SEATTLE -- A store that advertised stereos for '299 bananas' honored the TV offer when bunches of customers started showing up with loads of the fruit.
SILO officials said Tuesday they had no idea that so many people wouldn't interpret the word 'bananas' as slang for money.
'The ad said bananas, by golly, and so we had 32 buyers come to our Southcenter distribution point Saturday morning to exchange bananas for the stereos,' Ed Altizer, SILO district manager, said.
Each stereo was exchanged for $40 to $60 worth of bananas -- a total of 11,000 bananas.
Kurt Rauschenberg of Covington said he loaded his pickup truck with bananas when he saw the ad and raced to the store.
'I almost turned around and went back home except I had four cases of bananas in my truck,' he said.
In Philadelphia, Michael O'Hara, SILO vice president, said the banana ad cost the company significantly.
'In 10 years, we have never run into anything like this,' he said, 'and I approved of the TV commercial. I looked at it a dozen times before it was released. I never thought about this possibility.'
The ad was shown in 23 markets across the country, but only in El Paso, Texas, was there a similar response. But in El Paso only the first customer was able to 'buy' a stereo with bananas.
Altizer donated the Seattle bananas to Woodland Park Zoo, but there were too many even for the hungry animals.
'We need about 1,000 a week for the elephants, monkeys, gorillas, primates, hippos,' said Bob Daleske of the zoo commissary. 'Most of our animals like them but we can't just give them bananas in uncontrolled amounts.'
The zoo donated most of the bananas to area food banks.