The $10 Pineapple

Funny story. We went to the Mercado Municipal (market) today for lunch (Kelner convinced me to make the 1 hour trip for a deli style 100% beef bologna sandwich, and even though they messed up and gave us Turkey … it was still a-wait-for-it-mazing (#1 below). I’ll have to go back next week for that sandwich again, because damnit if i don’t love me some good processed beef.

Ok, so back to the story. It reminded me of the first trip to the market last Monday, during the city tour. One of the things this market is known for is it’s exotic fruit selection. Fruit stands surround the market hawking dozens of tropical fruit you have never seen before. Some of my favorites were the “has a cashew nut sticking out of the top” fruit (#2 below), the “looks and tastes like an artichoke fruit” (#3 below), and the “giant red kohlrabi looking thing with white kiwi center” fruit. These are the official technical names of course. After 30 minutes of tasting these incredibly sweet and juicy treats, we were ready to buy … and then we learned the prices. Artichoke fruit? US$10, White kiwi thing? US$25. Regular old Pineapple? US$10. You could say this is because we were American, but i witnessed locals buying at these prices too.

I picked out the artichoke fruit (which was incredible), then wanted a pineapple. Those cost a buck at the minneapolis farmer’s market, so I figured the price is negotiable. No deal. The guy would not allow much haggling, and I ultimately passed on it. I can only imagine what these guys bring in a year with fruit costs so high. But then, the best part! As we are leaving we drove around the corner where some homeless people surrounded the streets. And right there on the corner, were 10 boxes of pineapples with at least 10 fruits in each. $1000 worth of pineapples there for the taking and dozens of hungry poor Brazilians just walking past them! What is going on???

Later, I went to a grocery store, and found the same darn pineapple for about $3 US. I have now figured out how to “Do Business in Brazil”. Take a sh*tload of pineapples from the grocery store and sell it for $9 next to the market. Instant billionaire.

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