When I was growing up on the farm, market price to me always meant the price per pound we would receive for our hogs when we sold them at the market. That market price always meant a great deal because most of the family income came from the hogs during that period of time. My dad, the Farmer, spent a lot of time shaking his head when he heard Orion Samuelson announce the market price for hogs. Headshaking meant the market price was too low.
Recently, I did some headshaking regarding the meaning of “market price”. In June, my wife and I took a wonderful vacation to the Northeast area of the United States, experiencing Maine (Acadia National Park and Baxter State Park), New Hampshire (the White Mountains), Vermont (Green Mountain National Forest), and New York (the Adirondacks). Most of my whining (and headshaking) during the trip occurred as we approached gas stations. There’s some market price for you.
What does one do while in Maine? Hike a lot, admire amazing scenery, and eat fresh lobster, of course. Lobster in Maine, like everywhere else, is always advertised as “market price”. Being closer to the source and knowing summer season creates the biggest supply, I figured lobster would be a great deal in Maine. Day one and day two, I ordered lobster for dinner and my first ever lobster omelet for breakfast. Both meals were pricey but within my tolerable limit.
On day three, we were exploring the quieter, more secluded area of Mount Desert Island of Acadia National Park and realized we had not yet tried our first ever lobster roll. Our time on the Maine coast was disappearing.
We drove past a 1950’s style sandwich shop with a walk-up order window and picnic tables surrounding the place. Its quaint aura shouted to me “best lobster roll ever.” I glanced at my wife who nodded. I did a quick, illegal U-turn.
We decided to order one lobster roll to share. We would supplement our meal with the chips and drinks that we had in the car. Value shoppers!
We walked up to the service counter under the awning and stared at the menu board. Six-inch or 12-inch lobster rolls: “market price.” I have ordered Subway sandwiches…I know that a 12-inch sandwich always trumps a six-inch sandwich (especially when you’re sharing).
I confidently ordered a 12-inch lobster roll. The teenager at the counter asked, “With butter?” I had no idea but knowing that everything tastes better with butter, I responded confidently, “Absolutely.”
The teenager at the counter punched a computer screen and said “$75.70”. “Pardon me,” I said, (my hearing is poor) as I started the process of rifling through my wallet for cash. A bunch of questions flooded my mind:
- Was I really going to spend all my cash for the vacation on a sandwich?
- How many lobsters are in a lobster roll?
- Why didn’t I asked the price before being so confident in my order?
- Can I get out of this order?
Later, after my heart stopped palpitating, I figured that sandwich was $6.30 per inch. I did some serious headshaking.
We took our gold-plated lobster roll sandwich down the road to the seawall area of the peninsula to watch the Atlantic Ocean roll in and investigate the sandwich. I was hoping we would not get robbed in transit. As we opened the sandwich, I expected a deep resonant voice to say, “Behold” with strobe lights and sound effects. It looked like a regular hoagie bun with orange meat sticking out. I’m not too proud to tell you that following consumption, I licked the sandwich wrapper.
Yes, the sandwich was tasty.
Today, as I research lobster roll sandwich market pricing in the Northeast, it looks like I probably paid at least double market price. Perhaps next vacation, I won’t wear the hat with the blinking red light that reads, “Sucker Tourist.” I’m sure that teenage worker owns a lobster boat by now.
With inflation continuing to ramp up to ridiculous levels, pricing and availability of food/ingredients continues to become more unpredictable in restaurants and grocery stores. I can’t help but wonder if more restaurants may start moving to those words “market price.” The waiter hands you the menu and you scan it…
Cobb salad – market price
Hamburger – market price
Turkey club – market price
Soup of the day – market price
Ribeye steak – market price
Pork chop – market price
Catch of the day – market price
Flourless cake – market price
Water – market price
Napkin – market price
Silverware – market price
Tip – double market price
My advice…cater to gullible tourists.