Interviews With People Who Have Interesting or Unusual Jobs
We’re always looking for people with interesting or unusual jobs. If you fall into one of these categories, or know someone who does, please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Laura Anderson, Making a Living from Bananas.
Q: You own a banana stand.
A: It’s actually a trailer. In Austin there is a really big food trailer scene. Ours is in a lot with four other trailers. We’re in a “trailer park eatery.”
Q: And you serve frozen bananas?
A: Yes. They are dipped in vanilla, chocolate, peanut butter, vegan chocolate…
Q: How did you start doing this?
A: I have a business partner, Anna. She and our other friend were up all night watching a marathon of Arrested Development and thought it would be a great idea to open a frozen banana stand. I heard about it later and thought it was a great idea too.
Q: How did you end up actually getting the business off the ground?
A: Well, first my friends were talking about how we might sell the bananas. Our friend Josh had a pickup truck and they were talking about selling downtown out of the back of his truck, which I’m pretty sure is illegal.
We also talked about doing it out of the front yard, because it’s near where people commute.
It was right before my college senior year. I had to write a thesis and I was planning a collection of short stories but I was NOT excited about it. I was telling one of my friends and he said, “Why don’t you write a thesis about opening a banana stand?”
That’s what got us serious. I told myself I’d write my thesis on it, and that’s how I made myself do it. My thesis ended before we opened the business but we went through with buying the trailer.
Q: How did you get the money?
A: I used leftover student loan money to buy the trailer, which was fine until a few years later when I had to pay it back.
Q: Where did you get the trailer?
A: We bought it from Craigslist. It used to be a lemonade stand at Fiesta Texas in San Antonio. We got it from the person who got it from Fiesta Texas and it was falling apart.
Q: What did your friends or family think of all this?
A: My dad told me he expected it to be a six-month thing.
Anna and I were housemates with 25-30 people at the time and we used them for experimentation. We hadn’t ever made frozen bananas.
Q: Are you able to make a living doing this?
A: We make most of our living this way. We both have part-time jobs.
Q: How do you make frozen bananas?
A: If I told you all of our secrets I’d have to kill you. There are probably pages I should rip out of my thesis.
Q: What do they taste like? I’ve never had one.
A: They’re creamy almost. They’re on a stick. We use the back end of a spoon and then dip them in chocolate.
Q: Do you do a lot of business?
A: Yeah, especially Saturdays. And we also cater, do special events…
Q: Do you remember the first day you opened?
A: Yes. It was supposed to be Saturday, May 16th. We stayed up until 5 am freezing bananas. I think we bought ten 40-pound cases and we froze eight of the cases. When we got home we both collapsed on the living room floor. We didn’t want to sleep too long; we were prepared to get up and open. Then when we got up, we realized all of the bananas had been refrigerated instead of frozen. And it was pouring rain, so we postponed until Monday.
Q: Did you have to throw those bananas out and start over again?
A: No, we just put them in the freezer.
Q: How did you learn how to do all of this? Like open a business, health department stuff…
A: It took a lot of reading online.
Q: Are you going to keep doing this for the rest of your life?
A: We decide every year whether or not we’re going to do it again.
Q: How many bananas do you eat a day?
A: When I’m not working, none. When I am working, maybe one. Maybe one every time or every other time.
Q: How often do you work?
A: Three shifts per week.
Q: So that’s about 150 bananas a year.
A: Except that we’re closed November through February. So it is less than 150, even if I did eat one each shift, which I don’t always.
Q: So you got the idea from Arrested Development. What would you do if Will Arnett came to the banana stand?
A: I’d partially die. Then I’d give him a free banana.
Q: Are you ever tired of bananas?
A: No. They’re awesome.
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