Your lobster roll is a rip-off

Business Insider

View photo

.
Lobster roll

Photo by Edward Westmacott via Shutterstock



Thanks to the warmer waters of climate change, a boom in lobster sex, and a glut of lobster, you can, if you live in Maine, fetch lobster for about $2.20 a pound. 

That means that the delicious lobster roll you're ordering on Seamless right now costs you around seven to 12 times the amount that lobster meat is actually going for.

So let's dig in to the lobster economy as if were a meaty claw full of succulent...wait, where were we?

Lobster Meat Is Cheap

The amount of actual lobster meat a lobster roll contains is about 3.5 ounces, according to an expert whom New York magazine consulted—that's about the amount meat you'd scoop and dig out of one one-pound lobster. The lobster "off the boat is selling for as low as $2.20 a pound," reports The New Yorker's James Surowiecki. So, do the math: $2.20 should easily cover all the meat in a lobster roll. 

To put that into perspective, grass-fed beef from Fresh Direct goes for about $9 a pound, organic chicken is about $2.99 per pound, and boneless pork chops are around $4.99 per pound. Lobster meat fresh off the boat is cheaper than all of those — yet sells on Fresh Direct for $9.99 a pound, to give you an idea on the markup. 

Lobster Rolls Are Expensive

Lobster rolls are delicious. I would throw my coworkers down several flights of stairs for one right now. But they're also expensive. Keep in mind, your average lobster roll price may vary. That having been said, we looked at some of the best-reviewed lobster roll "shacks" in the city. The lowest mark up comes in around 7 times the amount you'd pay off the boat (it'd be like paying $123,522 for a standard $18,000 Honda Civic). So here's the number of lobsters you could buy fresh off the boat, somewhere on the coast of Maine or the Cape Cod shore, compared to the amount that you're paying for that delicious Manhattan lobster roll: 


Luke's Lobster $15.  




Mary's Fish Camp $30. 



Mermaid Inn $28. 



Red Hook Lobster Pound $16.



Ed's Lobster Bar $27. 



BLT Fish Shack $26. 



I'm not even going to debate which one is the best—an argument that has the potential to cause violence. True, in good part, what you're paying for in these markups is the preparation, the surgical removal of lobster meat from lobster shell, a smidgen of mayo (or butter), a hot dog bun, and ambiance (if you eat in). Slate's Matt Yglesias points out, you're paying for transportation costs too. What it boils down to is you're overpaying, but the thing is...

Nothing Can Be Done 

This was first explored, famously, by David Foster Wallace in his famous essay "Consider the Lobster," where he looked how lobster became a luxury food. And, as Surowiecki explains, low prices create suspicion, making potential customers think cheaper lobster is inferior (rather than being reflective of the actual market price). Moreover, high lobster prices also make selling medium-priced fish easier—a lower price would make those medium-priced entrees seem more expensive. "Setting lobster prices is not, in other words, a matter of just adding a markup to costs. It’s a surprisingly complex attempt to both respond to and shape what customers want," Surowiecki writes. 

The Cheap Lobster Might Not Last, Anyway

The reason we have such cheap lobster is that waters are warmer. Warmer waters make more lobsters randy, drives them to molt and grow rapidly, and thus creates bigger harvests. But getting too warm can make them sick. "While warmer waters off the coast of Maine in recent years have probably aided the boom in lobster numbers, putting us right in the temperature sweet spot for this species, we’re getting closer and closer to that point where the temperature is just too stressful for them, their immune system is compromised and it’s all over," Bob Steneck, Professor of Marine Sciences told Think Progress.  Experts say one freak year is all that it would take for the lobster orgy to end and ruin the lives of the good people who make your lobster roll happen. Then the lobster roll would become even more expensive, and you may just have to resort to clam strips.

Sorry you didn't like this comment. Please provide a reason below.

Are you sure?
Rating failed. Try again.
Request failed. Try again.
We will promote constructive and witty comments to the top, so everyone sees them!
Sorry, we can’t load comments right now. Try again.

    Recommended for You

    • 'Put up the picture again': Chris Wallace uses photos to confront Trump chief of staff over false crowd-size claims

      Fox News anchor Chris Wallace confronted White House chief of staff Reince Priebus on Sunday over...

