Ruffled feathers: Cheap chicken, friendship causes for concern

Two items in the news caught my eye this week: poultry and pals.

First up is rotisserie chicken. I mean, what could be better? It’s inexpensive, tasty and relatively healthful — a win-win all the way around … and around, and around. Mary Ellen and I enjoy this for dinner about once a week. But we 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, and we were 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-egg rolls 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. OK, that will be $640. 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.

Also in the news this week, a well-respected journal reports people don’t know who their friends are. They analyzed friendship among 84 subjects by asking them to rank one another on a five-point continuum of closeness, from “I don’t know this person” to “One of my best friends.” Only about 50 percent of people found themselves on each other’s list. Apparently, people you think are your friends often don’t feel the same way.

This is just the kind of thing that fuels my insecurity. I called my friend, Garry to see how he’d respond to my question, “If you were asked to make a list of your top friends, would I be on it?”

“Well, I need a little more information. How long can the list be?”

Then I called John. “Hi, John, it’s Dick Wolfsie —”


I was desperate. I knew I could depend on Bob. “Hi, Bob. I have an important question to ask you. If you made a list of people you consider close friends, would I be on it?”

“I’m not taking you to the airport. Have you tried that Uber app?”

Then, I thought about calling Mickey, but I didn’t. Let’s just say I chickened out.

Dick Wolfsie is an author and Indianapolis TV and radio personality. Send comments to