You Won't Recognize This Long Lost Taco Bell Receipt From The '90s

Picture this: It's May 1999. "Livin' La Vida Loca" is blasting in your car as you drive down the road to your beloved local Taco Bell. You're about to grab your go-to order, probably using nothing but the loose change from the cracks of your couch. Life is good.

Many fast-food connoisseurs can longingly reminisce on when their drive-thru essentials set them back south of five dollars, but as a viral Reddit thread sorrowfully discussed, those times are long gone. It all started in February when user PurpleHerder shared a post on the Mildly Interesting subreddit with the heading: "I found a perfectly preserved Taco Bell receipt from 1999 in a library book I was scanning," and an attached photo of the receipt in question. To the modern Taco Bell patron, the antiquated prices listed on the receipt would be astonishing.

These are all of the items listed on the receipt and their prices today.

The total order

On May 18th, 1999, a Chili Cheese Burrito cost $0.99. Today, you can buy the same item for $2.59, but only at a few participating locations. For the fans of this classic menu item, its mere presence on the receipt, let alone its lower price, is enough to stir up feelings of nostalgia.

The receipt also lists a standard taco as $0.69 but has since climbed up to $1.59. However, its newer, more elaborate counterparts, like the welcomed Taco Supreme and the Cheesy Gordita Crunch, go for up to $4.39. Munching on an airy bag of chips with nacho cheese sauce in 1999 would have brought you down another $0.69. Flash forward two decades, and now you're down $1.69.

Finally, no meal would be complete without a fountain soda to wash it all down. One 16-oz Pepsi, a small, was once $0.89. To stay refreshed with the same item, you would have to fork over another $1.49. 

So, what's the verdict? This entire four-item order once came to a total of $3.50.

So, why the dramatic price jumps?

If you want to place the same order today (in a unicorn of a location that still serves the Chili Cheese Burrito), come prepared with at least $7.36, not including tax. However, a simple taco, burrito, bag of chips, and soda will hike that total up to around $12, a stark contrast to its '90s ancestor.

Why would Taco Bell raise its prices when it has always promoted itself as an affordable and accessible dining option? According to Investopedia, it is generally accepted that fast food has become more expensive over the years due to inflation: rising production costs (i.e., employee wages and the cost of raw materials) lead to rising prices of goods. Thrillist reports that The COVID-19 pandemic also propelled prices, disrupting supply chains and labor demands. Orders at some chains will rack up the bill quicker than others, though, and Taco Bell is definitely on the higher end of the spectrum, according to Business Insider. New additions to the ever-expanding menu, such as the Doritos® Cheesy Gordita Crunch, can cost you more than $4 compared to the $1.59 regular taco (via Taco Bell). 

Let's face it: Times are changing. Whether consumer preferences are shifting on their own or being shifted by the marketing tactics of chains like Taco Bell is up for debate. What we can all agree upon, though, is that the fast-food experience sure isn't what it used to be.