San Francisco: Against: The Whole Foods fish department, 4th St. location

I went early, eager to get to the produce and beat a retreat before the yuppies had strapped their offspring into their Audis and started their weekend errands. I didn’t beat anyone. Yuppies are early risers. I was going for oranges and tomatoes and lobster, oh my. Little did I know that even Whole Foods does not stock cooked lobster meat. Crab, yes. Shrimp, yes. But their pincered brethren are kept alive in a tank and you have to buy them as such. I am a Boston born and bred hypocrite as far as lobster is concerned: I’ll eat ’em but I won’t kill ’em.

Saturday was my day: the bearded young fellow behind the counter said that not only would they steam one for me, they’d crack it and pack up the meat as if the nasty murder had never happened. Excellent. We made an appointment that I’d be back for my magic in two hours and I trotted home to brag of my good fortune to R.

Skip to three and half hours later. I approach. The bearded guy goes into the back and returns to say that he, “Hadn’t gotten to it yet.” What could he have possibly been checking on? His crack team of lobster gnomes?

At this point, I should have cut my losses and left the shellfish slaughter for a less busy day but Beardy says if I can wait fifteen minutes, he’ll do it immediately. Fifteen minutes is no big deal, so I go get some sushi and read the paper. I return in twenty minutes. Nothing doing. I return twenty minutes after that. Still nothing doing. I would leave but I’ve already paid for the lobster, by the pound, pre-steaming.

A full hour after I arrived, the lobster appears. I am furious and Beardy can tell. Perhaps it’s the foam at the corners of my mouth. He looks scared. I open my mouth to say that I will take it and crack it myself but Beardy starts his work. Three hours after it was supposed to be done, I am at home with, as far as I can judge, half the meat the lobster should have yielded for the bargain price of $26. The handful of fresh shrimp he has thrown in and his assurance that this is a “bad day” do little to make me feel better about the chunk of my Saturday that will not be recovered.

Appalling, stoned-out San Francisco customer service strikes again.

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Categories: San Francisco (here)

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