Letters, November 15
"Scales" of justice: Great article ["Fish Fraud," by Robb Walsh, November 1], but my reading of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act should most certainly allow a consumer to sue a deceptive restaurant for treble damages plus attorney's fees.
An enterprising attorney could easily compose a class action of all diners over a period of years who ordered such deceptively marketed product of a large chain, collect triple the dinner price, plus the legal time and expenses to prosecute the claim.
Un-fin-ished work: Mr. Walsh has a little more work to do in the research of his articles. Labeling Gulf snapper/shrimp, etc., means that the fish probably came from Mexico, where the controls are lax. Texas Gulf Coast is a different story.
His price estimates are wildly inflated; even with the catch limits, wholesale prices of red snapper from U.S. waters run about $3 to $5 whole, fresh, eviscerated, and yields about 45 percent of gross weight to the fillet. The prices are reflected accordingly, and even a brief search for Fulton fish market prices will give the current cost per pound. The Patagonian toothfish is now an endangered species with projections of less than five years of sustainable fishing.
There are many species of snapper in the Caribbean, and related species in the Pacific, each with an identifiable taste. I happen to like mangrove and lane snapper. The most common substitution is a false snapper called a bee liner, common in the Texas Gulf Coast.
This information would be easy to come by if Mr. Walsh would take the time to talk to people in the industry, or research the facts on the Internet.
Catch of the day: This article confirmed my suspicions that something was quite "fishy" about the quality and identity of the fillets that rest on some platters at various Houston restaurants.
The restaurateurs who engage in such deceit are merely another example of the greed that permeates our society. So much for the rationalizations and euphemisms -- I think they can oh-fish-ally be labeled as crooks.
Charles T. Rulander
Landry's and the lads: A few years ago my daughter was working at a local restaurant in the Spring-Woodlands area while she was in high school. Fortunately it wasn't Landry's ["Down at the Boardwalk," by Wendy Grossman, November 1]. She was employed by an outfit that really worked with the kids, and it was a great experience.
Many of her friends at school worked for various eateries, so the word gets out about the conditions at each place, like what kind of manager they all had.
Well, Landry's was described as the pits of hell. The kids (waitstaff and seaters) weren't treated very well at all; the management there "sucked."
It's a shame that kids getting their first taste of work have to go through that, but who doesn't need money in high school? I don't know if they've changed.
Keep up the good work. It's always good to read a newspaper that has some bite.
Hail to Hands Up: I was so impressed to hear about the goings-on of Houston's young people in Jeremy Hart's article about Hands Up Houston ["Reach for the Sky," November 1]. I was born in Space City way back in '48, and in my youth it was very difficult to hear new music.
I always wanted to play rock and roll, but it was rarer than a horse's whinny in a cow factory that I got the opportunity to see any of my favorite bands play what my parents deemed "the devil music." I'd write bands and try to get them to come through, but all I ever got back from bands like Deep Purple and Badfinger were typewritten, faux-signed fan club invitations. It was very disheartening.
Rock and roll is such a positive thing, and I am glad to see that times have changed for the better with the help of these hardworking people. Really, they're like Boy Scouts. So precious! I wish that they would sell me cookies.
The bottom line is that at a time like this, youths need a place to put their time and use their resources. I was tickled as a pickle to read about this swell rock and roll organization.
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