Costco’s famous $1.50 hot dog and soda combo is more than a lunchtime bargain.
It’s an object of corporate mythology, an anti-inflation icon, and more recently, a famous TikTok t-shirt design.
A quick Google search for “Costco hot dog shirt” brings up dozens of results from retailers all over the web with designs featuring the no-frills signage found in all Costco food courts.
Jacob, the artist behind the page who asked that his last name not be used, was doing a project in March where he posted a new poster design “everyday until I ran out of ideas “.
“I had the idea to draw it,” Jacob said of the Costco signage. “I hadn’t seen anyone make an illustration of it. I tinkered with some pictures I could find online and made an illustration based on that.”
He created the artwork in Photoshop and uploaded it to his page. The post quickly went viral, garnering almost 2 million views and over 240,000 likes, as well as comments begging for a tee.
Each print features the now-famous line that Costco CEO Craig Jelinek says founder Jim Sinegal uttered when Jelinek suggested that markups on the quarter-pound franc were bad for business: “If you raise the ( price of) fucking hot dog, I’ll kill you.”
The shirts start at $22.95, which is the price of 15 hot dog and soda combos.
Jacob, who says the design is a bestseller for its sideways fuss, thinks people want to wear clothes with the hot dog because they feel like Costco is a brand that’s on their side.
“Everything seems to be getting more and more expensive,” he explains. “It’s refreshing to see a company stand up for its customers instead of trying to sell them every moment.”
Rich Erwin, who runs the Louisville, Kentucky-based Chudly store, has started selling a Costco hot dog t-shirt after spotting the design on a bumper sticker.
He has seen sales soar over the past month and attributes the shirt’s popularity to the “outrageousness” of a $1.50 combo deal.
“If you’re wearing this, there are other people who are just as excited about Costco’s $1.50 hot dog tradition who will see this shirt and come tell you about it,” he told Make. It.
Despite the popularity of his design, Jacob admits he’s not actually a Costco cardholder.
“I’m not (a member),” he says. “My girlfriend is, though. So I can go with her once in a while and experience it.”
A Costco representative declined to comment for this story.
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