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

    • Devastated Parents Speak Out After 1 Piece of Holiday Cake Killed Their Son

      When 11-year-old Oakley Debbs ate a piece of cake over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, his family had no idea that it had the potential to kill him. Oakley had a peanut allergy and when he realized his mistake, his family was alarmed but gave him Benadryl, which seemed to do the trick. His mom, Merrill, explained to WMTW that the allergy medicine had always worked in the past after an accidental consumption of nuts. She also shared that he felt "great" for the rest of the evening after taking the medicine. However, his condition took a drastic turn later that night and he went from playing with cousins and his twin sister to vomiting. Within minutes the child could no longer breathe. "He was

      PopSugar q
    • Sherri Papini’s Husband Breaks Down in Tears Describing How She Survived Weeks in Captivity

      Sherri Papini “literally lived through hell” during her 20-plus days in captivity — being branded and beaten and losing about 15 percent of her body weight — her husband, Keith Papini, told ABC News in an interview that aired Monday. Sherri appears to have coped by imagining she was with Keith and their children Tyler, 4, and Violet, 2. “The things she told me,” Keith told ABC’s Matt Gutman, in an on-camera interview on Good Morning America, before breaking down in tears.

      People
    • Anna Kendrick Makes A Striking Point While Discussing Last Tango Rape Scene

      Over the weekend, an old video surfaced of Italian director Bernardo Bertolucci admitting that the infamous rape scene in Last Tango In Paris was planned without the consent of actress Maria Schneider. Anna Kendrick responded to Evans, pointing out that actress Maria Schneider had said the scene was done without her consent, but her allegations were largely ignored. Kendrick said in a tweet, "Ms Schneider stated this several years ago.

      Refinery 29 UK
    • Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos’ son is 19 now and the internet is freaking out over how attractive he is

      Beautiful people often have beautiful kids, and this is no exception. Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos’ oldest son is 19 and super…

      Hello Giggles
    • Pregnant dancer shot dead after refusing to dance with drunk men

      This is the horrifying moment a pregnant dancer was shot dead on stage – by drunk men who were angry that they could not dance with her, it was reported. Kulwinder Kaur died after she was gunned down at a wedding in Bathinda in the Punjab state in Northern India. Four people have since been arrested for the murder of the 25-year-old and remain in custody after shocking footage of the shotgun attack was posted online and went viral. Among those arrested include Lucky Goyal, the leader of the Sikh political party Shiromani Akali Dal, and his friend Sanjay Goyal. Two others have not yet been named. The young woman’s husband, named as Rajinder Singh, claimed she was three months pregnant when she

      New York Post q
    • Al Sharpton announces pre-inauguration march

      Rev. Al Sharpton, of the National Action Network, announces Monday that a coalition of groups will lead a march and rally at at the Dr. Martin Luther King Memorial in Washington a week before President-elect Donald Trump's inauguration. (Dec. 5)

      USA Today q
    • Republican success opens door to amending US Constitution

      The November election put Republicans in full control of a record number of state legislatures around the country, a level of power that gives the party an unprecedented opportunity: change the U.S. Constitution. ...

      Associated Press
    • Mom Gets Inspired by Her Baby Girl to Lose 130 Lbs.: ‘I Wanted Her to Look up to Me’

      Kassidy Linde had reached 260 lbs. when she completely lost her self-confidence. “It got to the point that whenever I would look in the mirror, I wasn’t able to find anything beautiful about myself,” Linde, 25, tells PEOPLE.

      People
    • HGTV Responds to 'Fixer Upper' Pastor Controversy

      “We don’t discriminate against members of the LGBT community in any of our shows.”

      Cosmopolitan
    • Lawyer: Trump Tweet Shocked, Silenced Ohio State Attacker's Family

      COLUMBUS, OHIO —  The lawyer representing the family of Abdul Razak Ali Artan, the man who wounded 11 people at Ohio State University last week, has said U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s Twitter response to the attack shocked the family and kept them silent and mystified. In the tweet early Wednesday morning, Trump said, “ISIS is taking credit for the terrible stabbing attack at Ohio State University by a Somali refugee who should not have been in our country.” In an exclusive interview with VOA, the family attorney, Robert Fitrakis, said the family is still in a “tremendous shock.” “They [the family] are very afraid, and they expected to be attacked when they go to school or in the community.

