The Florida Grapefruit/Orange Conspiracy


Something is amiss at my local Publix.  Something…sinister.  I’m calling it a conspiracy managed by disgruntled produce workers to screw with customers because it may very well be the cleverest attempt to force us to buy Florida oranges ever conceived.  And they’re doing it through grapefruits.

First, some back-story.  I recently began eating grapefruits as snacks/meals in a sad attempt to lose weight and get in better shape.  I suffer from what I’d like to call English Major Body, which is a rare condition that forces you to look something like the image below, but with all of your fat content evenly concentrated around the midsection.  This is different from having a beer belly, which concentrates a lot of your fat in your stomach (I have no interest in demonstrating this via a picture).  I want to get rid of this shape, and that means I have to start eating things that are supposed to make my insides act like they haven’t been chugging down processed plastic and grease.  In all fairness, I am not very good at such things, though I have developed an expert
ability to walk and read at the same time, which burns a lot of extra calories while making the act mildly entertaining.  The result of this process of de-English-Majoring myself is that I now have grapefruits in my produce drawer. Or so I thought.

Imagine, if you will, going into your fridge, searching for that beautiful pale orange (sometimes pinkish) fruit, plucking it from the drawer, and taking your knife to it…only to discover the insides aren’t the bright pink you’ve come to expect.  No.  The insides are orange, and you soon realize that the fruit you had purchased was, in fact, not a grapefruit, but a cousin by the name of orange (you probably saw this coming).  “How did that happen?” you might ask.  You picked all of your grapefruits from the grapefruit section.  Why would there be oranges there?  After all, putting grapefruits and oranges together is silly.

Then imagine going back to the store and realizing that the produce department had put the oranges right next door to the grapefruits, but had covered the orange sign so all you could see was “Grapefruits / $1.99 lb.”  And imagine being surprised that most of the grapefruits were not pinkish on the outside, which would give away their non-orange status, but surprisingly similarly colored and sized as the oranges next door, and that some buffoon had mixed the two fruits together so that only those in the know would realize what was going on (alternatively, people who make it a habit to smell their fruit would likely not be fooled, but I have never been one for sniffing fruit in public).

What about all of this is a conspiracy?  Probably nothing, but I like to think that the produce department people have devised a clever scheme to trick customers by mixing grapefruits and oranges together.  Somewhere in the back is a guy giggling to himself about all the people he’s fooled, rolling over in fits of laughter at the thought of some unsuspecting customer cutting open a grapefruit and discovering an orange.  This is all part of an even greater scheme to get customers to buy Florida oranges, which are, perhaps, the only produce from this State worth buying.  (I rarely buy Florida produce, largely because California produce is often of better quality, despite the fact that it is shipped from California.  I also don’t eat oranges, because  orange juice is better anyway.)

But forgive me if I don’t think this conspiracy will end with grapefruit.  What’s next?  Apples.  You watch.  One day I’ll go to the store to buy some Red Delicious apples (like the ones below).  I’ll pick the best of the lot and head home thinking about the wonderfully sweet flavor of those apples (imported from Washington, no doubt).  But when I finally bite into one, I’ll quickly discover that someone has painted over the apple with bright red lead paint in order to disguise the tangy Granny Smith flesh.  At first, I’ll be upset, because I was expecting sweet rather than sour.  Then it will dawn on me:  I’ve just eaten lead paint.  And somewhere in the back room of a grocery store sits a giggling produce man, who has managed to trick most of the town with his red lead paint disguise.  Ten thousand people will die of lead poisoning and the Florida apple trade (assuming we grow apples here) will blow up.  People will come from all over the world to buy our lead-free mediocre apples, and the produce man will get a $5,000,000 kickback for his good work.

I’m sure they’ll move on to carrots and strawberries and celery next, because a conspiracy isn’t any good if you don’t expand your horizons.  Just think about the Moon Landings, which were faked six separate times in order to make us believe we actually went to the Moon.  They couldn’t stop with one!  And so the produce people won’t stop with grapefruits or apples.  They’ll take on the entire produce department, all for the glory of Florida produce, after which Rick Scott will declare fruit illegal because it’s too liberal looking…

So be careful while you’re at the grocery store.  You might get tricked and give a little troll in the back room a good laugh.  And whenever a troll laughs, a puppy is eaten by a whale.

That is all…

P.S.:  This is a joke I have concocted in order to avoid taking responsibility for accidentally buying oranges instead of grapefruits from my local Publix.  Some of the above is true.  Some of it is fictional.  I won’t tell you which, because it’s funnier that way…for me.

P.S.S.:  Yes, I am aware that the Moon Landings really happened.  That joke would be one of those fictional things…

About the Author:

Shaun Duke is an aspiring writer, a reviewer, and an academic. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Digital Rhetoric and Writing at Bemidji State University. He received his PhD in English from the University of Florida and studies science fiction, postcolonialism, digital fan cultures, and digital rhetoric.

4 thoughts on “The Florida Grapefruit/Orange Conspiracy

  1. Ah, I have also experienced this issue, only in reverse. Thus my expectation of eating a deliciously sweet orange was halted when I found myself gagging on sour grapefruit. I ending up eating it anyway, of course, because I like grapefruit, but the sudden surprise was looked upon poorly.

    (Hilarious post, btw…I especially liked the part about the apples.)

  2. Oh, now that would be a huge shock! To bite into a grapefruit expecting an orange…yikes! Less shocking, I suppose, than what I went through.

    Glad you thought the post was funny, by the way :). It's a good thing to know that I am capable of humoring people.

  3. ha! hilarious!

    and yes, this has happened to me, with oranges/grapefruits, cilantro/parsley, and different kinds of lettuce. I especially love the signs at the supercenter that say something stupid like "tropical fruit", with a table covered in bizarre green and orange things, with zero info as to what is what. Which one is the papaya? is that thing over there a kiwi?

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