that case, you might answer, “We buy our cabbages from a local man who brings them in his wheelbarrow each Tuesday.” I dare you to try it.

  2. Good ideas, love the picture of the farmer wheeling his cabbages into the produce section of UltraMegaUberGigantoWalMart.

    I could also say, “Let’s see, are these the poisonous cabbages? No, we get those on Thursdays. No. No, these are the good ones.”

    BTW, it hasn’t escaped my notice that you’re spelling “humor” the American way. Is that a conscious move, unconscious assimilation because you’ve been here too long, or is it the work of Bill Gates Evil Spell Check?

    Anyway, love your comments and your humour.


  3. Using American spelling just expedites communication. I consciously adopted the practice after some Americans were so distracted by my “mistakes” that they couldn’t appreciate the content. If you think someone misspells a word, there is also a bias that makes you doubt their intelligence.
    Since living State-side for so long I use American spelling as a habit, but if I am tired I may lapse into Canadian spelling, at which point Uncle Bill’s watchful eye pulls me back in line.
    Thanks for noticing!

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