Bad nectarines, courtesy David Hammond

The Wife bought two pounds of nectarines at Trader Joe’s.

I cut into one, and it was mealy, juiceless, despicable. 

I cut into another, same deal.

Now, the nectarines were brought back to Trader Joe’s, who gave a price refund, which is beyond doubt the right thing to do, but my question is: why is it the consumer’s job to do quality control for a place like Trader Joe’s?

And for every person who brings back clearly subpar produce, how many customers just don’t make the effort, suck it up, and eat the cost (though not, of course, the produce)?

So what I’m wondering is, by bringing bad fruit back to the store, am I achieving anything other than just getting my money back for a purchase poorly made? Or do good stores like Trader Joe’s actually go back and check out the other fruit of this type just to see if, maybe, there’s a common problem with all the fruit in that bin?

And wouldn’t it make sense for them to, maybe, open every package of incoming fruit, sample a little, and if they have to open a bag, just leave it in the employee break room or send employees home with it, but to make sure that what their valued customers buy is, actually, edible.

Perhaps it depends on the size of the grocery, but whatever the place, it seems like they should stand behind their fruit…

[NOTE: Kramer bought the fruit so it’s perfectly fine for him to nose the mango]

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David Hammond

David Hammond, a corporate communications consultant and food journalist living in Oak Park, Illinois, is a founder and moderator of, the 8,500 member Chicago-based culinary chat site. David...