The thing is, nobody wants to buy a piece of fruit that's dirty and bruised. And nobody wants to take responsibility for knocking the fruit down by finding a store person. So instead they pick it up off the floor, look around to make sure nobody they know is watching, and put it back in the bin.
Of course, since everybody does this, it means that they're all buying fruit that OTHER people have knocked on the floor and put back it. It's like some sort of filthy fruit exchange program. I wonder if the employees of the market get off on this. I wonder if they like watching some college kid or professor knock a precariously placed pear to the floor and then pick it up and put it back, only to take another pear that someone else knocked down a few hours earlier.
I mean the whole thing could be solved with a "Dirty Fruit" bin or just baskets that weren't designed to dump their contents when even slightly jostled.
Of course it could be that it's just raw incompetence. This is the same market where I saw the following exchange.
Young woman: Excuse me, but do you still carry that Go Kashi Crunch cereal? You're always out.
Manager: We don't have any right now. We can't keep it on the shelves.
Young woman: Could you order some more?
Manager: We would, but it's not that popular a brand.
And so it was that Soviet logic came to Morton Williams, and it was good.