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

    • Willie Robertson of ‘Duck Dynasty’ Walks Daughter Rebecca Down the Aisle in Mexico Wedding

      Rebecca Robertson tied the knot with John Reed Loflin in Mexico on Saturday. The beautiful bride was walked down the aisle by her father Willie, Duck Commander CEO and star of the A&E reality series. Rebecca’s sister and former Dancing with the Stars contestant Sadie Robertson was one of the many wedding attendees to share their memories of the big day on Instagram using the hashtag #LoflinWeddedWife. “WOW WOW WOW what a wedding,” Sadie captioned a photo with the bride and family members Bella and Mary-Kate. “Every single moment was just absolutely priceless.

      People
    • Video Appears To Shows Man Punching Kangaroo After Finding It Strangling Dog

      It may be one of the most bizarre battles fought in the animal kingdom.  A video uploaded to Facebook on Saturday appears to show a man punching a kangaroo in its face after coming across the marsupial attacking a dog.  The video, which has been viewed more than 3.6 million times as of Sunday afternoon, shows the man running up to the canine-kangaroo skirmish. “Well, we’re not sure what’s going on here but the roo has the dog, not the other way around,” a man narrating the video says. Upon seeing the man, the kangaroo pauses. The distraction allows the wriggling dog to break free, sparking a near eye-to-eye boxing match between the man and the kangaroo.  The man throws a punch at the kangaroo

      The Huffington Post q
    • Madonna Raised $7.5 Million for Charity, Yet Everyone Needs to Talk About Her Butt Implants

      From late Friday night until early Saturday morning, pop star and icon Madonna hosted a charity event in Miami. It was a night of glamour and trademark Madonna hijinks — which included everything from kissing a younger pop star (Ariana Grande) to politics (telling Trump what she thinks of him) to nostalgia (confessing she still loves Sean Penn and would marry him again). The goal of the event, you may be surprised to hear, was to auction off items from Madonna’s extensive collection of art, fashion, and memorabilia, as well as special gifts and opportunities donated by other celebrities.

      Yahoo Beauty
    • Peta Murgatroyd And Maksim Chmerkovskiy Kicked Out Of Birthing Class

      Maksim Chmerkovskiy said he’s traumatized after he and Peta Murgatroyd were kicked out of their first birthing class.

      International Business Times
    • NYPD: Men yelled 'Donald Trump', tried to pull off victim's hijab on subway

      18-year-old Yasmine Seweid is recounting the ugly attack that happened on Thursday night. It was around 10 p.m. when the college student jumped on the 6 train to head home to New Hyde Park, when she noticed three young men in the car.

      WABC – NY
    • Dorothy Kilgallen’s tell-all on a Mafia don might have got her killed

      On the night before her shocking death, Dorothy Kilgallen, a star panelist on the hit TV game show “What’s My Line?” correctly guessed the occupation of a mystery guest: a woman who sold ­dynamite. The glamorous, razor-sharp Kilgallen delighted viewers, but behind the scenes, the dogged and courageous reporter was hot on the trail of the biggest story of her life: the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. After an autopsy, the city’s chief medical examiner, James Luke, put on Kilgallen’s death certificate: “Acute Ethanol and Barbiturate Intoxication, Circumstances Undetermined.” Luke ruled her death accidental, caused by a combination of sleeping pills and booze. Quickly closing the case, the city left a tarnished image of Kilgallen as a possible drug abuser and alcoholic.

      New York Post q
    • Kim Jong Un’s Wife Makes First Public Appearance In Months

      Ri Sol Ju was last seen in public on March 28 this year and her absence had sparked rumors of pregnancy while some said she may have had a serious falling out with the North Korean leader.

      International Business Times
    • After a Minute, You'll Realize the Best Part of Hailey Baldwin's Outfit Isn't Her Clothes

      Seeing a celebrity wear something sheer is no longer shocking. In fact, it's quite the opposite, considering how often it happens. So when Hailey Baldwin stepped out in not one but two see-through looks during her trip to Australia, we thought, "cute" — and immediately zoomed in on the best part: the accessories. The model used little extras to boost both her airport ensemble and one she wore on a boat, letting her socks show and later, layering necklaces. But the tiny addition that truly had us ready to shop? Hailey's multi-colored, mirrored sunglasses. These shades aren't new to our shopping list, but seeing them shine — green from one angle, pink from the next — against Hailey's neutral outfits

      PopSugar q
    • Three Drunks on Train Harass Woman in Hijab, Commuters Do Nothing

      New York City police are seeking more information about men who harassed a young woman in a hijab on the subway this week. Yasmin Seweid, an 18-year-old business student, was verbally harassed by the men as she waited for a train on the platform, according to the New York Daily News. The three men were reportedly yelling “Trump” and called Seweid a terrorist as they followed her onto a 6 train in New York City’s east side.

      Yahoo Style
    • Pregnant Tori Spelling Steps Out with Her Family for Early Christmas Celebrations

      It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas for the Spelling-McDermott brood! The family of six attended the 6th Annual Santa’s Secret Workshop in West Hollywood benefiting L.A. Family Housing, an organization that aides the homeless.

