Hot Dog
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Al Muskovitz writes about a different kind of reunion he recently had — being reunited with a Costco all-beef hot dog. 

As more vaccine shots get into the arms of Americans, more wonderful heartwarming stories of family reunions are surfacing. While reunions with family members during the ongoing pandemic take precedent over anything else, I would be less than forthright if I didn’t admit that, for me, a different kind of reunion recently took a close second — my being reunited with a Costco all-beef hot dog.

Until a couple of weeks ago, I hadn’t been in a Costco in over a year. Costco, which for my money, usurps Disney World as the happiest place on Earth.

Alan Muskovitz
Alan Muskovitz
Contributing Writer

Despite my being vaccinated, I remain vigilant. But I have loosened the reins on some activities, which now include short visits into stores. 

I had not fully committed to a hot dog when I made my long-awaited return to Costco. My first priority was securing the goods I had come for. Only after checking out would I make my final frankfurter decision and that would hinge on how long the line was at the concession stand.

It turns out only one customer was ahead of me. I was only 6 mandatory feet away from hot dog heaven! 

At $1.50, I still react to the combo hot dog/drink deal at Costco like real dogs greet their owners after being gone all day. I just hope no one saw me wiggle my rear end when I approached the counter.

Current health restrictions restrict condiments for hot dogs being available on their usual self-serve basis. Ketchup and mustard are handed out in small cups and sadly, onions are not an option for the time being. Too bad, because I could have blamed the onions on the tears running down my face when I took my first bite.

I saved the majority of my inhaling the rest of the hot dog until I returned to my car. I don’t text and drive, but I will digest and drive … although the dog was gone before I turned on the ignition.

I think you’d agree that as we’ve moved through these bizarre times, simple pleasures are simply more pleasurable. And, for me, it usually involves food, as my second long-awaited food reunion to my friendly neighborhood Yoz Yogurt store proved.

Mary is the proprietor and, if you will, the “Wizard of Yoz” of two locations in West Bloomfield — the Crosswinds Mall and Simsbury Plaza.

Like a lot of businesses lately, it’s been difficult for Mary to find people to work, forcing her to juggle hours of operation. This has led to another fallout out from the pandemic — the rare, but occasional impatient visiting customer who voices their displeasure about the changing hours or their short wait in line. I learned about this from a message Mary posted on her Yoz Facebook page which read in part:

“Please try to be understanding with what Yoz is going through right now. We are doing the best we can with what we have. At least we are still in business at this point, serving you when we can. Please keep supporting us! Thank you!”

I spoke with Mary, and I know she struggled with the idea of having to post that message. I told her I had witnessed firsthand the impatient displeasure of someone who, when informed their order would be ready in five minutes, rolled their eyes and left. But I’m not surprised. There seems to be an uptick in “normal” everyday selfishness that has reared its ugly head during this pandemic. 

Like the yogurt, I would ask customers of all businesses to “chill.” Perhaps implement a “cone” of silence and remember to not waver in our patience and appreciation for those frontline workers who, despite progress in the pandemic, are still faced with challenges.  

Update: Since writing the original draft of this column I’ve made a return visit to Costco and had another hot dog. There’s an old saying: “Don’t let the same dog bite you twice.” I couldn’t disagree more. 

Alan Muskovitz is a writer, voice-over/acting talent, speaker, and emcee. Visit his website at laughwithbigal.com,“Like” Al on Facebook and reach him at amuskovitz@renmedia.us.

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