Hi, first post for me on this board, but not new to the site. I sell about 10,000 crabs a week, and I must tell you that the retail end is not what you think. Buying a GOOD bushel of crabs is not that easy or cheap.
Getting crabbers to cull at 5 and 1/2 inches and up, HARD (fat and full) with no dead ones throwen in to weigh it down, is costly. When crabbers don't do this, customers COMPLAIN!!!! And they complain to ME, not you. I am the one who hears the comments. So, I work very hard to provide only the best crabs for them. (That is why most retailers in this business are rude and grumpy, they get tried of all the customer complaints) Customers pay good money and don't want little and half-full, light weight crabs....period.
I took 10 cooked bushels to the trash last weekend because I would not sell that kind of junk and risk losing my reputation. Some of them were from N.C. (they were dog snot), and the rest were from York River. The rest from MD and VA were...ok. The Louisana crabs were great.
When I pay $85-$95 per Bushel, after throwing away the dead, paying for the propane, the spice, the bags or wax lined boxes, and the overhead like insurance, help, electric bill, phonebook ad, etc..., I have to sell alot of bushels a day just to make $300-$400. (that's at the end of a 10 hour day involving scrubing big stainless pots, culling, cooking, sweeping, etc., in the humid heat.....not that cushy of a job for the money).
The retailers who buy cheap crabs and sell cheap crabs have a bad rep with customers. I hear this from my customers everyday. In this business you get what you pay for. A lesson learned once again from those N.C. crabs I bought over the weekend. Good, HARD, HEAVY males over 5 and 1/2 inches are always in demand and expensive. The light weight ones, no matter the size, are always cheap and plentiful. If you have a better product, you get a better price.
Just the veiw from a retailer who has been serving crabs in the same location for over 27 years.
Shesellcrabs, please do not take this the wrong way and I am not attacking you. I have been in the crabbing business for more years then I want to fess up to. Regular wholsalers on the ES, MD use tickets placed on the lids of the catch. It includes the body of water where they were caught, the crabber's name and wether they are 1s, 2s or 3s. The buyer will tell their customer to return a ticket to them if they received a bad bushel. 1 too many tickets from a particular crabber and the wholesaler will cut him off. I also cull the catch from a new crabber and from others that I have bought from before I cash out. I will also at random times of the year do a spot check. Thought this might help.