Why Costco Axing Their Polish Hot Dog Is Really for the Best

Polish hot dog
Cole Saladino/Thrillist
Cole Saladino/Thrillist

If there's one thing I've learned from countless failed relationships, it's that telling someone to "just relax" when they are pissed off is a recipe for disaster.  But it must be said, because another recipe for disaster -- quite literally -- is the very subject currently spleening the Internetting public, so very hard.

And **ahem** everyone should just relax.

Yes, Costco is removing their (really bad tasting) Polish hot dog from their food courts, imminently.

And people are mad. Like, very, very, unreasonably, spittle-shooting mad. It's as if the United Nations passed a statute that decreed all future t-shirts must bear the emblem "Me So Horny" across the chest. It's like the Internet has just all stepped on a collective pile of Legos whilst barefoot. You would think someone's poor sweet Granny just got bushed into a swimming pool with her iPhone in her pocket.

But no, you should not care.  

Costco's food court is a distinct, beloved, earnest slice of discount, faster-than-fast food. It's basically like upscale microwave food. Like a latchkey kid somehow got hold of industrial kitchen equipment. I would know, I spent two hours inside the hallowed walls of a Harlem Costco tasting and ranking every item they graciously sell to bulk shoppers that are famished from lugging around industrial-sized crates of Capri Sun.

But the Polish hot dog is and always has been the one, egregious, wrinkly stain on an otherwise perfect (I mean, for a discount bulk store food court…) menu. To quote myself, which I swear I don't often do:

"They say you eat with your eyes, and if that is true, then my retinas were woozy before this wrinkly, green pepper-bedazzled sausage even hit my lips. It looked like Donatella Versace's big toe after a three-hour dip in the Adriatic Sea. And it tasted minty. Pass."

The Polish hot dog is the only menu item that is actively nasty. It's the one thing on the menu I ate and said, "Wow I would never eat this again, even if im just stopping for a quick recharge after deciding I do in fact need four gallons of ketchup right 'effin now.

But here's the deal: the Polish hot dog is a necessary causality. It's taking one for the team. It's banishment to the realm of fast food that no longer exists ('sup McDonald's Pizza?) is only happening to create a Thanos-esque balance on Costco's updated, health-leaning menu.

In returning, Coscto shoppers will be gaining an organic burger, a (surprisingly meatless) protein salad, and a (surprisingly trendy if this were 2012) acai bowl. As Costco's legendary food court is notoriously dirt-ass cheap, and food with any semblance of health is infamously pricey (for a variety of reasons too dense to properly unpack here), it would seem like Costo is tweaking their fare, for the greater good. The rest of their menu will remain caloric haymaker to the gut -- don't worry. You can still get their pizza. You can still snag one of their hot dogs (which have been there since day one, and still cost $1.50). You can still wander the cavernous aisles with a churro in hand.

And I mention the churro specifically, not because it's the (second) best thing you can buy at Costco's food court, but because it currently is the only vegan option at the food court -- until the new menu is unveiled.

So let's step back, and look at the happenings, as a whole.

  • Costco is adding three new, cheap healthy items to their menu
  • One of which, is a (sorely needed) vegan item
  • In order to do so -- as they are a business after all -- they are removing the literal worst thing on the menu.

Here's what I think. People, in general, are afraid of change. People are also usually hostile towards healthy options on otherwise unhealthy menus. Half the folks outrage-tweeting over Polish hot dogs probably haven't even had one since the Bush administration. Costco is subtracting a negative from their menu, and adding three positives.

Get over it.

As Joni Mitchell once said, "you don't know what you got till it's gone."

What I'm saying is, "you don't care enough to pretend to care about what you got, till it's removed to make room for an acai bowl."  

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Wil Fulton is a staff writer at Thrillist and a passionate doer of other stuff. For more info, you'll have to do a free background check.