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Sept. 21, 2020, 3:31 p.m. EDT

Costco co-founder once said ‘I will kill you’ to CEO who wanted to hike the price of the $1.50 hot dog combo

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Shawn Langlois

Jim Sinegal, Costco’s /zigman2/quotes/201191698/composite COST -1.69% co-founder, has always been fiercely customer first, an approach the wholesale giant has fostered for decades. Of course, shareholders aren’t complaining, considering how the stock has fared since it IPO’d decades ago at a split-adjusted $1.67 a share.

At last check, it was trading around $334.

A small testament to that customer-focused mindset is the beloved hot dog and soda combination, which has been offered for a mere $1.50 ever since it debuted in 1985.

That, however, might have changed if Craig Jelinek, who replaced Sinegal as CEO in 2012, had his way. According to an article from 2018 , Jelinek threw out the idea of raising the price of the iconic combo, and drew a rather strongly worded response from Sinegal. “If you raise the [price of the] effing hot dog, I will kill you. Figure it out,” is what Jelinek recalled Sinegal saying.

Two years later, and that quote really struck a chord on social media Sunday. This tweet, from an account with less than 1,000 followers, blew up to the tune of more than 400,000 likes overnight:

As the story goes, Costco stopped using Hebrew National as its supplier and built a Kirkland Signature hot dog factory in Los Angeles and then later in Chicago to keep prices at a level that would allow the $1.50 price tag to continue. Fans are still eating them up in big numbers. In fact, Costco sold more than 151 million combos last year and, back in January, Jelinek told investors that he has no plans to raise prices. “End of story,” he said.

The tweet clearly reminded Costco loyalists of why they continue to support the company, and they shared some of that love on Twitter /zigman2/quotes/203180645/composite TWTR -5.33% :

We’ll get an idea of how Costco, which got a big coronavirus boost earlier this year, performed in the quarter that just ended in August when the company posts financial results later this week. The numbers are expected to show increases in both profit and revenue.

/zigman2/quotes/201191698/composite
US : U.S.: Nasdaq
$ 366.41
-6.31 -1.69%
Volume: 864,116
Oct. 28, 2020 1:04p
P/E Ratio
40.62
Dividend Yield
0.76%
Market Cap
$164.45 billion
Rev. per Employee
$600,967
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/zigman2/quotes/203180645/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 48.54
-2.74 -5.33%
Volume: 11.15M
Oct. 28, 2020 1:04p
P/E Ratio
N/A
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
$40.55 billion
Rev. per Employee
$776,112
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