From the movie Union Depot (1932)

A woman tries to pick some fruits at a stand, but she buys nothing saying

I should think you might handle fresh fruit once in a while.

The store clerk replies

I'm too busy... I leave the handling to my customers.

You can see the video here. The dialogue starts at 1:57.

What exactly does "to handle fruit/handling fruit" mean?

1 Answer 1


I'm guessing it's supposed to be a play on words. I think the first one means

14. to deal or trade in:
to handle dry goods.

Roughly, she's saying that she expects him to carry fresh fruit occasionally, implying that the current fruits are not fresh.

The second handle roughly means touch. By saying that he leaves the handling to the customers, he doesn't mean that the customers stock or manage the fruits. He means that he leaves the touching to the customers, implying that his fruits are in fact fresh.

  • +1 - the second half ( I leave the handling to the customers ) is a bit of a dig at a customer who paws over all the fruit, searching for the best one, and possibly damaging some of the others in the process. I haven't watched the video, but I would imagine that she takes slight offense at his statement.
    – Adam
    Jun 29, 2017 at 21:56

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