Like many Amazon.com ventures, the company’s attempt to keep Seattle pedestrians well supplied with free bananas came out of CEO Jeff Bezos’ imagination.
Like many Amazon.com ventures, the e-commerce behemoth’s attempt to keep Seattle pedestrians well supplied with free bananas came out of CEO Jeff Bezos’ imagination.
And like book sales or the Prime loyalty program, the banana enterprise, too, has seen momentous growth since it launched in December 2015.
Last November, Amazon’s “banistas” — as the people who staff the so-called “Community Banana Stand” program are known — handed out their one-millionth banana.
Business certainly has ramped up. An initial run rate of 1,200 bananas a day from a single stand in South Lake Union has blossomed into an average of 4,500 bananas a day, distributed at that stand and at an additional location next to Amazon’s new towers in the Denny Regrade.
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That’s 1.17 million bananas a year, factoring in they’re handed out on workdays only. That’s about 39 per Amazon employee, if one were to estimate that there are 30,000 Amazonians in the area. Of course, anyone can go there for a free banana, so that means close to 2 bananas, per annum, for every Seattleite.
Like many of Amazon’s famously-guarded metrics, the numbers generated by the banana stand remain somewhat shrouded in mystery. A video posted by Amazon l Thursday claims the banana stand “was originally conceived by Jeff Bezos.” But it didn’t say much else.
When prompted for more details — why bananas, as opposed to any other fruit, for instance — Amazon simply responded: “Why not? Bananas are healthy and come with their own protective, easy to remove, compostable packaging.”
They’re also popular: Consider that they’re the most popular item sold at Amazon archrival Wal-Mart, which moves 1 billion pounds per year. But not free.
Amazon says its stands are open Monday through Friday and staff will give free bananas to everyone.
“Anyone can come off the street. employees, non-employees, children, dogs,” a “banista” said in the Amazon video.