Chinese consumers could be forgiven for thinking they were doing their bit for society by buying a kilogram or two of apples from an online vendor after seeing one of their promotional images depicting an elderly farmer superimposed against a huge pile of the fruit slowly rotting away in the heat. The problem is, the same close-up of the man’s weather-beaten face has been used by internet vendors across the country to promote all manner of fruit, from lemons to pineapples. The messages that accompany the ubiquitous image seldom stray far from the emotive plea: “I’m a poor farmer with an oversupply of fruit. Please buy some.” Chinese man mistakenly pays over US$23,000 for a single steamed bun So commonplace is the man’s face that he has even been dubbed “Overstock Grandpa” by some people online. Others have taken the matter more seriously and complained to the authorities, resulting in at least one local government taking action. According to a report by Beijing Youth Daily , the government of Linyi county, in northern China’s Shanxi province, recently issued a statement that despite the best efforts of online vendors to convince people otherwise, there was no glut of apples in the region. In a statement, the authorities said the photograph of the elderly man had been around for several years and was clearly being used to play on people’s emotions. Chinese man recovers US$300,000 cash left in bar for ex-girlfriend after she says it’s not enough It did not identify the man or even confirm he was a farmer, but said it was investigating claims that fruit vendors had contravened advertising regulations, especially those that included reproductions of county or village government seals in their images to make them appear more credible, the report said. The government said that such had been the impact of the advertisements that they had affected the price of apples in Linyi.