      Business Insider
    • 40-year-old Florida woman accused of sex with teens at her child’s party

      A Florida woman accused of having sex with teenagers is facing additional charges in connection with the same incident. A total of five victims have now been identified, according to the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office. Three of them are 16-year-old boys. Jaimie Ayer, 40, was charged with an additional four counts of unlawful sexual activity. The sheriff’s office announced Thursday she was originally charged with three counts of unlawful sexual activity of certain minors. At that time, officials determined there were two victims, 16- and 17-year-old males. All seven counts stem from an incident on Dec. 23 in which the Bradenton woman allegedly was giving alcohol and having sex with minors at

      Miami Herald q
    • Did Karen Pence and Her Blue Dress Steal the Show at the Inauguration Ball?

      All eyes were on the presidential procession during President Trump’s inauguration, and that includes getting a first look at some of the fashion choices of the new first family. However, it was Vice President Mike Pence’s wife, Karen, who according to some observers stole the show in a dazzling blue number at the evening inaugural ball.

      Yahoo Style
    • Carly Fiorina reacts to the Women's March on Washington

      Former presidential candidate suggests on 'Sunday Morning Futures' that demonstrators give the new president time

      Fox Business Videos
    • Stephen Hawking warned us about contacting aliens, but this astronomer says it's 'too late'

      In 2010, physicist Stephen Hawking voiced concern about the possibility that we might contact...

      Business Insider
    • More Amazing Photos You Missed From the Women's March in Washington, D.C. (70 photos)

      On Saturday, women, men, children, and even pets , from all walks of life, on all seven continents ( yes, including Antartica ) joined together in solidarity for the Women’s March. While the marches took place in cities worldwide, Washington, D.C. was the epicenter for the movement, where hundreds of thousands descended upon the city in attempts to stand up not only for women’s rights, but for human rights, and to send a message that climate change is real, and it is up to us to stop it. High estimates for D.C.’s march state up to 680,000 people rallied on the streets of the nation’s capital. The crowds were reportedly so large , that folks couldn’t use the original protest route, and instead they clustered in the streets, marching to the White House, dispersing through the capital, a sea of pink cat-eared hats and picket signs. No arrests were made . It signifies that, even though many say the country is divided, there is still clearly a lot of unity still in the land. Click through the slideshow above to see some of the sights from the demonstration. Related: Princess Leia and Wonder Woman Emerge as Icons in Women's Anti-Trump Marches Pink Pussy Hats Unite Millions at Women's Marches Around the World Follow us on Instagram , Facebook , and Pinterest for nonstop inspiration delivered fresh to your feed, every day.  

      Yahoo Style
    • Wynonna Judd Reacts to Ashley Judd's Women's March Speech

      Wynonna Judd usually uses social media to share news, bits of wisdom and faith, or to have discussions with her fans, but she found herself in a very different position on Saturday (Jan. 21). After her sister, Ashley Judd, took the stage at the Women’s March in Washington, D.C., to deliver an impassioned speech denouncing President Donald Trump, Wynonna turned to Twitter to explain her own position at length. Ashley Judd’s speech was one of the most talked-about moments of the day-long march, which according to multiple media reports drew more people to Washington to protest the election of President Trump than his inauguration drew the day before (Trump called those reports “dishonest” during

      Taste of Country q
    • Criminals can’t wait to be arrested by this sexy cop

      Talk about New York’s Finest. Samantha Sepulveda is a local police officer who doubles as a lingerie and swimsuit model — and her sexy poses have garnered more than 110,000 followers on her @sammysep Instagram page. Sepulveda, 32, is only 5-foot-2 but deceptively tough. She’s a fitness fanatic who wields her femininity more effectively than a firearm. “I talk men into handcuffs all the time because they don’t want to fight me,” she told The Post. She joined the force in 2010. About three years later, a friend who worked for a lingerie and swimsuit company invited her to model in a runway fashion show — and launched her new career. Sepulveda refused to name her police department to avoid any notoriety,

      New York Post q
    • Man Killed Trying to Stop Robbery at San Antonio Mall; 5 Others Injured

      A man was shot and killed in Texas while trying to stop a robbery at a mall jewelry store on Sunday afternoon. According to San Antonio police, two armed men robbed Kay Jewelers in San Antonio’s Rolling Oaks Mall. According to San Antonio Police Chief William McManus, a second man pulled out his licensed concealed weapon and shot one of the suspects.

      People
    • White House goes to war with the press over dubious claims about crowd sizes

      President Donald Trump's top officials stood defiant for a second day in the face of...

