Cheekiness gets you… bananas

Not particularly current or important, but curious and fun nonetheless:

In 1986, Silo (a chain of home electronics stores) ran a television commercial in 23 markets nationwide, offering stereos for “299 bananas.” They never thought anyone would take them at their word; after all, “banana” is a widely accepted, if playful, term for greenbacks. Who could possibly mistake one for the other? Thirty-two customers held the retailer to its unwitting word — they showed up bearing loads of the yellow fruit and demanding the store keep its end of the bargain.

Each stereo was exchanged for $40 to $60 worth of bananas, and Silo took in a total of 11,000 bananas. Many of the bananas were donated to Woodland Park Zoo, but there were too many even for the hungry animals.

(Though how widely accepted, exactly, is the use of the word ‘bananas’ as a stand-in for ‘dollars’?)

( “Banana Skinned.” [October 20, 2005])