What do lobster rolls tell us about the labor market?

On a hot August day, the lobster roll place across from the Axios office beckons temptingly.

State of play: Reader, I caved. Doing so cost me $43.74, for a six-ounce sandwich, after tax and tip.

Why does it matter? Lobster prices are down this year, but lobster roll prices? Not so much. Instead, they increasingly seem to be generated by a random number machine.

By the numbers: The benchmark lobster roll from The Clam Shack in Kennebunkport, Maine, is $29.95 this season.

  • At Nick’s Lobster House in Brooklyn, the classic lobster roll is $22.
  • In the Hamptons, prices range from $29 to $45.
  • Manhatta, 60 stories above Lower Manhattan, sells a lobster roll with tarragon beurre blanc for $26.
  • At the Grand Central Oyster Bar, the lobster roll is $38.95, with slaw and fries included.
  • At Claws in West Sayville, New York, the standard roll is $29.95, but there are also options for a “double roll” for $57.95 or even a “triple roll” — “just obnoxious,” per the menu — at $85.95.

The bottom line: When it comes to lobster rolls, there is no correlation between price and quality. But one thing is constant. Extracting lobster meat from lobsters has never been easy.

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