by dubby riley

by dubby riley, a loose fitting scholar

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Harry and David Pears

I've heard it from sooooo many people that Harry and David pears are yackity yack so delicious. I've had them myself when someone has been suckered in to the marketing and sent them to us as Christmas presents. And I will say, to receive them as Christmas presents, they're lovely and I'm always very appreciative of the givers generosity. But the fact is--they're pears. Bought right and sliced at the right time you can enjoy a nearly perfect pear from your local supplier of pears--usually.

We went to the Lake of the Ozarks for our annual Christmas shopping trip. We love to sit at the fire pit at the Lodge of the Four Seasons and just relax and read, go to dinner and do some shopping. We usually go to Harry and David's Outlet store for a little "silly" extravagance like some Moose Munch or chocolate covered cherries. I must admit, even those purchases are not advisable, but as I said, for a rare treat (as in spoiling ourselves by paying mostly for the marketing of a product and not actually for an advisable purchase), a few extra dollars spent sometimes seems worth it while you sit by a fire and savor a chocolate or a truffle.

This year my daughter had decided she wanted a Harry and David pear instead of sweets. I didn't resist but simply said no problem. I guessed the pear would be $5 and told wife and daughter that.

"No way," said the wise shopper who manages our household expenses. Maybe $5 for two."

"Keep dreaming," I assured her.

When we got to Harry and David there was only one single pear ($4.95). And lots of boxes of the "Award Winning" Riviera or Scam Delicious or whatever they're called. I've poured over their marketing materials before and read the full description of their pears and methods and stories of why and what for and who screwed who to make a pear so plump and pregnant and blah blah blah. The boxes ranged between $26.95 to $34.95. The lower end hadn't been selected as the prize winners and may have some blemishes. The $34.95 were the juiciest most pregnant and had been sired by the Great Kahoona Himself, Mr. Harrier David Thanthou.

I knew my only choice was to purchase a box of pears or your honorable reviewer would suffer the consequences for the next half of his aging life, so the $26.95 pears it was. That is about $3.50 a pear or $7 for a pair.

Please don't bother to write about the reason you think Harry and David pears deserve their reputation. Emerson (I explained to the lady who was giving the free samples of the yogurt covered pretzels about my Emerson story but had to finally add Ralph Waldo because his last name alone didn't ring any bells) would save a pear on his writing desk, because he knew that there was a right time to slice one. I know that too and have sliced many a beautiful ripe pear from Safeway or Dillon's or farmer's market (best choice) and always can't say enough about the fruit. I love the drip, the creamy texture, the syrupy flavor, the nearly absence of waste (ever notice how there is so much less core to a pear than an apple?).

Yes, Harry's pears are good (usually, though I've just read dozens of reviews of negative experiences). But folks, they aint five dollars good. Ours were mediocre and now I'm stuck with six other ones to go with the pears we have already in our fruit bowl from before our trip (which I'm ready to taste test next to Tom, Dick's or Harry's with confidence that our .50 pears will be as good if sliced at the right time.

The free apples in the hotel were much superior but Lord Bless me if I had suggested we have the free apples with the hard Romano cheese we bought and crusty bread.

David's Hairy marketing is as good as it comes. Their pears--not so much.


  1. I agree, it's a marketing ploy. I'm certain you could have spent far less for equal quality elsewhere.

    But you were in a special place with special people enjoying a special tradition. Why not enjoy a tiny extravagance for your daughter's sake?

    Actually, she probably learned a valuable lesson from name is as good (if not better) than famous name brands.

    This could serve you well in years to come when she wants oh-so-much-more than a pear. ;-)

  2. Thanks Jo. Yes, that is why we had them. I thought it would be a cheap lesson too and now I have some pears to give away that I wouldn't have otherwise. And I still have phyllo left over from Thanksgiving--Pear Tarts!

  3. Really enjoyed the pear story. You are a terrific writer.

  4. Well thank you very much Jan! I've always enjoyed writing but very seldom am told that I do it well. I really appreciate that! Heading over to your blog now! Cheers!