Opinion: Playing chicken


Commentary by Dick Wolfsie

What’s better than rotisserie chicken? It’s inexpensive, tasty and relatively healthful, a win-win all the way around…and around, and around. But Mary Ellen and I don’t rotisserize our own. We prefer the plump, herb-encrusted delights at Sam’s Club or Costco. At $4.95, it’s worth the drive.

We recently made the trip, hoping to get in and out quickly, since all we wanted was the chicken. On the way to the back of the store, I picked up a new iPad. There was a good deal on printer ink. I also grabbed two cases of imported beer. We selected our chicken, and on the way up to the register, Mary Ellen stocked up on some chocolate truffles they were featuring…oh, and two bottles of her favorite wine. We tasted some yummy mini eggrolls a woman was offering as samples, and then we bought several boxes to freeze.

At the register, the clerk totaled our purchases. “Boy that chicken smells delish,” she said.

“I know,” I responded. “How can they possibly afford to sell an entire cooked chicken for only $4.95?”

“I don’t know. Okay, that will be $640.00. Enjoy your dinner.”

A few days later, I read in USA Today that the rotisserie chicken conglomerate (which sounds like a bad recipe for the leftovers) is coming under some heat. Consumer advocates are questioning whether a prepared bird from Costco or Sam’s Club is really worth the price on a per-pound basis.  Consumers Digest claims that the rotisserie chicken “looks cheap, but it’s really not, which can easily mislead people.”  (I remember my father saying something like this to my sister when she started wearing makeup in the ninth grade.)

When my wife read this, she started to buy fresh chickens out of the refrigerated case again. After she gets the birds home she gives them a very careful inspection, wiggling the wings and legs, then poking the breasts and finally sniffing them thoroughly. She was sure one particular chicken wasn’t any good.

I told her neither of us could pass a test like that, either.

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