The Hilarious Reason Trader Joe's Sells Single Bananas

There are a lot of things that make Trader Joe's such a unique place to shop. The grocery store, which started in Pasadena, California in 1967, has become famous for its quirky offerings and store brand foods that you can't find anywhere. There's the cult-favorite $12 bottles of wine — known as Two Buck Chuck — and the vast frozen food section, which includes must-haves like cauliflower gnocchi and Gone Bananas (which are chocolate-covered bananas). Then there's the famously attentive customer service and the employees dressed in cheerful Hawaiian shirts.

Another thing that only the most devoted Trader Joe's customers may know is that the national chain sells individual bananas. Of course, you can buy a bunch of bananas as you can at any grocery store, but you can also buy just a single fruit. And that's not by accident. The reason for why you can buy one banana at Trader Joe's is a lot more interesting than you might have thought. Here's why it's a thing.

It's all because of a customer that wanted just one banana

Legend has it that the story behind the Trader Joe's banana starts with an elderly shopper that didn't want all five bananas that typically came bundled together (via Delish). An employee saw her pick up some bananas and put them back. They asked the customer why she wasn't getting the fruit, "Ma'am, if you don't mind me asking, I saw you looking at the bananas but you didn't, you didn't put anything in your cart" (via Business Insider). Her candid response? "Sonny, I may not live to that fourth banana." 

Ever since then, bananas have been sold individually at the chain grocery store instead of by the pound, according to Dan Bane, Trader Joe's CEO and chairman. On the official Trader Joe's podcast, he said that immediately following that encounter, the retailer "decided the next day that we were going to sell individual bananas, and they've been 19 cents ever since."