What’s the warranty on this banana?

09Jun11

Last week, I placed an order with an online grocery delivery service. Everything arrived in good shape, which is what I’ve come to expect from that particular company. However, not even 5 days later, some of the fruit had gone bad. So, I called the customer service line to see what they could do.

The customer support rep credited my account for the $4 worth of bad fruit. But her subsequent comments surprised me. In particular, the rep said that they can’t be responsible for how long fruit and other produce will last, since so many factors are involved. That may be true, but if the fruit shows up looking fresh and you store it under the right conditions, shouldn’t it last for at least a week?

Ultimately, this comes down to setting the right expectations for customers. When you’re dealing with fruits and vegetables that may spoil quickly, you should either provide an expiration date or some advice like “Consume within 3 days after purchase”. Then, make sure the information is plainly visible at the point of sale, whether it’s online or in a traditional retail store. While this probably won’t eliminate every complaint arising from spoiled produce, it should at least help create a better understanding about how long fresh foods should last once they’ve arrived in customers’ kitchens.



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