TikTok Thinks This Is Why Costco's Hot Dog Combo Is Still So Cheap

Costco is well known for their really low prices on bulk items. But, one of the best (and most popular) deals in the warehouse club doesn't come in sizes too big to fit in some apartments. We are talking, of course, about Costco's famous $1.50 hot dog and soda combo deal in their popular food court. Since 1984, the price of a hot dog and soda has surprisingly remained the same, even in spite of inflation and even though both the hot dog and soda have actually increased in size, from a quarter-pound hot dog to one that's 10% bigger and from a 12-oz can to a 20-oz fountain soda with free refills (via Reader's Digest).

This isn't exactly news to most Costco shoppers and fans, however, particularly those that have had their membership for years and have taken advantage of this deal on a regular basis, whether or not they ever thought about the reason behind it. One TikToker has a theory, though, which he shared in a recent video. According to @sparkpass, "This is the hidden reason why Costco will never charge more than $1.50 for a hot dog and a soda."

This TikToker's Costco hot dog theory makes sense

The TikTok video goes on to list out several fairly well-known facts relating to Costco's hot dog and soda combo price backstory, such as the co-founder's harsh words threatening to kill the CEO if he ever raised the price of the hot dog, or how, to keep prices down, they either switched suppliers (from Coca Cola to Pepsi) or took on the production themselves, as they did with the hot dog (via Mental Floss). 

Amazingly, Costco really does sell more hot dogs in a year than every single Major League Baseball stadium combined! MLB fans consume an average of 20 million hot dogs a season (via Eat This, Not That!), compared to more than 100 million hot dogs sold by Costco in a year (via Wide Open Eats). But if you think about it, a family of four can get dinner for just $6 — and there's plenty of Costco locations around the country open year-round and not just for a season, so it's not that hard to believe. But, that's despite Costco making little to no money on the combo (via CNN). So, why do they do it?

According to @sparkpass, they do it "so customers remember the low prices as they walk out with their cheap meal," which makes it more likely that they will return to Costco. And that, at the end of the day, is the real reason Costco hot dogs are so cheap – a little subliminal messaging to keep the customers coming back.

Fans aren't that impressed with the Costco hot dog combo theory

Despite the 192,000-plus comments that the TikTok video has since attracted, very few had their minds blown by the original poster's suggested theory. Some of the commenters simply regurgitated the point that the cheap prices overall attract customers to Costco, while a few expressed the sentiment that they just really like the hot dog. "Not only is it $1.50," one person wrote, "but they are a footlong too. Worth every cent." Another admitted, "Ngl [not gonna lie] ... ALWAYS grab a dog and drink on the way out." Evidently, the low cost has embedded itself in the minds of many and keeps them coming back for more.

However, a large number of people commenting on the post also focused on Costco's other food court bargain — the pizza. Not just for its low price but also its quality. "Costco has better pizza than half of New York," one person declared, "and I'll fight for that statement." Insider notes that with 482 locations selling pizza, Costco is effectively the 14th largest pizza chain in the country. Moreover, the $1.99 slice creates an incentive similar to that of the hot dog and soda combo. In fact, we could also rope in the extent to which Costco has tried to keep their rotisserie chickens at just $4.99, which, as CNN reported, even includes changing the supply chain of the poultry industry. 

So, in general, there's many ways in which Costco has attracted a huge fan base with quality food at a cheap price, leaving the question about how important the hot dog and soda theory posted on TikTok really is. "This isn't a hidden reason," one person stated. In fact, Costco's whole operation rests on the fact that it can sell its products for cheap. It's literally on every item's price tag.