Why Do Hot Dogs Come in Packs of Ten and Buns in Packs of Six or Eight?

A previously inexplicable conundrum

Secret Now Revealed at the Academy of Arts and Imbecility
~~ A Pythagorean Mystery ~~


After several years of research both within the Science and Philosopy and the Marketing Research (espionage) Departments, this secret has finally been unravelled. It is here published for the first time.

Divide those numbers by two -- reduce them by their lowest common factor -- and you end up with 5, 3, 4. This series corresponds with the "Perfect Right-Angled Triangle" of Pythagoras, where with these whole numbers "the sum of the squares of units measuring the legs equals the square of the hypotenuse" -- that is, 3² + 4² = 5². This ratio is a Universal Truth that has an influence on human behavior whether one is conscious of it or not (like the tides).

How does this relate to the posited question? Here is the application of the theory:

With the buns representing the hypotenuse, 5 units (packages) will supply either 30 or 40 rolls, translating in a dog-to-bun relationship, as respectively 3 or 4 hot-dog packets. This is the lowest ratio at which the two components share out equally with no remainders. It is also statistically the optimal number of franks that would be provided at a middle-American outdoor barbecue of market-researched typical size, depending on how many children are present as opposed to adults (of course the children's barbecue would utilize the 8-bun pack). Those quantities also optimize profits as to content vs. packaging costs.

This was carefully worked out by marketing scientists and soothsayers at a conference held in Peekskill NY in June 1956. [Participating sausage and bread manufacturors will not be named on this page to protect our sources.] Apart from the metaphysical implications, which foreshow an overwhelmingly compulsive effect on human behavioral patterns at a subliminal level, the marketing habits of the shopping housewife were taken into account at the more practical level. A side-effect, which was predicted but dismissed as irrelevant, was that there would be some wastage either on the bun side or the wienie side, especially when it came to bachelors or couples. They were rendered insignificant as a group to be catered for, as they were not likely to care. (A similar situation occurred around the same time in the tobacco industry regarding unfiltered cigarettes when it was determined consumption could be increased by emphasising the health aspects of filters -- even though there were none -- to the detriment of die-hards who preferred your plain natural cigarette.)

We respectfully submit that this revelation will put the question to rest. It is an instance of the mystical alignment of abstract Universal principles with the more self-serving side of human nature.


Report Prepared by:
Professor Waldo Immerzian, Director
Willis Orsoni, Producer
Imelda Tartov, Sec'y
Darien Rusk, Ariadne Weaver, Tokin Schwartz, and Paula Hontas, Assistants