I was driving up La Brea this afternoon and found myself at a stoplight next to a van painted with a company logo on it, and I had to rush home and ask: Can somebody please tell me who orders Edible Arrangements? Or how such a business even stays in business? Especially in what is known these days as “these times”?
Edible Arrangements, in case you’ve been spared, is a, a, a… store? a, a, … service?… How can I call it a service when it provides something that nobody needs, and that in fact people don’t need. Like a cold sore. Let’s just say it’s place. A place where one can purchase arrangements, like the worst sort of flower arrangements where long stems poke out of a center in a fan-like shape bearing no resemblance to anything that happens in nature. Only these are… you guessed it: Edible! Yup. Instead of flowers on the end of stems, they are pieces of fruit, cut and shaped to look like flowers, on the ends of sticks. (Yay!) To which my first of many questions is: WHY? Actually, that’s my second. My first is: WHO? As in: Who would buy these things? Who would think of making these things? Who would be anything but horrified to receive one of these things?
The first time Edible Arrangements came onto my radar screen was when I spotted a location on lower Seventh Avenue in New York. It was so odd, and the images displayed in the window of the potential offerings, was so ugly, I figured it was a foil for the mob or some sort of money laundering operation. My subconscious internal computer was not programmed to accept the idea that people might actually find this an appealing gift, or a suitable way of presenting fruit.
Aesthetics aside (because there is no accounting for taste, to each his own, right?) it is no small task to get pineapple to look like daisies. Therefore: Do you know how many hands have to touch those pineapple chunks as they are maneuvered onto sticks and manipulated to form the shapes of flowers? I cannot even bear to think of what an Edible Arrangements workshop looks like. Plus, I feel it’s fair to harp on someone else’s idea of a good idea in this case because, unlike, say, that fan-like FTD arrangement, it isn’t just a matter of bad taste. There’s something else wrong with these arrangements that goes beyond bad taste. I can’t quite put my finger on what that is, but God knows they have. They’ve put their fingers all over it. All of it. And then what? We’re supposed to pluck those “daisy” pineapples (whose centers, I should add, are made of melon balls) off their stems, they’ve probably got a nice thin little skins from having been stuck on a stick to dry, and then.. eat them? Come on! Let’s get serious here. This is food we’re talking about. It goes in your mouth. This is an abuse of the first ammendment.
I have a better idea. How about buying some real pineapples, you know, the big fruit with the weird, pinecone-like exteriors and the gorgeous cactus-like tops. Those natural wonders which just so happen, on their very unadulterated own, to be gorgoeus beyond words and exotic looking beyond measure. They have the added benefit of smelling nice. They are a symbol of hospitality. And there is a chance they may actually taste good. Stick a few of those in the center of your table why don’t you. Or stop and pick up some daisies–or pick some daisies—and shove them in a vase. They’re pretty, remember? They look exactly like daisies. They, too, like the whole pineapples, smell nice. Plus, they’re cheap, which is just right for “these times.” And the best part: Nobody expects you to eat them.