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Mar 10, 2009 06:58 PM

Any Recs for What to Buy with Lobel's Gift Certificate?

The catch is that the certificate is for $60, and shipping to my zone (CA) is $46 (seriously). So, that leaves me with $14 to 'play' with, which isn't going to get me much. I got the certificate from a well-meaning friend who probably didn't consider the shipping component. The 2.5lb. hickory-smoked slab bacon/$26 caught my eye, but I live in the SF Bay Area, so already have access to all kinds of bacon.

I hate to let this gift certificate go to waste, but I'm, also not thrilled about using such a wasteful shipping method. I'm not disputing that there's a better way to get fresh meat across country, it's just that I usually buy locally, so the whole concept is a little outlandish.

I could also try a dry rub marmalade, or something that doesn't need refrigerated shipping. That would bring shipping down to $11, leaving me with $49. Any suggestions there?

TIA for any suggestions.

Here's a link to the website:

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  1. You can make a great dry rub yourself, why pay for something you can make at home, thats not a ton of effort!?!? You might be better off 'selling' it at a discount to a New Yorker...
    Lobels had great products, it might be worth a few of your dollars to pay the difference and get something you want.

    2 Replies
    1. re: baldwinwood

      My thought was to sell it at a discount too. eBay, craigslist.

      1. re: baldwinwood

        What difference does it make if you can find like items in the SF Bay area or make them yourself, it is a gift, you don't have to buy or make yourself. I would personally opt for the non-perishable items. Surely you can find some items you would like to try.

      2. Terri - sign up for Lobel's mailing list and hold onto the GC. Sometimes they send out $25 online "coupons" for orders, which I use for shipping to my locale. While it doesn't completely cover your shipping costs, it would definitely help offset the cost (they ship FedX 2-day, so you *do* get it quickly!) Keep in mind that shipping goes up depending on the weight of the package as well.

        Having said that - their hangar steaks are VERY good, as are the flat iron steaks. I've also ordered filet tails, tournedos, and Berkshire pork rib chops and have been VERY pleased.

        1. My vote would be to re-gift the certificate a la Seinfled. I am not familiar selling on any other site other than eBay, but by the time you list the item and are charged the final value selling fee, the percentage charged to the seller is around 15% in the end. Selling on eBay would require the certificate to sold at a discount obviously. Let's say it is sold at a 25% discount ultimately. The net result after fees would be approximately $38. This in my opinion would be the most you could expect to receive from selling on eBay , but in reality, I would think most buyers would not offer you more than 50% for the certificate, which would bring it down to approximately $25 net if sold, which is no guarantee.

          10 Replies
          1. re: BastedEggs

            I just don't get this. Yes, she loses a lot of the value of the GC in the shipping costs. So the GC pays for shipping. She doesn't have to stick with just ordering $60 worth of food. Spend a bit more money, USE the $60 GC, and get what she wants. It's Lobel's. It's good stuff.

            1. re: LindaWhit

              I actually really like their hotdogs!

              1. re: MMRuth

                That's one I haven't tried, Ruth - mostly because I don't eat a lot of hot dogs. I was wary of trying the pork chops, but they were definitely good. I *love* lamb, so I'm kind of hoping I get a $25 coupon as a "we want you back" invitation so I can order some. :-)

                1. re: LindaWhit

                  I don't eat a lot of hot dogs either, but one year we were going out to a borrowed cottage on the East End, and my husband picked up some steaks and the hot dogs.

              2. re: LindaWhit

                May I ask, what it is that you do not get? The OP clearly indicates she's less than thrilled with the shipping componet to order refrigerated food items. From her post, I take that the only item she is considering is the slab ov hickory smoked bacon which would cost her $72. Looking at Lobel's site, the bacon is actually $29.98, so the total isactually closer to $76. So yes, she is spending a bit more money above the $60 certificate value, but clearly to me by her words, even spending $16 above the certifcate value has concerns . Her main concern is she finds the shipping component wasteful and not cost effective for perisable items. The quality and reputation of Lobel's is not the main consideration for the use of this certificate and she feels there are quality options for similar products in her area without the added expense of shipping costs being attached. From her imformation provided, I do not feel she is comfortable spending over $70 for bacon, no matter how good it may be. She is looking for options and ideas for the best use of the certificate, and posssibly feedback on any items Lobel's sells that are not perishable.

