Costco’s Iconic Hot Dog Combo Has Remained $1.50 For 35 Years Thanks To A Threat From Its Founder

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Four-year private college, 1984: $5,560
Four-year private college, now: $147,520

Median home cost, 1984: $79,000
Median home cost, 2020: $320,000

Average Super Bowl ticket price, 1984: $60
Average Super Bowl ticket price, 2020: $7,000

Costco hot dog and soda combo price, 1984: $1.50
Costco hot dog and soda combo price, 2020: $1.50

In a world where a stationary bike with an iPad on it costs a vital organ, the pious folks at Costco have kept their quarter-pound all-beef hot dog with unlimited refills of your 20-ounce soda of choice the same small price since Reagan was in office.

The $1.50 price tag is especially impressive when you consider Costco hot dogs are the size of a souvenir baseball bat. While an Oscar Meyer wiener weighs just 1.58 ounces, the Costco dog clocks is an absolute unit, clocking in at 4 ounces. And, most importantly, Costco dogs just hit different.

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The ‘NEW’ $1.50 Warehouse 🌭 DOG !… No more “onion crank” or self-serve condiments, but just as GOOD !… I volunteered and ventured out as the designated shopper for family & a neighbor. Scored a few necessities… TP, paper towels 🙌🏻 & 🥩s. I went in clean w/ homemade hand sanitizer in pocket, touched as little as possible, washed hands and changed clothes when I got home. After standing in a 6ft-apart lonnnnnng line, it was worth the wait… it was well organized, well stocked, people were smiling, courteous & social distancing cautious. Huge THANK YOU to Costco employees and EVERY hardworking grocery store hero 💞! Get in, get out and… DON’T FORGET the 🌭DOG ! . . . #allbeefhotdogs #🌭 #besthotdog #hotdog #allbeef #mustardrelish sadly #noonions #costcohotdog FTW !

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A 2018 article titled ‘The Enduring Enigma of Costco’s $1.50 Hot Dog and Soda Combo’ from Mental Floss is going mega viral on Twitter today for how bullish Costco co-founder and former CEO Jim Sinegal was in keeping the price the same, by any means necessary.

When Costco president W. Craig Jelinek once complained to Costco co-founder and former CEO Jim Sinegal that their monolithic warehouse business was losing money on their famously cheap $1.50 hot dog and soda package, Sinegal listened, nodded, and then did his best to make his take on the situation perfectly clear.

“If you raise [the price of] the effing hot dog, I will kill you,” Sinegal said. “Figure it out.”

Costco ended up maneuvering around a price hike by not being a sheep to the market, but instead pricing their own cost and according to the value the hot dogs can afford them.

In 2009, when supply costs were on the rise, Costco moved away from Hebrew National and decided to move hot dog production in-house, building a Kirkland’s Signature hot dog plant in Los Angeles and another in Chicago.

Costco sells over 100 million hotdogs annually, and after stumbling across this information today, I will personally account for 50 million of those.


Matt’s love of writing was born during a sixth grade assembly when it was announced that his essay titled “Why Drugs Are Bad” had taken first prize in D.A.R.E.’s grade-wide contest. The anti-drug people gave him a $50 savings bond for his brave contribution to crime-fighting, and upon the bond’s maturity 10 years later, he used it to buy his very first bag of marijuana.

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