Costco’s famous $1.50 hot dog and soda combo is more than a great lunch deal.
It’s an object of corporate mythology, an inflation-proof icon and, most recently, a TikTok famous 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 every Costco food court.
Jacob, the artist behind the page who asked that his last name not be used, was doing a project in March where he released a new poster design “every day until I run out of ideas.”
“I had the idea to draw it,” Jacob said of the Costco signage. “I hadn’t seen anyone do an illustration of it. I cobbled together some photos that I could find online and I made an illustration based on that.”
He created the artwork in Photoshop and uploaded it to his page. The post quickly went viral, garnering nearly 2 million views and more than 240,000 likes, as well as comments demanding a tee.
Each print features the now-famous line that Costco CEO Craig Jelinek says founder Jim Sinegal uttered when Jelinek suggested the margins on quarter-pound frank were bad for business: “If you raise the [price of the] f—ing hot dog, I will kill you.”
The shirts start at $22.95, equivalent to the price of 15 hot dog and soda combos.
Jacob, who says the design is a best-seller for his side hustle, thinks people want to wear clothes featuring the hot dog because they feel like Costco is a brand that is on their side.
“Everything feels like it’s getting more expensive all the time,” he explains. “It’s refreshing to see a company standing up for its customers instead of trying to nickel and dime them at every turn.”
Rich Erwin, who runs the Louisville, Ky.-based shop Chudly, started selling a Costco hot dog tee after spotting the design on a bumper sticker.
He has seen sales spike in the past month, and credits the popularity of the shirt to how “outrageous” of a deal the $1.50 combo is.
“If you wear this out, there are other people who are also as excited about the lore of the $1.50 hot dog from Costco who will see this shirt and come talk to you about it,” he tells Make It.
Despite the popularity of his design, Jacob admits that he’s not actually a Costco cardholder.
“I’m not [a member],” he says. “My girlfriend is, though. So I get to go with her every once in a while and experience it.”
A representative for Costco declined to comment on this story.
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