People collect the darndest stuff - Part 1: Fruit & Veggie stickers
Coin and stamp collections are tired, didn't you know? What's wired in the world of collecting? I'll let you know by taking a look at a few categories over the next month or so. Let's begin with fruit stickers"¦
Now, I don't mind peeling the dang things off, say, a banana, where they're pretty harmless, but I can't tell you how many times I've accidentally ingested a sticker while eating an apple or a pear because I thought I got it off already, only to discover a second one waiting on the underside--an unwanted bastard sticker-sibling.
While they may annoy me, and probably you, too, I'm guessing, for others, like Roger Harris, fruit stickers are collectables. On his Web site, for instance, you can click through scans of more than 1,000 different stickers. And if you think that's a lot, Xavier Heyte, in Belgium, claims on his Web site that he has over 11,000 in his collection. There's also Mark Wickens who doesn't collect stickers, but boasts over 12,000 fruit wrappers going all the way back to the 1800s (to say nothing of his impressive olive oil label collection!).
Why not, right? Kids love collecting Pokemon stickers, so why shouldn't adults spend their time collecting fruit and vegetable stickers? Also, like baseball cards, many sticker enthusiasts like to trade to complete their collections. Have an extra 2000-series Spanish Honeydew? I'll trade you my extra Brazillian Papaya from 1998, which I bet you can't find anywhere in your country.
On one of the Web sites I visited for this post, a collector even specified his area of interest: "General fruits and vegetables collector but with special emphasis on mangoes, melons of all kinds, apples and bananas."
But enough poking fun. Here's some cool trivia I picked up along the way:
The codes on the stickers are called PLU codes, or price look up codes.
The PLU numbers also tell you how the fruit was grown
Conventionally grown fruit has 4 digits
Organically grown fruit has 5 and starts with the number 9
Genetically engineered has 5 numbers and starts with the number 8
As for them being annoying, there does seem to be hope for sticker-ingesters like me: static electricity is being used more and more in place of the old food-grade adhesives, making them much simpler to peel off.