      VOA News q
    • Trump on 'collision course' with China after insulting Beijing twice in 72 hours

      U.S-China relations may take a turn for the worse after President-elect Donald Trump publicly insulted Beijing twice in a span of 72 hours.

      CNBC
    • Jill Stein Emboldened By Michigan Recount

      Green Party candidate Jill Stein says 75,000 blank votes in Michigan are at the center on the recount effort she is trying to expand to three states. (Dec. 5)

      Associated Press Videos
    • Jennifer Aniston declines Brad Pitt's dinner invite as it 'would be an insult to Justin Theroux'

      Brad Pitt reportedly invited his former wife Jennifer Aniston for dinner when they both were in London recently. The Horrible Bosses actress is said to have declined the offer as she thought meeting Pitt "would be an insult" to her husband Justin Theroux. Pitt and Aniston split in January 2005 after five years of marriage.

      International Business Times UK q
    • Jennifer Lawrence is winning the red carpet game yet again (7 photos)

      Jennifer Lawrence is no stranger to the world of fashion. As one of the faces of Dior, her wardrobe is filled with Parisian goods. The actresses latest outings for sci-fi film Passengers have seen her wearing a variety of labels (and styles) with knitwear, suits and gorgeous gowns all making an appearance. Here’s the lowdown on J Law’s European tour style. Jennifer Lawrence just wore the perfect winter outfit Bleach babes: How platinum became 2016’s coolest hair colour

      Yahoo Style UK
    • BMW remotely locks car thief in stolen vehicle until cops arrive

      Modern luxury cars are packed with all sorts of advanced security features, but not even a company like BMW can protect against someone leaving their keys inside their brand new sedan. But one would-be car thief found that even such colossal absentmindedness doesn't mean a sure-fire score. Seattle police released a report detailing the recent car theft. Apparently a BMW 550i owner borrowed the vehicle to a friend, who proceeded to leave the car unlocked in a parking garage with a set of keys right inside. A group of miscreants were browsing for possible scores when they stumbled upon the gift-wrapped BMW and one of the men decided to make it his own. DON'T MISS:  Amazon just announced Amazon Go, a grocery store with no checkout Once the friend — who was undoubtedly sweating bullets after realizing that they handed their friend's pricey ride over to some thieves — contacted police, things started to get interesting. The cops proceeded to call BMW, which was able to track the vehicle and pinpoint its location, which they relayed to the officers. Seattle police were also lucky that the stolen BMW also had remote door locks that could be activated from afar, which the company was happy to put to work. A short while later, the police found the BMW still running with the thief sleeping inside. The man then attempted to make an escape, but failed, and was quickly brought into custody by the officers. He was discovered to have a bit of meth on him as well, which, along with a heavy auto theft charge, will likely keep him busy for the foreseeable future.

      BGR News
    • Sherri Papini Shows Some Signs Of Psychological Trauma

      An investigation into the California mother's mysterious disappearance continues days after she was found "heavily battered."

      International Business Times
    • Ric Flair talks about the fight that could 'knock you off your chair' at WrestleMania 33

      Rumour mills are in over drive as to who Triple H might fight against at WrestleMania 33, which is scheduled to take place at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida on 2 April 2017. Speculations are Triple H could square off with Seth Rollins, Bill Goldberg, or even work with UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor in a segment at the pay-per-view (PPV) event. Although the above scenarios promising something spectacular, Ric Flair, who recently signed a new deal with the WWE, has opened up about a fight that could "knock you off your chair" at WrestleMania 33.

      International Business Times UK q
    • Oakland warehouse operator sparks outrage for mourning loss of venue — not victims

      The operator of the converted warehouse in Oakland, Calif., where a fire broke out during a dance party on Friday night, killing at least 33 people, has been widely criticized over his initial response to the tragedy. “Everything I worked so hard for is gone,” Derick Ion Almena wrote in a Facebook post early Saturday morning. Almena’s post was met with immediate backlash from Facebook users for omitting any mention of the victims.

      Yahoo News
    • The 91 Most Delish Comfort Foods (181 photos)

      When your day sucked, these comforting eats got your back. From Delish

      Delish