We strive for excellent customer service and in the future we ask that you let us scale your selected fillet of fish and have you inspect the product prior to wrapping. Unfortunately, as the fish industry moves higher amounts of fish everyday and most of the preparation is made at the processing plants, it gets difficult for us to add extra processing procedures to the large amounts of fish at the store level, but we are more than willing to do so on a one-to-one basis.
In other words, if you want your fish scaled you have to ask. But obviously they are hoping that not many people will ask. I do appreciate the honesty in the letter, but I don't appreciate the dishonesty in the store. They quietly stopped scaling fish without telling their customers. There was no sign or indication from the seafood staff that anything changed.
What he says about preparation being done at the processing plants has been true for a long time. Whole Foods does not fillet their own fish. But I learned something interesting in yesterday's talk FISHY BUSINESS: THE FISHING INDUSTRY IN NEW ENGLAND by Max Harvey, a fish buyer for many New England restaurants. Whole Foods can specify exactly how they want their fish prepared (filleted, scaled, boned, etc). Of course, they do have to pay more for scaled fillets. Max also mentioned that fish prices went up recently. So I wonder whether selling fillets with scales is Whole Foods' way to save costs. I have no idea if that's really the case -- it's just my guess.
I find it strange that small fish markets can get fish already scaled, while a big fish (no pun intended ;) like Whole Foods is "stuck" with whatever their suppliers give them. I have a feeling that Whole Foods is getting exactly what they want. If their customers haven't given them hell about this issue yet, I guess everyone's happy.
So thanks dear Whole Foods for offering to scale my piece of fish, but I'll go to a real fish market for salmon, striped bass, red snapper, or any other fish I plan to eat with the skin.