Could Things Get Any Worse?

Mike Weisser
3 min readNov 19, 2023

Yesterday, my sister sent me an article from The (failing) New York Times, which proves how fucked up things really are right now. Incidentally, The (failing) New York Times stock price closed at $44.67 on Friday, a year ago it closed at $33.45.

Anyway, back to how fucked up everything is these days.

The story Paula sent me was about a take-out joint in Red Hook where the house specialty, a lobster roll with fries, costs $32 bucks.

When I was growing up in New York, Red Hook was a waterfront slum in Brooklyn. I can use the word ‘slum’ because the neighborhood was all white. The residents of Red Hook sometimes worked on the piers and the mob dumped bodies in the water because it was easier than driving all the way out to Coney and dumping the bodies in Gravesend Bay.

At some point things began to turn and now Red Hook is a done-over neighborhood with an IKEA, a bunch of fancy-shmancy boutiques, hip restaurants and bars, and rehabbed housing with rents to match.

So, here’s this story about a restaurant owned by Ralph and Susan Povich called The Lobster Pound, where prices have gone out of sight and costs have “surged.” Last year they spent $15,000 training new staff, $12,000 for insurance, $54,000 for utilities, all of which adds up to $80 grand and change, and that’s before you even figure in the cost of raw lobster meat and fresh potatoes to make the fries.

The article says that “the business feels precarious” and that the owners never imagined that their lobster roll would be priced at $32 bucks. Basically, the article is just one kvetch after another, and if you don’t know what ‘kvetch’ means, either you’re not Jewish, or you’re not from New York, or both.

If you bother to read down to the last several paragraphs of the article, however, a rather interesting fact pops out. It’s the amount that the restaurant paid last year in credit card fees, which was $73,000. The article states that the fee is based on 3% of the total charged on plastic to cover a patron’s meal.

Ready? On credit card payments alone, this fucking restaurant which is barely scraping by with their $32 lobster roll, took in at least $2.4 million last year, and that’s not counting the cash. And as a former partner in a restaurant…