The nice lady offering free samples at Costco asked if I wanted to actually buy a box of the quiche I was nibbling on (after I had eaten six pieces). I’m kind of a health nut, so I didn’t purchase any; they just had way too much sodium and saturated fat.

An hour later, my Costco cart was laden with soft drinks, garbage bags, a snow tire and a year’s supply of salsa. I was in a good mood because I had managed to circle around several of the other demo tables and inhale a dozen different offerings without being fingered as a “repeat sampler.”

I went through the check-out but when I got to the exit, the employee at the door looked me over from head to toe. He was holding something behind his back.  Could it have been some kind of breath-analyzer to detect whether I had eaten too much free food? I was a little embarrassed about possibly being caught with egg on my face. I should have finished with the chicken wings instead of the quiche.

He asked me for my receipt. He never actually looked in my cart. He just peered at my list of purchases and then at me—which I think is considered facial profiling. My stress was mounting. Suddenly, he whipped out a yellow highlighter and deftly flicked off the top with one hand. Would I soon receive that sought-after stripe that squiggles down the list and shows that you have truly arrived? Actually, it shows that you have truly left.

Okay, so what’s that stripe really for? No one really checks your purchases. You could have murdered the lady behind the lunch counter for taking too long to serve your pizza, stuffed her on the bottom rack of the cart next to a 12-pack of Coors Light, and you’d still proudly make your way to the parking lot with a yellow stripe on that receipt.

Most everyone earns their stripes: shoplifters, kleptomaniacs, pilferers, little kids with DVDs in their cargo pants. But still, I think the precautionary measures at Costco are far better than at our nation’s airports. I was in Washington, DC recently and had to deal with security at Dulles. I handed the agent my ticket, showed her two pieces of identification, took off my Rockports and spread my legs. I was patted down by another agent, then herded through a metal detection device.

“You call that security?” I said to the agent. “Why don’t you guys put a yellow stripe down my ticket with a highlighter like they do at Costco?” I asked.

“Why do they do that, Sir?”

“Look, I don’t know why they do it, but they are very meticulous about it and they told me that job requires several weeks of training. Not only that,  the quiche and the egg rolls are out of this world.”

I’m going to write a letter to the TSA recommending they adopt the Costco approach to security. They may think this is a stupid idea, but here’s the truth:  At the Costco on 86th in Castleton, there has never been a hijacking.



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My mother, rest her soul, drove her 2002 Buick until almost 90…and sometimes faster.  She was in great health at age 87, but it irked her that many of her friends had handicap license plates that allowed them to park closer to the grocery store.  She’d get out of her car and drag her foot along the ground to appear disabled. The A&P manager overlooked it. He wasn’t as lenient on the shoplifting charges, though.

In memory of Mom, I’m going to admit to something that will probably generate a lot of hate mail filling my inbox. Two or three times at the supermarket over the last 10 years—when I’ve been in a huge rush—I parked in the space that said:



I don’t have a toddler, but I did have one 25 years ago. They didn’t have those reserved parking spaces back then, and I’m kinda feeling cheated (like my mother did). By the way, the sign is sexist: men can obviously have toddlers, although they probably left them home with Mom. Which brings me to the next


Just once I pulled into this space for three minutes while I grabbed a dozen eggs. Big mistake. Someone recognized me from TV and pointed out to me that I was not pregnant. I don’t plan on ever doing this again. But just in case of a real emergency, so I don’t get busted, I do carry a down pillow in the back seat.

And this one


What’s the deal here? These folks were too lazy to shop at the actual store, and then they were too cheap to have it delivered. Now they want their own parking space? I don’t think so. Now, to be fair, if you are pregnant and also dragging along two toddlers to pick up a car seat you ordered over the internet, you should be allowed  to park right inside the store.

Here’s one that annoys me:


Just because you ordered take-out doesn’t mean that you should get a space right in front of the restaurant. You were too tired to cook at home and you’re also too cheap to tip the waitress, so why do you think you should have a special place to park? If you want to feed your face quickly, there’s a McDonald’s drive-thru right across the street from that Applebee’s.

Now, if it were up to me, I’d have the following signs created:


Some guys just want beer. They should have their own space and a checkout lane that says: 44 BEERS OR LESS.


For the guy who needed a box of nails and came home with a Weber Grill and 200 pounds of mulch…but no nails.


Research shows that many of these fathers go home without the kids only to realize the children are missing when there are empty seats at dinner.

Finally, a sign that says: DICK WOLFSIE, ONLY. I know this makes me sound self-centered and selfish. But here’s how I am different from online purchasers, take-out customers and pregnant mothers with toddlers: if you get to the parking lot and I’m not using my space, it’s all yours.





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