Dead Fish in a Box

The chronicles of a suburban fishpimp trying to keep it rural.

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Location: United States

Monday, May 17, 2004

Latest, Greatest Simonisms

Nothing gets Simon fired up like Copper River season. Fishing started today at 7:00 AM Alaska time. In honor of that hour we had a record 7 new Simonisms - here's the best of the bunch.

"They told him to take a short walk on a long pier"

"You know my motto: 'Nothing in Moderation'"

"I tell you, you talk about a gift horse hitting you in the mouth!"

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

If You Have to Ask the Price, You Can’t Afford It.

The Copper River opens for fishing on Monday 5/17/2004. I started out to write about how I felt about the whole phenomenon, but after putting down over two pages of thoughts without getting anywhere, I figure I ought to just boil it down to the major points:

·The Copper River is the 4th longest river in Alaska.
·It produces the first run of salmon of the summer.
·Thanks to the superior marketing of the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI) it is perceived to be the best salmon in the world.
·Demand for fish from the first 12 hour opening could exceed 1 million pounds
·Supply from the first opening is projected at 130,000 lbs.
·We will all be driving around town Tuesday evening with our pickups full of Copper River Salmon, the value of which far exceeds the value of any of our trucks
·At least one restaurant will fire us because we delivered the restaurant across the street before them.
·One can expect to pay the equivalent of $134/lb for a serving of this fish in a restaurant next week.
·It is the source of more hype than any food I am aware of.

After all the hysteria has gone away and the supply curve intersects the demand curve, we will realize that it’s all, as we say in the business: “It’s just dead fish in a box”.

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Intellectual Tourettes Syndrome

The House of Fish is not exactly a center of intelligence. Conversation topics around the office range from female body parts, to who is/is not gay, to which co-workers are the most inferior, to the merits of various sports franchises. Yesterday the debate was about the treatment of Iraqi P.O.W.s by their American captors. The general consensus was the standard "war is hell" argument, combined with a little "they probably deserved it", also "it was payback for the American civilians who were dragged through the streets of Fallujah", and finally "if they hadn't taken the photos, this wouldn't be such a big deal".

Scholars in foreign policy we are not.

Yesterday I caused a blow-up in the morning sales meeting by stating that our "team" was anything but. That, as salespeople, we are competitive by nature, and adversarial by corporate culture. I had reverted from Fishpimp to Sociology Major. I cried out the inconsistencies between office policy and practice. The Injustice! The oppression & exploitation of the lower class by the Bourgeoisie! I nearly incited a revolt of the proletariat (all 3 of us). Karl Marx would have been proud.

In discussing the events of the morning with another manager from a different department I was diagnosed with a new form of mental illness: Intellectual Touretttes Syndrome. Apparently, I have these ticks and fits where I randomly spew logic and insight around the office. Unfortunately, these bouts are misinterpreted by my coworkers, who just think the I'm the weird collegeboy. Perhaps I should take the advise of Simon who told me once "Just keep your head down, maybe you'll last longer"

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Fish-cal Policy

You might have missed it. A year or two ago Congress passed the COOL Act. Don't worry, it doesn't mean that we all have to act cool, it stands for "Country of Origin Listing". It states that all Meat, Poultry, Produce, Seafood, & Peanuts (of all things) must be labeled at the retail level with the country of origin and whether it’s farmed or wild. . Except the beef industry lobbied and received a 2 year reprieve, so did produce and peanuts. Poultry got out of the bill all together. But not Seafood. It’s a very extensive process, and it’s a big deal: every single bit of fish has to be tracked like a Fed-ex package. It's going to cost the Seafood industry an estimated $4,500,000,000. We’re gonna have to pay people to slap bar codes on the salmon.

The price of your fish is going to go up.

Any violation carries a $10,000 fine per item, per store, per day. That means if a small grocery chain with 8 stores gets mis-labeled product, or cannot produce proper documentation, it could mean up to $80,000 per item per day. One bad day could wipe out six months of profit.

To what benefit? The consumer? Do you really care if your delicious Black Tiger Prawns are from India or the Philippines? Or that the Steelhead is from Saskatchewan? Do the Alaskan salmon fishermen really benefit? Their product is too expensive for most of us 8 months out of the year, so do we need Congress to increase demand for that fish – can we afford to pay $25/lb for Salmon in the winter?

Your tax dollars at work.