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December 16, 2009 at 4:55 PM

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Costco removed tomatoes to save Sarah Palin from possible pelting

Posted by Melissa Allison

Costco customer Helen Rappaport told The Salt Lake Tribune that she couldn't find tomatoes at a warehouse in Salt Lake City last week because, the manager told her, they were taken off shelves while Sarah Palin visited during her book tour.

"It turns out that Palin had been pelted with a tomato at an earlier stop on her book tour and the management at the Costco was determined it wouldn't happen here," the paper said. "The manager told an employee to go into the storage area and get Rappaport some tomatoes, which he gave her for free."

The book tour, which ended this week, included stops at Costco stores in Salt Lake City and Tempe, Ariz.

Update: The Associated Press reported earlier in the week that a man was arrested for throwing a tomato at Palin at the Mall of America in Minnesota. He missed.

Confirmation from Costco, Thursday 2:15 p.m.: Kevin Campbell, who manages the store Palin visited in Salt Lake City, confirmed that it pulled tomatoes off the floor while she was there and put them in a receiving area, then gave them to customers who asked for tomatoes (but not for free). It was in response to the tomato-throwing at the Mall of America earlier in the week. "Our concern was that somebody might want to be a copycat, so we removed that opportunity," Campbell said. "Our intention was to be a good host and make sure we didn't have any similar kinds of events." He added that he doesn't think it's news. "It's ridiculous that it's being reported."

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