Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

The truth about Costco’s hotdog and soda combo

Mohitha Ravikumar

Forty years ago, in 1983, the first Costco store was opened. Since then, the wholesale grocery chain has become a staple in the American home as well as the American diet. As customers leave the checkout area, they can always expect to see the busy food court. Menu options like pizza, churros and smoothies are very popular and affordable, though one menu item rules them all — the $1.50 hotdog and soda combo. 

Two years after Costco first opened its doors to the public, it began selling the $1.50 hot dog and soda combo. Since its initial release in 1985, the price has not changed once, surviving multiple recessions, stock market crashes and inflation. With the combo being so cheap and a seemingly great deal, is there a catch?

While it seems like most companies, especially post-COVID-19, are constantly raising their prices, Costco still has not touched the price of this combo. When the current CEO, Craig Jelinek, suggested to the founder, James Sinegal, that the combo’s price should be raised, Sinegal said, “If you raise [the price of the] effing hot dog, I will kill you. Figure it out.”

In a time when it seems like businessmen have no consideration for the consumer and only for their profit margins, it is a great feeling to have this delicacy protected. 

With the popularity of Costco’s food court and its similarly priced pre-made items, it seems like they would be making lots of money by the time consumers leave the store — but that is not the case. Costco sells many of these items — especially the hot dog and soda combo — at a loss. In the past, Costco CFO Richard Galanti has stated, “We aren’t making a lot or any profit on food court items.” Costco knowingly sells these products at a loss to incentivize people to come into the store and spend money. Which seemingly works in their favor, garnering them $29.7 billion in profit in 2023. 

The only caveat to this meal is that Costco requires shoppers to have a paid membership to enter the establishment and purchase goods. Starting at $60 annually for a plan, it may seem like the combo is too good to be true, but that is not so. The $1.50 hotdog and soda combo is the perfect meal for a college student or someone who is on a fixed income. With a Costco store located right off UTSA Boulevard, it would be a great idea for students to get a membership. When registering to be a member, two people can be on one account, meaning two faces and two membership cards. When split with a friend, the annual price goes down to $30. Just imagine how much one could save like that.

The combo is the ultimate college meal; a couple of roommates can easily drive down to the location nearest to their campus and have a feast for only a couple of bucks. While it may seem like the main demographic of Costco is wealthier people, excluding all the decent wholesale deals, the $1.50 hotdog and soda combo is a meal for the working class and people with low-income. The meal is ideal for anyone needing to save money, like construction workers, families, students and more. While it may be hidden behind a paywall, the fee is minimal and definitely worth it for the meal deal. 

Alongside how accessible the meal is to those with low income, it also fills up well. While the typical hotdog is fairly small, weighing in at approximately 1.6 ounces, Costco’s hotdog almost triples that. Costco’s hotdog is sold and advertised as being a quarter-pound hotdog, meaning buyers receive four ounces of meat. The price-to-performance ratio is out of this world. 

Costco’s $1.50 hotdog and soda combo is something that everyone can enjoy. While it may be behind a subscription, it is more than worth it. Receiving a large portion on the low is something that anyone on a budget can appreciate and is definitely something that the working man can and should enjoy.

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About the Contributors
Malaki Lingg
Malaki Lingg, Web Editor
Malaki (he/they) is a third-year Digital Communication student at UTSA. He is originally from Nevada but has lived in the Austin area for most of his life. When not writing for The Paisano you will most likely find him thrifting, gardening or attending a concert. This is his fifth semester with The Paisano and his second as an editor.
Mohitha Ravikumar
Mohitha Ravikumar, Graphic Artist
Mohitha Ravikumar (she/her) is a sophomore pursuing a Computer Engineering degree at UTSA. Outside Paisano you can find her drawing, painting and creating new artworks.

Comments (2)

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  • B

    Bryan FarmerMay 3, 2024 at 1:37 pm

    Been shopping at Costco since 1983 when I was at NAS Alameda. Good quality products and reasonable prices. I also enjoy the hot dog when I go, can’t beat it.

  • J

    John KennedyJan 19, 2024 at 11:16 pm

    My children, wife and I really think we save$$$ by shopping at Costco. The 100% beef hot dog and drink are a fun, healthy lunch we love. A family of four can eat for $6.00 all while talking, laughing and spending time together. Thank You Costco.