                1. re: BastedEggs

                  She doesn't have to BUY bacon, especially since she said she can source all kinds of bacon in SF Bay Area. There are plenty of other things to enjoy from their site.

                  And ultimately, it was a gift from a friend. Perhaps not the most well-thought out gift, considering the shipping costs to her area of the country, but it *was* a gift. She should use it for whatever she can get if she doesn't like the higher shipping costs, and be done with it. My recommendation was to spend just a bit of money and get a few meat items, as THAT is what Lobel's is known for - not their non-meat items such as dry rubs or marmalades or sauces.

                  My "I don't get it" refers to re-gifting if (to whom? A friend who lives on the same side of the country who would have to deal with the same shipping costs?) and to me, selling it is just rude. What does she tell that friend when they ask what she got from Lobel's?

                  1. re: LindaWhit

                    You can re-gift to anyone you feel will appreciate and use the certificate better than yourself. Can you honestly say you have never done so with something you have been given in the past to a relative or friend. I have received many gift certificates in the past for retail stores or restaurants, and I have no problem giving them to others, family or friend. As with recent discussions with reference to expiration dates on gift certificates and gift cards, don't you think it better they are ultimately used, rather than not.

                    Most people I know are not shallow enough to expect conditions attached to giving out gifts as a pretense of genrosity, i.e., this is for you only. As for the question of being rude, don't you think it would be rude of the friend to even ask if the certificate was used? I would.

                    As for the chosing another meat other than the bacon, isn't that for the OP to decide.. I do see her mentioning any other meat she is interested in. Last, I do not recall ever suggesting she sell the certificate. That was done by others.

                    1. re: BastedEggs

                      While suggested by others, you also go into detail about selling it on eBay. And yes, choosing what to purchase *is* up to the OP. And no - I haven't regifted. If I choose not to use something given to me, I donate it to charity. I don't give it to someone else like the family fruitcake passed down among generations. :-)

                      1. re: LindaWhit

                        Explaining how a process works is far from a suggestion or endorsement. In this case, by explaining in detail the process actually brings the negatives to light, not anything positive. I would also point out to you any family heirloom passed on through generations is re-gifting, not just fruitcake. :-)

                        1. re: BastedEggs

                          To me, re-gifting implies it's something not wanted by the original recipient. Passing on antique furniture, china, silverware, or jewelry upon death is something completely different. IMO.

            2. I also like their book on meat - I've had it for years and it is an excellent reference book, and also has a lot of recips:


              1. Thanks for the responses. I didn't anticipate this being a contentious subject when I posted the query. I think BastedEggs basically got my point, that it doesn't appeal to me to spend that much for bacon, or (fill in the blank) just to use up the gift certificate. I make a point of buying locally-sourced produce and meat where I live, and paying $46 for something to be flown to me doesn't quite add up. This is not meant as an insult to anyone who likes Lobel's or pays extra for shipping x, y or z. I have no problem doing that for something I cannot get locally. As for a dry rub or marmalade, I realize that this is not what Lobel's is known for. I make my own dry rubs, marinades, etc., but I was hoping that perhaps one of the non-perishable items might get a high recommendation. The cookbook sounds like it might be a good idea. Thanks also for the hot dog tip. Has anyone used their instant-read thermometer? I already have a Polder, but wouldn't mind having another on hand, or giving it as a gift -- possibly to the same friend.

                As for hurting my friend's feelings or worrying whether she might ask what I've used the GC for, I doubt it's an issue, as I've had the credit for more than 5 years, and have wondered most of that time what to do with it. The solution might be to give the GC to a relative on the East Coast, who could use it without incurring such high shipping fees. If I were to mention it to my friend, I'm sure we would both have a good laugh over it.