An investigation into the coconuts for sale at Whole Foods. 

Elisabeth Sherman
May 31, 2017

Whole Foods is now unfortunately infamous for their overpriced groceries (you’ve probably heard the “Whole Paycheck” joke before). They’ve got such a reputation for slinging fancy food with price tags most regular people can’t afford, that the company pledged to lower prices, part of an effort by new investors to revamp the struggling grocery stores.

Case-in-point: A Consumerist reader recently emailed the blog a curious photo he took at a Whole Foods store in Oakland, California, where he spotted a refrigerated bin stocked with young coconuts – the type with the soft white outer husk, filled with delicious coconut water that you can drink right out of the shell, not the more familiar brown, hairy variety.

On one side of the bin, the coconuts were being sold for $3.99, and on the other, the exact same brand, but with a straw taped to the top, were being sold for $4.99.

The shopper was righteously baffled. Could the luxury grocery store really get away with selling a coconut that comes with a straw – a straw, the confused reader points out, that comes for free along with out utensils near the store’s doors – at a $1 surcharge?

Consumerist took it upon themselves to fill everyone in on the real deal, though: They reached out to Whole Foods, and a spokesperson informed them they weren’t actually audacious enough to try to trick people into paying more for a straw they could easily get for free.

Though the two coconuts might look similar from the outside, the spokesperson explained that the coconut that comes with straw has actually been already been “cracked open by Whole Foods employees,” meaning that it’s ready to drink as soon as you pay up at the register. As Consumerist points out, you’re paying for the labor, not the straw.

If you go for the cheaper open, you’ll have to be ready with some kind of tool to crack the fruit open yourself – sounds like a dangerous prospect indeed. We recommend avoiding injury; if you must to buy a drinkable coconut, just pay the extra dollar.