Spending $200 on a watermelon may not seem like a sound investment, but the manager of a local grocery store says people in Vancouver are doing it, and not for the first time.

“We brought in 10 and we have six left,” said Tyler Wynn of the square watermelons currently on sale at the Urban Fare Market he manages in the city’s Coal Harbour neighbourhood. “We’ve sold out every time we’ve brought the watermelons in.”

“They’re a very innovative product that our company likes to bring in,” Wynn said. “These square watermelons draw a lot of attention.”

That much is evident. Inside Wynn’s store, a steady stream of shoppers was taking pictures of the novelty fruit and its $199.99 price tag Tuesday morning. Local social and traditional media have been abuzz with stories about the square watermelons since they arrived at Urban Fare locations around the city last week.

The square watermelons are imported from Japan, where they’re grown in tempered-glass cases that force them to take on their unique shape. Inside, though, they’re the same as any other watermelon.

“They’re just like a regular watermelon,” Wynn said. “They have seeds. They’re the same color inside. They taste the same as a regular watermelon, as well. They’re just square.”

CTV News staff members tasted one of the square watermelons Tuesday afternoon. Its inside was yellow, rather than pink or red, suggesting that it was under-ripe. The flavour garnered less-than-positive reviews. Some staff members said it tasted like watermelon, only blander. Others characterized it politely as “flavourless,” and less-politely as “horrible.”

Wynn said people buy the square fruits because of the novelty. They’re instant conversation pieces that can make the buyer the centre of attention at a backyard barbecue.

Shopper Christopher Dempsey said he’d have to work some overtime shifts in order to buy one, but he was intrigued by the possibility of trying a square watermelon at a party with friends.

“If you’re going to bring that out for a barbecue, I think it definitely would pique people’s interests,” Dempsey said. “I think they’re very interesting. I’ve never seen a square watermelon before.”

Have your say: Would you buy a $200 watermelon?