      People
    • Surprise find: Florida python ate 3 deer

      (NEWSER) – Wildlife officials in Florida have known for a while that Burmese pythons have been eating their way through the Everglades, but the study of one particular snake has surprised them with the extent of that appetite: The 15-foot female had eaten three white-tailed deer in the 90 days before her capture, reports Live Science. Researchers found the remains of an adult doe and two fawns in the snake's intestines, they report in Bioinvasions Record. (They titled the report "Supersize Me.") That's a relatively short time for a snake to put down three big meals, notes study co-author Scott Boback. "If a python is capable of eating three deer in three months," he marvels, then it clearly raises

      USA Today q
    • Kylie Jenner Flaunts Her Famous Curves in Cutout Bikini on Miami Vacay

      Welcome to Miami. Kylie Jenner is currently living it up in the Magic City with her rapper boyfriend Tyga, and you better believe that she has the bikini photos to prove it. The Keeping Up with the Kardashians star shared a pair of snaps on her Instagram account today which feature her rocking a black two-piece swimsuit that has a sexy cutout top and shows off all of her bodacious curves. In the images, the 19-year-old wears her long brunette strands in loose waves as she lounges on a white l

      InStyle
    • Trevor Noah didn't "destroy" Tomi Lahren on The Daily Show. What he did was much better.

      Noah took his own tactical advice on how to negotiate with Trump to interview Lahren — and it worked. The episode of the week for November 27 through December 3, 2016, is the November 29 episode of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. Daily Show host Trevor Noah, like many of his fellow late night hosts, has seemed unsure of how to treat the ongoing fallout from Donald Trump’s election victory.

      Vox.com q
    • Fidel Castro laid to rest (33 photos)

      Beyond those few clues, the details of Fidel Castro’s final resting place were one of the most tightly kept secrets in Cuba. That ended on Sunday morning, when the revolutionary leader’s ashes were interred in a private ceremony and shortly afterward the world got a glimpse of a tomb that will immediately become one of the most important sites on the island. Once the ceremony ended shortly before 9 a.m., journalists and Cuban mourners were allowed into the cemetery to see the tomb, a simple round stone about 15 feet high with an emerald-colored plaque bearing Castro’s name. The tomb stood to the side of a memorial to the rebel soldiers killed in an attack that Castro led on Santiago’s Moncada barracks on July 26, 1953, and in front of the mausoleum of Cuban national hero Jose Marti. A dozen uniformed soldiers stood in front of the stone. Cuban officials have said nothing about future access to Castro’s tomb, but its apparent location alongside Marti’s, a grand site heavily visited by tourists and Cubans alike, indicates that there will be continuing of public access to the grave of the man who led Cuba for nearly 50 years and died on Nov. 25 at 90. (AP) See more news-related photo galleries and follow us on Yahoo News Photo Tumblr.

      Yahoo News Photo Staff
    • Vince McMahon received death threats from 'notorious gangster' after he took over WWE

      Stephanie McMahon has said that her father Vince McMahon received death threats from a "notorious gangster" after he took over WWE from her grandfather Vincent J McMahon in 1982. The WWE chief brand officer in an interview revealed the reason behind her father being made a targeted. In an interview for Fortune's Most Powerful Women Next Gen Summit, the 40-year-old said people were not impressed with Vince's expansion plans and that was the reason he received death threats.

      International Business Times UK q
    • North Korea: Kim Jong-un's wife reappears in public after long mysterious absence

      The wife of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has reappeared in public after a nine-month-long absence. Ri Sol-ju emerged in public along with Kim during an air combat training competition conducted by the Korean People's Air Force and Defense (KPAF). Pyongyang's state-run mouthpiece Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported the event without many details about the presence of Ri.

      International Business Times UK q
    • ‘Star Wars’ Controversy: Is George Lucas Out of Line?

      George Lucas is clearly not a fan of 'The Force Awakens'. But are his criticisms valid?

      The Cheat Sheet q 27 min ago
    • Here's how much an IUD costs with Obamacare — and without

      The incoming presidential administration has women concerned about access to contraception. In...

      Business Insider
    • Madonna Offers to Remarry Sean Penn for $150,000: ‘I’m Still in Love with You’

      The 58-year-old singer hosted a charity gala on Friday night at Art Basel in Miami, where she raised more than $7.5 million for the African nation of Malawi, the Associated Press reported. Wearing a short, black, gold, and silver-patterned long-sleeve dress, Madonna auctioned off rare photographs, tour memorabilia, and pieces from her own art collection, the AP reported — for a star-studded audience that included Penn, Leonardo DiCaprio, Chris Rock, Dave Chappelle, Bethenny Frankel James Corden, Courtney Love, David Blane and ex-boyfriend A-Rod. Much of the event was shared on social media, including a moment where Madonna offered to re-marry Penn if he bid $150,000.

      People
    • Pre-K Teacher Shot Dead in Her California Home

      A Northern California pre-k teacher was killed in front of her husband and two children when their home was riddled with bullets Thursday night.

      Tribune