We sold microwaved hot dogs for $5 each and made a small fortune

Tracey Folly

*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events I experienced firsthand; used with permission.

I worked at an ice cream stand. Occasionally, customers asked for something a little more substantial than ice cream sundaes or thick creamy milkshakes. People on their way home from the nearby beaches often stopped by the ice cream stand, and they were hungry.

The business owner came up with the brilliant idea to sell microwaved hot dogs for five bucks a pop. They sold like hotcakes.

Personally, I felt surprised to learn we would sell hot dogs alongside our traditional waffle cones and tropical smoothies. Fortunately, it wasn't much more than a minor inconvenience.

Preparing the hot dogs was easy. We kept them unwrapped and ready to go in a small cooler in the back room. When a customer ordered an overpriced hot dog, we'd toss them in the microwave for less than one minute, slather them in onions, mustard, and relish, and serve them up in cold buns.

We got no complaints. Never underestimate the power of a hot juicy hot dog to a hungry customer.

The business owner was delighted. The hot dogs were bringing in a small fortune, and they cost less money and less time than anything else we sold at the ice cream stand that summer. The profit margin was high, and the boss wanted more of it.

He started requiring us to ask every customer if they wanted a hot dog. Then it was two hot dogs.

If you wanted a Coke, we asked you if you wanted to buy a pair of hot dogs. If you wanted an ice cream cone, we offered hot dogs. Banana split? Hot dogs.

By the end of my long shifts, my hair and clothes reeked of the smell of microwaved hot dogs. The cash registers were stuffed with five-dollar bills, and the boss was very pleased with himself.

I worked there for only a summer. So I don't know whether microwaved hot dogs continued to be part of my former boss's business plan. I assume it was. Why would he give up such a lucrative addition to a menu that otherwise contained only frozen treats and soda pop?

While I don't typically order hot dogs on the go, I've definitely eaten some pretty overpriced cheeseburgers. I once paid $10.00 for a single regular-size cheeseburger at a farmer's market without toppings. It was just a burger, bun, cheddar, and an unremarkable blob of barbecue sauce.

I took it to go and carried it home wrapped in a greasy napkin. They didn't even give me a paper plate. When I got home, I had to add my own ketchup and mustard.

Recently, I paid even more for a burger at Five Guys Burgers and Fries, but that was in 2022 in the thick of inflation when prices for everything rose to eye-watering heights.

Would you spend five bucks for a microwaved hot dog? What's the most overpriced underwhelming food you've ever ordered? Comments are welcome.

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