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May 7, 2013 03:08 PM

Totally bogus experience at Fresh Pond Seafood

Call me crazy, but if you're charging $15/lb for shrimp, you should also offer to peel and devein it for your customers. Went in today during a slow time (I was the only person in the shop), asked for my shrimp to be peeled and deveined, and the teenager at the counter looked at me like I had four heads and basically said he'd never done that before. Hoo-kay. Then he tried to up-sell me frozen shrimp for twice the price.
I've never been to a fishmonger that DOESN'T offer this courtesy to customers (even if they might charge a buck or two extra for the service).
Beyond this, recently when I've visited the shop, the service hasn't been friendly. And, I have come home with slightly off-smelling fish on a couple of occasions.
I want to support a small business and am loath to buy from a supermarket, but...this might be the last straw.

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  1. hmmm i have never seen it offered anywhere or would have thought to ask. Will try next time.. Sometimes i have seen places with ones that had it already done at a higher per pound price. Guess it would depend on the size too, i am typically buying medium, med/large which are 40-50/lb count, quite a bit of work. I suppose if you had jumbo or colossal it would be quick

    4 Replies
    1. re: hargau

      Seems a little high maintainence to me.

      1. re: Steve L

        Friends tell me that it's de rigueur in NYC fish markets, and markets I've frequented farther into the burbs do this as a courtesy.

        1. re: Swankalicious

          Which local markets do this? Do they do it for all sizes? thanks.

          I always ask for the skin to be taken off my haddock and usually feel a bit guilty about that at most places.

    2. "I have come home with slightly off-smelling fish...". No offense, but I never buy a piece of fish without smelling it first, no matter where I get it. I'm sure many will reply that a good fishmonger shouldn't be selling anything less than impeccably fresh...but, hey, it happens. I recall seeing Julia Child on one show back in the 80s talk about fish in the store sold in little plastic wrapped containers (like hamburger) "you should poke a hole through the plastic and smell the fish. If it isn't fresh, don't buy it and let them know". Since that time, I always smell first, then buy.

      1. I also wonder how anyone comes home and discovers off-smelling fish. Why did you buy it?

        8 Replies
        1. re: C. Hamster

          Well, the scallops were put in a plastic container when I bought them. They looked fine in the case. I got home, opened the container, took a whiff, and they smelled a tad pungent. Maybe I should have asked to smell them before they were put into the container, but that seems funny to me: "Hello, may I sniff your scallop?"

          1. re: Swankalicious

            Better to sniff the scallop than to squander the shekel...

            1. re: Gio

              Nicely alliterative advice, Gio....
              My Florida markets sell pink 16-20 count gulf shrimp for $15/lb, peeling and deveining not included. I can't imagine what frozen shimp could be 'upsold' for $30/lb.

              1. re: Veggo

                From our local market, not a fish monger, we can buy 1 lb. bag of frozen "Domestic Gulf Brown and Domestic Gulf White, Peeled and Deveined, and Peeled and Undeveined." The price varies between 5.99/lb & 8.99/lb which we bought just last Saturday. These are wild fresh and I always buy them unpeeled and undeveined, the largest size offered at time of purchase.. different sizes = different prices, They are delicious.


            2. re: Swankalicious

              Not at all. it's no difference than looking at a piece of produce before buying it.

              1. re: Swankalicious

                In my experience, good fishmongers aren't insulted, but rather pleased that you both care and know your fish-freshness signs. Folks that sell high-end product like clients that can identify high-end product.

                1. re: Swankalicious

                  Most fish sellers I've dealt with (from WF, Shaw's and independents) are more than happy to have you smell the product. I've never encountered any grief or ill-will....might feel uncomfortable at first, but better to be safe than sorry!

                  1. re: Swankalicious

                    ALWAYS smell seafood before you buy it

                    Purveyors shouldnt mind. Mine like it when I ask.

                    If you get a raised eyebrow walk away from that fish counter.

                2. I never thought to ask a fishmonger to peel and devein shrimp. Can you same some places that do it? With a smile?

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: katzzz

                    I agree with the person who pointed out that the same size shrimp is often available peeled at a higher price. I can't see them peeling for free in that circumstance. I on the other hand would be happy to peel your shrimp if I can keep the shells for delicious shrimp stock! Has anyone ever asked for free or minimally priced leftover shells?

                    1. re: Madrid

                      It was my understanding that most fishmongers in this area anyway sell shrimp that were previously frozen. They were frozen either with the shells or peeled and are sold that way. I believe the ones that are peeled are done with some sort of industrial equipment. So the fishmonger never actually gets the shells to begin with for those..
                      There are exceptions such as the maine shrimp sold at certain times of the year. Those i believe are fresh/never frozen.

                    2. re: katzzz

                      I have had this done for me at Twin Seafood in Concord and Acton, and a friend has had it done at the Quarterdeck in Maynard. Also had it done AGES ago at Carey's Catch in Lexington. I do agree that it's normal to be charged a bit extra for the time.

                      1. re: Swankalicious

                        Good to know cause i go to Twin all the time!

                    3. never seen it, never even thought to ask. peeled and deveined is more expensive for a reason..... like shucked lobster meat.

                      and frankly i prefer to buy my shrimp frozen and unshelled.

                      was the frozen stuff they tried to sell you shelled and deveined?