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

    • Mom asks parents to beware of 'human traffickers' after chilling incident at IKEA goes viral

      Mom-of-three, Diandra Toyos, was shopping for couches in IKEA when she noticed something wasn’t right. As she guided her children aged four, one and seven weeks, through the maze-like furniture store, she claims noticing two men watching her family intently.

      Yahoo Canada Style
    • Mom Warns Other Parents After a Terrifying Experience With Strangers at Ikea

      When Diandra Toyos was shopping at Ikea with her mom and three kids, she had a strange feeling that something was seriously wrong. Call it a mother's intuition or just being an observant parent, but strangers in the couch department were giving this mom a bad vibe. What happened next will send chills down any parent's spine and Diandra is sharing her story to warn everyone about what could happen if families aren't careful. "I noticed a well dressed, middle aged man circling the area, getting closer to me and the kids," she wrote on Facebook. "At one point he came right up to me and the boys, and instinctively I put myself between he and my mobile son. I had a bad feeling." Diandra explained

      PopSugar q
    • Missing man found dead in belly of 7m-long PYTHON in Indonesia

      Villagers in Indonesia were left horrified when they discovered the body of a missing man inside the belly of a giant snake. A six-minute video on the website of the Tribun Timur publication shows villagers slicing open the 7m-long python’s carcass to reveal the legs and torso of the 25-year-old victim, named Akbar Salubiro. Junaedi, the secretary of Salubiro village in West Sulawesi province, said that villagers began searching for Akbar on Monday night after realising he had not returned from his palm oil crops.

      Yahoo News UK
    • ASU Student Receiving Death Threats for FB Post

      "I think my duty as an empowered immigrant and an empowered woman is to use that empowerment to speak for those who are still too scared."

      Cosmopolitan
    • Girl Savagely Edits Her Former Friend Out of Picture See the Hilarious Results

      Girl Hilariously Photoshops Friend Out of Picture

      People
    • 'Good Morning America' anchors reportedly 'sick' of Michael Strahan getting special treatment

      Michael Strahan’s role at “Good Morning America” is still ruffling feathers at the morning show. Sources claim fellow anchors on the show are sick of ABC bosses giving him preferential treatment. “They roll out the carpet for [Strahan] while seasoned talent is treated like dirt. He’s been given a lot of opportunity, flexibility, when the others who have been working there longer don’t get that kind of treatment,” a source said. Strahan signed a special deal that allows him to continue to analyze football at “Fox NFL Sunday” and host ABC’s “$100,000 Pyramid.” But he was forced to drop most of his lucrative endorsement deals when he joined the morning show. Meanwhile, pop anchor Lara Spencer, “feels

      Fox News q
    • Body of missing Indonesian man found inside giant python

      An Indonesian man, who had not been seen since the weekend, was found inside a 23ft (7m)-long python. Villagers on the island of West Sulawesi had the horrific task of cutting open the giant snake's stomach to retrieve the body.

      International Business Times
    • Spicer, Reporter Ryan Share Lighthearted Moment

      A day after he was criticized for taking a combative tone with reporter April Ryan, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer shared a lighthearted moment with Ryan in Wednesday's briefing - before getting testy again about Rep. Devin Nunes. (March 29)

      Associated Press Videos
    • Indonesian man's body reportedly found inside python

      The body of a man who went missing over the weekend was discovered inside the belly of a giant python, French news agency AFP reports, citing local officials. The family of 25-year-old Akbar became worried when he did not return home from a trip to harvest palm oil, according to the BBC. Locals in the village of Salubiro on the eastern island of Sulawesi on Monday cut open a 23-foot snake they found bloated and moving awkwardly, AFP said. “We were immediately suspicious that the snake had swallowed Akbar because around the site we found palm fruit, his harvesting tool and a boot,” a senior village official identified as Junaidi told AFP. Junaidi said that the snake swallowed Akbar whole, and

      CBS News q
    • Mom Shares Terrifying Story About Alleged Encounter With Human Traffickers at IKEA

      "This is happening all over, including the United States. It's in our backyards."

      Good Housekeeping
    • How a Body Positive Blogger Stopped Trolls in Their Tracks With 1 Bikini Pic

      Body positivity blogger Ana Carolina Rojas has nothing to hide, not even the hate she receives from trolls. Rojas was minding her own business, enjoying a beautiful, warm day of sunbathing and sharing it with her followers when a troll attacked.

      Yahoo Style
    • Thirsty King Cobra Sips From Water Bottle Amid Debilitating Droughts

      Here’s something you don’t see every day. Video captured a massive king cobra appearing to drink out of a man’s water bottle amid extreme droughts across southern India. The extremely venomous reptile ― described by Caters News as 12-feet long ― is seen turning to the higher ups, who cautiously pour the water while holding its tail and a hook near its head, presumably in case it turns on them. The people in the video are wildlife rescue workers, according to Caters.  The video was reportedly shot from a village in Kaiga township. A similar video uploaded to YouTube in 2014 shows a man sharing a drink with another cobra but in an unknown location. (Talk about friends in low places.) According

      The Huffington Post q
    • STYLE: Trend to Try: Modern Trench Coats (12 photos)

      Best Trench Coats for Spring, Cutest New Coat Trends

      People
    • Texans are saying ‘F U’ to the tight end position

      The NFL is in an unprecedented era of innovation. Changes in the college game are trickling up into the NFL. It’s something Houston Texans coach Bill O’Brien has noticed and it’s changing the way he thinks about tight ends.

      SB Nation q
    • Love, Marriage – and Babies! How the Property Brothers Finally Settled Down – and Why They Still Live Together

      The Property Brothers Jonathan Scott and Drew Scott stay connected. As the stars of HGTV’s most popular series, Property Brothers, Drew and Jonathan Scott, 38, have spinoff shows, a bestselling book (their second, It Takes Two: Our Story, comes out Sept. 5), their own production company and a collection of furniture and decor. “This is the most humbling, unexpected, fantastic place to be in my life,” Jonathan tells PEOPLE of his relationship with girlfriend, Jacinta Kuznetsov, 28, a development producer at Scott Entertainment.

      People
    • Every Time You Pee, Do These 3 Things to Help You Lose Weight

      Quick fixes usually don't cut it when it comes to losing weight and getting toned, but this one-minute trick actually works! Take into consideration this little fact: the average woman pees six to eight times in a 24-hour period, so that's about five to seven times while you're awake. And if you have issues with your bladder (thank you, pregnancy!) or you drink a ton of water each day, your ladies' room visits are more like 10 times a day.

      Pop Sugar UK Fitness
    • [UPDATED] Can You Spot Why These "Pitch Perfect 3" Cast Photos Are Getting Backlash For Alleged Fat Shaming?

      Some members seem to be getting different treatment because of their weight.

      Seventeen
    • Wal-Mart Has a Unique Way to Cut Down on Shoplifting -- The Motley Fool

      The company has a program that avoids calling the police.

      The Motley Fool q
    • The Latest: Christie aide says she won't be 'the scapegoat'

      NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — The Latest on the sentencing in the George Washington Bridge lane closures (all times local):

      Associated Press