You’re Invited: A $1.50 Costco Lunch

I recently saw a post on Facebook that posed the following query “If you could take any three people to lunch at Costco for their $1.50 hot dog and a drink, who would you take? I found it interesting to scan through the comments that people made. Costco began this practice in 1985 and has held to that price for almost 40 years with no plans to change the price. That in itself makes the meal legendary, almost like its a part of Americana. Admittedly, they changed the hot dog from Hebrew National to the in-house Kirkland Signature dogs, but the dogs remain “all beef hot dogs.” According to the company, they sell approximately 151 million of the combos annually which surpasses the number of hot dogs sold annually by Major League Baseball.

As a retired businessman and accounting professor there is a part of me that says Costco does this as a loss leader. People come in for a cheap lunch and leave having spent 100’s of dollars in the rest of the store. Good strategy. 

Back to the Facebook post. You get to take three people of your choosing to lunch at Costco for a total of $6. Who do you take? Some people responded EWWWW! Hot dogs? No way!” Others would take celebrities, deceased friends or relatives, three random homeless people, Jesus and the Holy Trinity, among other choices. But what I observed was that the responses tended to tell me something about the person giving the answer. I don’t want to overthink this, but one could make some assumptions about the spirituality of these responses.

One respondent said that he would invite three dead people, so he would have four hot dogs all to himself. Obviously, someone who tends to be self-centered, or at least someone who doesn’t take himself very seriously.

Many responses indicated a desire for a family reunion of sorts by inviting relatives, living or dead. Strong traditional family ties would be indicated here, maybe along with some regrets.

Celebrities were on the list of many people. Maybe a couple of things at play here. People who are star-struck and want some time with their favorite celebrities or an opportunity to get to know these people as real persons.  One person even included a combination of individuals who did not see eye-to-eye so he could sit back and watch the “spirited” discussion. Choices such as Donald Trump, Barack Obama, and Hilary Clinton. Beware of thrown hot dogs! 

A number of people included famous people from the past on their lists. My guess is a desire to learn more about these people and a chance to learn from them.

There were plenty of people who wanted to invite Jesus, God, and/or the Holy Spirit. This struck me as interesting as we alway have the opportunity to speak to them through prayer. But maybe a little face-to-face time would gain some new insights . One person included Jesus in hopes He would turn the Pepsi into wine.

Several altruistic individuals would invite three homeless people. While this is obviously a worthy venture, this is something you could do anyway. Why not try it?

Some have poor math skills or they were rule-breakers as their list was longer than three invitees.

Please do not take offense at what I have written here. It was done in good fun and to help us think about why people would respond as they did. For me, I’m not sure who I would invite. I would like the opportunity to speak and talk with some of the many people who have meant so much to me over the years. Maybe some of my teachers who tried to steer me in the right direction. Or business colleagues.  Growing up, I must admit that I was a Yankee fan. What a delight it would be to talk with Mickey Mantle, Bobby Richardson, and Whitey Ford. It would also be nice to dine with my deceased parents and the only grandparent I ever knew. Maybe ancestors I never met. Or my late wife of 48 years. It would be fun to catch up with high school or college friends. In the end, I think I would invite people who are here today, people I know and love so I could show them some love and appreciation. My wife, Heather, comes to mind but she probably wouldn’t eat a hot dog. My two grown children and one of their spouses (of course, that gets me in the dog house for leaving out one spouse). Maybe my three grandchildren, at least that’s an easy number with no one left out. Maybe some members of my step-family but there are far more than three of them.

You know what? At $1.50 a person, there is no real limit to who I could take. It’s been an interesting exercise to think about this and think of people in my life, past and present, who have meant so much to me. So, everybody. Let’s all get together for a John Stancil Friends and Family reunion at the local Costco. I’m buying ($1.50 limit per person). Take some time and think about who you would bring. Maybe post your answers in the comments.

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