Red, White & Cheap: Lobster at Lunchmeat Prices

Forget the hot dogs this Fourth of July. Your 401(k) and home value on Zillow may be making you feel poor but the star-spangled lining of the current economic climate is that you can afford to throw some lobster on the grill!

Photo by: Keven Law

Lobster sank to lunchmeat pricesin 2009 during the recession because demand dried up and, thanks to this latest economic slowdown, we’re back at bologna prices.

So, stop thinking of yourself as a victim and start eating like you’re the king of the sea!

Small soft-shell lobsters in Portland, Maine have been selling for $3.79 to $4.99 a pound, the AP reports, which is lower than what bologna goes for at many deli counters. (Soft-shell lobsters, incidentally, have less meat but they are easier to crack open and can even be done by hand without special tools.)

Docks Seafood in South Portland even had a deal where they were offering five lobsters for $25 — and even dropped the price to $24, according to the AP.

Of course, that’s not good news for the fisherman and seafood shops but given that Fourth of July is the start of tourism season, many are trying to flip it around as a good marketing opportunity.

"To heck with hot dogs and hamburgers, eat a lobster! They’re very affordable. " Pete McAleney of New Meadows Lobster, a lobster dealer in Portland, told the AP.

Oh-h say can you see by the sea’s ear-ly light
What so proud-ly we hailed lobster at the price of lunch meat
And the lobster’s red glare!
The claws dip-ping in butter
Gave proof in this economy
That we don’t have to live like savages.
Oh, say does that star-spangled nap-k-in ye-et wa-ave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the bargain.

Hand me that red, white and blue plate — it’s lobster time!

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  • Cindy Perman is a writer at CNBC.com, covering jobs, real estate, retirement and personal finance.

  • Based in Los Angeles, Jane Wells is a CNBC business news reporter and also writes the Funny Business blog for CNBC.com.