Commentary by Dick Wolfsie
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 demo tables and inhale a dozen different offerings without being fingered as a “repeat sampler.”
The employee at the exit door looked me over 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? He asked me for my receipt but 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. Suddenly, he whipped out a yellow highlighter. 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.
OK, so what’s that stripe really for? No one checks your items. 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.
Truth is, the precautionary measures at Costco are far better than at the airport. Recently, I handed a gate agent my ticket, showed her two pieces of ID, took off my shoes and was herded through a metal detector.
“You call that security?” I asked the agent. “Why don’t you guys put a yellow stripe down my ticket like they do at Costco?” I continued.
“Why do they do that, sir?”
“I have no idea, but they are very meticulous about it and everyone gets free quiche and egg rolls.”
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.