It could have been a scene from the days of the San Francisco dot-com boom: Representatives of video-sharing site tried to give away money and tomatoes to passersby in a publicity stunt over the weekend. The idea is that participants hunt for hidden tomatoes to which are attached bills in denominations from $1 to $100.

You’d think that giving away money and produce would be a straightforward proposition, but according to the article in the San Francisco Chronicle, it’s not that easy.

So far they’ve had a tough time in the Bay Area. … At the company’s first local tomato hunt, at UC Berkeley, campus police told them they couldn’t give out tomatoes because student protesters might throw them at cops or each other.

‘The police departments are making it look like we’re doing something bad,’ [ senior official Jason] Buzi said, lugging a crate of tomatoes to the corner of Dolores and 18th streets. ‘We just want to give away money. We want to do more of this, but we’ll see how this one turns out.’

Perhaps no one told them that for Bay Area tomato giveaways they need to stock organic heirlooms or dry-farmed Early Girls from Joe Schirmer. That would have solved the problems.

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