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fruit exchange rates outside the hospital i work in stand an array of food vendors in little trailers, selling a variety of portable lunchtime cuisine for a price that harvard economists refer to as darn cheap. two out of five of the carts closest to the hospital entrance are labeled simply "Fruit Salad." a salad, when made entirely of fruit, is one of life's greatest pleasures, especially on a hot philadelphia day. the menu posted is simple: small, medium, large, and extra large, ranging in price from $1.75 to $4.75 i believe. each salad comes with a banana on the side, and contains canteloupe, honeydew, watermelon, strawberries, kiwi, grapes, orange, mango, and pineapple. many people order a very precise blend of fruit, asking for only strawberries and pineapple, or just the three melons. at first i was offended by these people. the food is so cheap, and always fresh, and the people work hard, can't we all just take what we are given and be happy? but after a while i decided to join in, a little bit, and i noticed that there is a heirarchy of fruit values, not unlike sorting poker chips by color. your basic "as-is" salad will contain a decent amount of canteloupe and honeydew melons, as well as a generous portion of watermelon. Presumably these are the cheapest, most readily available fruits. By contrast, in a medium sized order, you will have 1 medium sized piece of kiwi, so we may assume that kiwi is the most valued of all fruits. When you request a fruit salad without something, they will most likely fill the space with an item from farther down the food value chart, unless there is nothing below it, in which case they will have to fill upwards. chart 1-a fruit values, from highest to lowest: 1. kiwi 2. orange slice 3. strawberry 4. pineapple 5. mango 6. grapes* 7. watermelon 8. honeydew 9. canteloupe *one notable exception is that since grapes take up a large portion of one half the container, you won't normally get more grapes than is normal. example 1. customer orders a large with no mango. they will recieve a second piece of watermelon, and maybe a little more pineapple in its place. example 2. customer orders a medium mango and pineapple only. this is what they will get. example 3. (my personal order) a small or medium with no melons. at all. this removes the bottom 3rd of the fruit list, which are predominantly filler fruits, and i recieve a lovely combination of mangos and pineapple, liberally adorned with grapes and strawberries, an orange slice and one piece of kiwi.

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