Monday, January 4, 2016


I'm in line at the meat & seafood counter at Local Grocery, waiting to buy something other than tomatoes. Ahead of me is a couple in their late-20's, who are fascinated with the live lobster tank next to the counter.

Counter Guy in his white apron wanders over.

Counter Guy: "Hi, can I help you?"

Mr. Clueless: "Um, we have some questions about the lobsters."

Counter Guy: "Sure. What's up?"

Mrs. Clueless: "How long do they live?"

Counter Guy: "Well, until you're ready to..."

Mr. Clueless: "What do you feed them?"

Counter Guy: "Uh, not sure. The night shift handles that."

Mrs. Clueless: "Can you keep them in a regular tank? We have Tetras already, is that okay?"

Counter Guy: "Um... Not sure. Most people don't keep them alive..."


Mr. & Mrs. Clueless are staring at Counter Guy like he's balancing a Buick on his winkie.

Mr. Clueless: "Why... would you keep a dead pet?"*

Counter Guy: "They're to eat... not for pets."


After 10 seconds or so of silence Mr. & Mrs. Clueless walk away.

Counter Guy: "Uh..."

Dr. Grumpy: "Yeah... I know... I'd like a 1/2 pound of roast beef and a large container of cole slaw."

*How many others out there imagined John Cleese asking that question?


Anonymous said...

Maybe lobsters really do pine for the fjords.

Anonymous said...

I didn't know you could balance anything, much less a Buick, on a winkie. This blog has always provided me with a valuable perspective.

I'm so taken with this balancing thing, it may be useful for me to imagine this when any of my male bosses are doing something annoying.

Fred Schneider said...

Somebody went under a dock
And there they saw a pet rock
It wasn't a pet rock

bobbie said...

I definitely saw/heard John Cleese...

Anonymous said...

I would have asked them if they had a license to keep one first before I answered any more questions.

Anonymous said...

The end products of the finest educational system in the world.

And they vote.

BobF said...

And they drive and vote. One should expect that at that relatively young age they have much to learn, but I'd think the fact that the tank was in a FOOD store, not a PET store might have been a clue.

Bruce H. said...

Is it permissible to hope that Clueless Couple were trolling?

Bruce said...

Lobsters are friends, not food.

Anonymous said...

BobF: Not only do they vote and drive, worse yet -- they reproduce!!

Anonymous said...

Well, ya gotta hand it to 'em. They made the day really worth it for 'Counter Guy' at his minimum wage job.

Anonymous said...

I look forward to Tank Guy's version over at Not Always Right.

charles said...

Well, as long as the lobsters aren't pining for the fjords.

Packer said...

In my continuing quest to figure our where the hell Grumpyville is (So as to avoid ever stepping foot in) I take the hints laid out in the blog to identify the place. I think now that it is Washington DC or Colorado as marijuana is legal in both places. There is no other explanation. Further south and the couple would have identified the animal as a crawdaddy. North along the Eastern Seaboard the Lobster is well known as they have a ton of Red Lobster Restaurants. West of the Mississippi they do not have counter guys. Yup it is certainly Washington DC

Anonymous said...

Regarding what those for-eating-not-pets lobsters are fed in holding tanks prior to their *ahem* 'adoption', they are not fed.

Not feeding them allows a sort of a cleansing to clean out their digest system of stuff you don't want to eat. That's how my parents ran their seafood market for close to two decades out on eastern Long Island.

I have occasionally dropped a 'snack' (dead baby fish that came in with clams/crabs/other fish, too small to sell squid I was cleaning, ect) in the lobster tank just to watch a lobster eat.

I would not want to eat lobster that are being fed in the holding tank in the retail store. They need that cleansing period to get rid of their digestive system of poop.

Anonymous said...

Ooooh God, they got out

sp77 said...

Lobsters don't need to be fasted! That's a totally crazy idea- anyone saying such a thing doesn't live in Maine, for sure.

Trust me- I'm a lifelong Mainer, have worked in a lobster pound, chopped pogies for bait, repaired traps, went out on boats with lobstermen...

You can eat them straight out of the trap. The ones that sit in a tank for weeks are gross. The innards that folks might object to are roe and tomalley, but plenty of folks love those parts, too. They'll live forever without being fed, as long as they're kept in saltwater or packed in seaweed. That's why they can be shipped all over the planet, but the quality suffers the longer they're out of the ocean. Places like Red Lobster have the worst lobster, ever. And it's usually not Maine lobster- same species, but from further south. Definitely not as good.

These days, I have an anaphylactic seafood allergy (which sucks), but I still know my lobster!

Shash said...

I think a couple of vegans did a nice job of pulling the counter help's leg.

That said, the longer a lobster is out of it's natural habitat, but still alive, the less tasty it becomes. From what I've read, it has something to do with stress.

Anonymous said...


I was talking about the lobsters that sit in tanks at the local stores, not at the pounds or fresh catch (mmm...). Should have been clearer, but thought most folks wouldn't have experience with the process of sea to table.

As for poo, I do really mean poo that's found in the digestive tract on the dorsal side of the tail, not the liver/pancreas that makes up the tomalley. My person aversion to the 'poo' is probably due years of cleaning shrimps at my parent's store. Lobsters sometimes had a bigger, juicier version of what I'd snake out of the shrimps.

None of my parents fellow business friends fed their lobsters in their tanks. Maybe a common practice on Long Island but not in Maine? Not such a crazy idea either when you think of the tank sizes and the amount of lobsters the smaller local store tanks have to hold. Like you said, already gross so why add food and add the potential for the water to be grosser?

Locations of visitors to this page