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Reefer, lobster, and diesel fuel: Lobsterfest

Reefer, lobster, and diesel fuel: Lobsterfest

Shoplift Deals Trivia: How did Heather and Stacey meet?

7 years ago, at the very first Lobsterfest, Heather put out a call on Shoplift’s Facebook for volunteers. Despite it being one of the hottest days of the year, Stacey, 6 months pregnant, answered the call to help. She always maintains “I was VERY pregnant and it was VERY smelly”. Folks, we’ve come a long way.

If you’ve been following Shoplift Deals for a while, you’re likely familiar with the most wonderful time of the year: Lobsterfest. But what does reefer and diesel fuel have to do with lobster? You can bet there’s a story here (and no worries, it doesn’t involve poisoned seafood!).

How Lobsterfest works

Shoplift has been hosting Lobsterfest for almost a decade, and after so long, we’ve developed a system. We pick up a reefer truck (refrigerator, not that kind of reefer!), near the airport in Calgary, collect the skids of Atlantic Lobster from the airport, and embark on a day of distributing LOBSTER!

Reefer for your lobster

For Lobsterfest 2020, Shoplift placed the biggest lobster order to Western Canada FedEx has ever had. Did you know? You actually don’t need a special license to drive a Reefer Truck, just sign the paperwork and pray you don’t hit anything. But Heather drives the truck like a boss. We’ve had to drive this massive beast on four wheels to the airport to pick up the lobster, and she backs it in on the first try, lined up to the bay doors every time.

Warehouse attendants everywhere think, “Holy crap, we have professional drivers that cannot line up to that door.” For transporting general product previously, we’ve been driving this dinky cargo trailer that jackknifes if you turn the wrong way, so driving the reefer feels very easy in comparison.

A delectable feast

We pick up the best food to go with your lobster. Stuffed potatoes from Jenny’s Delectables, bacon wrapped scallops, and this year for 2021, we also have authentic, fresh Atlantic fish cakes and flavoured smoked salmon, as well as That Bitchy Baker cheesecakes (TBB Desserts), Digby scallops, and steak from The Meatery… this is a feast.

The first year we had a huge reefer truck was 2019. We drove to Jenny’s Delectables to collect the stuffed baked potato orders. They are located with a little, tiny alley that takes like, a five-point turn to get in. Heather maneuvered the reefer into position, only to realize… How do we park this thing?? In a moment of panic, we posted on our Shoplift Deals Facebook group, “You guys, how do we park?” You see, these trucks don’t come with a park option. You have to put them into Neutral and pull the E-Brake (unbeknownst to us at the time). We have a number of Shoplift customers who are school bus drivers, and they all weighed in to tell us how!

A Ray of sunshine

The first year of driving a reefer truck for Lobsterfest, the back of the truck was still stacked high with leftover crates and boxes when we pulled in to return the rental truck. When we arrived, they were closed and the only person left was a man named Ray.

We asked Ray if we could put our remaining crates and boxes into their dumpster and he told us that they didn’t have that as an option. Then we bribed him with lobster. So, he agreed and now he calls us “The Lobster Girls.”

We must have made an impression on Ray, because every year, he helps out, “The Lobster Girls” in exchange for some lobster!

Diesel fuel doesn’t go there

We learned a number of things during that first year. For example, at one point during the day of seafood hauling, we needed to get gas. We pulled into a cardlock (which we thought was for large trucks to use to fill up). Not sure what the hell we were doing, we asked a guy walking by. We learned that day that cardlocks are for people who have a gas card. We also learned that there are different places that appear to be gas tanks, but actually are not. Also that these vehicles run on Diesel, NOT GAS!!

Driving the truck has only gotten easier with practice. As Lobsterfest grows, the reefer is a necessity and we’re always keen for an adventure! Want to see what we’re up to this year? Follow Shoplift Deal’s Facebook to find out when to place your order and watch what trouble we get ourselves into (and out of!) with lobster bribes.