Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Costco Generation

Last week, as I was sitting at a Costco food court enjoying berry sundaes with a friend, I remembered this story about Costco from when I was a kid. I tell this story a lot - as I did again last week - and so I decided to share it here. It's kind of interesting how something like a retailer or a restaurant can prompt a strong memory from childhood.

Costco has been around nearly as long as I can remember. They opened a location in Martinez, California (near where I grew up) when I was pretty young. I was maybe 8 or 10, I'm not exactly sure. I remember going there with my parents the day the decided to become members. But the really important memory has everything to do with the famous $1.50 Costco hot dog.

In the 80's, Costco didn't have food courts, but they did have a hot dog cart. What could be better for a price-conscious family than shopping in bulk to save a few bucks AND feeding the whole family dinner for $6? As a kid, I couldn't have cared less that this was a bargain price for dinner. What I cared about was that my hot dog came with a can a soda. Whatever kind I wanted. And I got to have the WHOLE can. This, my friends, was a rare treat. Soda made rare appearances at our house although I remember it regularly showing up on vacation and always being available in Grandma's refrigerator. I know, I know, kids sometimes can't finish a whole can, but seriously, you can't put a price on not having to share when you're a kid.

I'm now a Costco member because when you grow up as a Costco kid, it gets into you. My brother is even more of a Costco addict fan than I am. We tease him sometimes that if Costco doesn't sell it he must not need it. (Don't tell him I said that!) I still stop at the Costco food court now and then, and sometimes I still get a hot dog. How is it possible that something like 25 years later, Costco can still sell a hot dog and soda for $1.50?

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1 comment:

  1. Mike and I were just wondering how long Costco has been around. I don't think they've been here in the midwest for quite as long, but we love their $1.50 hot dog, too!