I just stopped by one of the street fruit stands in midtown Manhattan to pick up some cherries for a snack. As I normally do when buying fruits or vegetables sold loose, I was picking out the cherries with some care, two or three at a time. (There were quite a few less-than-ripe cherries.) I was also taking some pains to avoid touching cherries that I didn't intend to buy. But the vendor spoke up and said that I should be grabbing the cherries by the handful. I told him that, no, I want to pick out the good ones. He indicated that he didn't want to be left with the worst cherries. The upshot was that I walked away without buying anything, went to the nearest supermarket, and bought a bag of cherries that I picked out myself. They were more expensive, but at least I didn't pay for cherries that I didn't want.
Now, though, I'm wondering whether I unknowingly committed some breach of fruit-buying etiquette by trying to pick out my own cherries. Certainly at the Union Square farmers' market, shoppers make no bones about picking over a bin of cherries or peas or whatever for the very best of the lot. But perhaps the farmers are too polite to protest. I'm curious about what chowhounds think about this issue.