      Business Insider
    • 10 Facts About Charles Manson's Imprisonment That Will Disgust You

      Infamous convicted murderer Charles Manson has spent nearly five decades imprisoned since his death sentence in 1971 was commuted to life. Suffice it to say that his peculiar behavior behind bars is far from that of a model prisoner. The following 10 facts take a glimpse into the life of a caged madman as well as the bizarre fan base his lunacy attracts. 10 A Disturbing Fan Base Despite the fact that Manson undoubtedly has had a lot of “alone” time—over four decades locked away in protective custody in a California state prison—he receives plenty of fan mail to keep him occupied as well as continuous meet-and-greet requests. In fact, Manson has received more mail than any other prisoner in the

      Listverse q
    • WR Michael Floyd won't be playing in AFC title game after Patriots declare him inactive

      The New England Patriots raised some eyebrows in December when they claimed receiver Michael Floyd off waivers after Floyd was released by the Arizona Cardinals. Michael Floyd stretches during a Patriots practice this month.

      Shutdown Corner
    • The oldest TV technology is getting popular again with cordcutters

      We've all heard the term "cord cutting" more times than we can stand, but it often seems like, despite the fact that many cable and satellite customers talk about it, very few people are actually axing their pay-TV services in favor of something else. A new study suggests that while it might not seem like many people are actually going back to over-the-air TV, the movement is actually gaining some serious traction. According to the report, a full 15% of households with broadband connections have gone back to TV via antenna exclusively. "Pay-TV subscriptions have dropped each year since 2014, falling to 81% of U.S. broadband households in Q3 2016,” Brett Sappington, Senior Director of Research with Parks Associates, said of the data. “Several factors have played a part in this decline, including growth in the OTT video market, increasing costs for pay-TV services, and consumer awareness of available online alternatives." It's important to note that many of the cord cutters are likely not relying solely on their local broadcasters for content, but are instead embracing streaming services in place of their traditional cable or satellite options. Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, and even Twitch are starting to seriously make a case for themselves as primary video services, rather than supplementary add-ons alongside a monthly cable bill. Still, it's an impressive figure that seems to be growing rather steadily, and with  dissatisfaction in many cable providers at an all-time high, it's hard to imagine this trend doing anything but growing for the foreseeable future.

      BGR News
    • Seven mutilated bodies found in Mexican tourist port: official

      Seven headless, mutilated bodies have been found in a taxi abandoned near the seaside resort of Manzanillo in western Mexico, apparent victims of the country's epidemic of drug violence, local officials said Sunday. "They were mutilated, apparently decapitated, and one of the victims was a woman," the port city's police chief Carlos Heredia told AFP. The past six months have seen an increase in killings linked to disputes within the Jalisco cartel, police records show.

      AFP
    • Meghan Markle and Prince Harry wedding 'on the cards' says her gun-toting half-brother

      The tearaway half-brother of Meghan Markle has begged for forgiveness ahead of her potential royal marriage to Prince Harry, and says he would "love" to attend the wedding. Tom Markle Jr, 50, grew up with Meghan in California, but the two have since taken very different life paths. While Meghan, 35, enjoys considerable success as Rachel Zane in US legal drama Suits, Tom has found himself on the wrong side of the law.

      International Business Times UK q
    • 5 STDs You Could Have Without Even Knowing It

      A positive STD test result is better than having an STD and being totally unaware. Here are five STDs you could have without even knowing.

      The Cheat Sheet q
    • Carrie Fisher was all over the Women’s March, and Mark Hamill’s response has us in tears

      On Saturday, January 21st, millions of concerned citizens gathered in solidarity for the Women’s March on Washington … and New York, Los…

      Hello Giggles
    • Chen lands 5 quads to win US figure skating title with ease

      KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Nathan Chen stood on the top step of the podium and stifled a smile as U.S. Figure Skating president Samuel Auxier, preparing to drape a gold medal around his neck, bowed down before him.

      Associated Press
    • Kellyanne Conway Defends White House’s Falsehoods as ‘Alternative Facts’

      Appearing on NBC’s Meet the Press, Conway staunchly defended Spicer, and said his untrue statements were “alternative facts.” When asked by host Chuck Todd why Spicer used his first appearance in front of the press to proclaim falsehoods, Conway said Todd was being “overly dramatic” about the statement. “You’re saying it’s a falsehood, and they’re giving- Sean Spicer, our press secretary, gave alternative facts to that,” she said.

      People
    • Tom Brady's kids have a diet that is almost as strict as his

      Tom Brady is a professional football player who is still in peak shape at an age (39) when most...

      Business Insider