Friday, June 19, 2009

Lobster is Trouble Cause

From the summer of 1948 comes this tale of a particularly obtuse customer at a local lobster market. Though the establishment in question is not named, it is likely that it was Ripley's which was located just north of the Middleborough Rotary on the site now occupied by Persy's Place restaurant. The market was operated in the late 1940s and early 1950s as a purveyor of fresh seafood including lobsters, clams and scallops.

Summer time and "elbow bending" can bring on strange situations. This was revealed recently when Middleboro police were summoned to a lobster sales place on route 28. Outside was an irate customer, who was noisy about being taken advantage of. The boss of the place didn't agree with him, and he was not so quiet either. According to the boss, the outside man was advising folks who stopped for the lobsters to keep on going or they might be imposed on. That did not help business so the boss called the police.

Then an effort was made to get at the bottom of the trouble. It seems the "elbow-bender" had bought a live lobster. It weighed one and a quarter pounds, and its selling price was determined. No money was passed. Then the "elbow-bender" asked to have it cooked for him. This was done, and as the purchase was wrapped, he asked that it be weighed again. It was.

This time the scales showed an even pound. The seller wanted to collect for the pound and a quarter. The buyer insisted he was paying for only a pound. The seller explained the shrinkage came from cooking. The buyer would not accept such a story, and there the trouble started.

Learning the details, the policeman quickly adjusted the matter, by telling the prospective buyer he didn't have to take it, if it didn't please him, so following advice, the buyer hastened away, evidently satisfied he had made his point, while the seller was well pleased to have the room rather than his company.

Ripley's Lobster Market, Bedford Street, photograph, late 1940s.
"Lobster Claw", Simon Goldenberg, photographer. 2008. Republished under a Creative Commons license. Some rights reserved.

Brockton Enterprise, "Lobster is Trouble Cause", July 30, 1948.


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