I saw a blurb today that Costco stores in Michigan and across the country will begin offering their food samples on a tooth pick again in June. The popular food tastes will be phased in gradually at most stores but all stores should be doing handing out those morsels by the end of June. Costco has stores in Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids.

Now the good news is, as the article pointed out, when embarking on an arduous shopping trip, you'll need all the energy you can get, and these tooth picks with sausage or cheese or God knows what, represent vital sustenance. At the same time, are shoppers going to trust that the employees are healthy and safe and the food they consume is virus free? I suppose the system has always been based somewhat on faith. Before COVID, you still had to hope the worker didn't have the flu or worse.

I made my first trip to our major grocery chain store yesterday, after it relaxed its mask rules, and it was weird. I was among the many who still wore their masks, but I realized the feeling I had was more based on having worn a mask for more than a year and it becoming a common practice, and ditching the mask with be the same thing, that I'll have to get used to being mask free. But the one bright spot was I wasn't cursing under my breath and my mask, the people without masks or with their noses exposed. Baby steps back to normal.

But here's where I have more questions: What about smorgasbords, and buffets? I haven't been since 2019, but what do they do now? Do you tell a worker what you want, and how much? This may actually save these buffets some money, because I think I'd be embarrassed to ask the worker to bring me my fourth bowl of tapioca pudding topped...with sliced pineapples. Oh, did they just bring out some more salmon?

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Irving Gilmore Mansion, Kalamazoo, 516 W. South Street,

This is the Irving Gilmore Mansion in downtown Kalamazoo, a block from the Art Institute, Bronson Park and the Civic Center.