❤️ Inflationary dating - The Hustle
The Hustle

❤️ Inflationary dating

Plus: No more shrimp bags, everyone’s air frying, free short stories, a cool podcast, and more.

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Kraft Heinz reportedly signed a deal with K-12 schools across the US to offer Lunchables as school lunch. Thankfully, the packages will feature “improved nutrition.”

In today’s email:

  • Amazon: A pause on its fancy HQ2.
  • Chart: It’s not you, it’s money.
  • Digits: Wild numbers from around the news.
  • Around the Web: Clever thieves, free short stories, a useful podcast, and more cool internet finds.

🎧 On the go? Listen to today’s podcast to hear about Amazon’s HQ2 slowdown, the rising cost of dating, America’s obsession with air fryers, and more.

The big idea

Amazon’s Virginia bummer

Amazon made Arlington, Virginia, a lot of promises with its HQ2. Those are on pause.
Juliet Bennett Ryla

The ecommerce giant was flying high amid the pandemic as consumers flocked to online shopping. Now, CEO Andy Jassy is cutting costs, most notably by laying off 18k+ employees.

It’s also paused construction on HQ2, its second headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, Amazon real estate chief John Schoettler confirmed to Bloomberg. Plus:

  • Last week, Amazon announced the closure of eight Go convenience stores across Seattle, NYC, and San Francisco.
  • In 2022, it announced plans to shutter its Amazon Pop Up, Books, and 4-star stores.
  • Also stopped are construction projects in Nashville and Bellevue, Washington.

In 2017…

… Amazon’s second HQ suggested a $5B+ construction investment and up to 50k high-paying jobs. Cities offered competing tax and other incentives. Columbus, Ohio, even vowed to lower its murder rate.

Amazon chose Arlington — which offered up to $550m in hiring incentives and a portion of its hotel tax — and NYC, though the latter was scrapped amid pushback.

Today in Arlington

Met Park, a two-tower complex that can accommodate 14k+ workers, is still scheduled to open in June. Amazon has hired 8k+ people in the Arlington area, and plans to hire 25k, per The New York Times.

On pause is PenPlace, a complex consisting of three office towers and a conference center.

Per Schoettler, Amazon remains committed to Arlington, but is “evaluating space plans to make sure they fit our business needs.”

Jassy has ordered Amazon employees back in the office three days per week, but 14k+ workers joined an internal Slack channel in protest. Broadly, workers are less inclined to value fancy office perks over flexibility.

Meanwhile: Amazon has provided no timeline for when it’ll pick up construction in Virginia yet, but its stock rose nearly 3% on the news. However, developer JBG Smith Properties saw an 8% dip — a record low, per Bloomberg. Ouch.


More Heinz news: Elvis Francois, who was recently lost at sea for 24 days, survived in part because of a bottle of Heinz ketchup. After he was saved, it didn’t take long for Kraft Heinz Co. to offer to buy him a new boat.


iPhone, made in India. Apple supplier Foxconn could expand its Indian iPhone production capacity to ~20m units per year by 2024, up from ~6m today, as Apple looks to diversify away from China.

Charged up: London-based Electrify Video Partners raised $50m to invest in and buy YouTube channels.

Price cuts: Meta is slashing the Meta Quest Pro’s price tag from $1,499.99 to $999.99, and the 256GB Quest 2 from $499.99 to $429.99.

Inflection AI, a startup working on a personal assistant for the web, could raise $675m, after raising $225m in 2022.

#BoycottWalgreens trended on Twitter after the pharmacy chain decided it wouldn’t carry abortion pills in 20 states, including some where they’re legal, per the request of those states’ attorneys general.

Character.ai a company that hosts ChatGPT-like conversations in the style of various characters, from Elon Musk to Mario — is now valued at ~$1B.

Dumpster dive: Funko is tossing $30m+ worth of its Funko Pop! toys, claiming its unsold stock is too costly to store.

Creed III’s $58.6m domestic box office debut exceeded expectations and, per MGM, is the biggest opening ever for a sports film.

Freeze your future: Until 2012, egg freezing was still considered an “experimental” procedure. Now, startups are innovating the industry to make the process more accessible and affordable.

Singdhi Sokpo

Green flag: Being a cheap date during inflation

Dating spend is up 40% in the last decade.
Jacob Cohen

TikToker Marin Haugo recently embarked on an experiment of love in New York City: 28 dates in 28 days.

Throughout the run, one man spent $1k across six dates with Haugo. Another spent $600 on their night out.

While the price tags on some of Haugo’s dates are far from the norm, the experiment surfaced a reminder for many:

Dating has gotten really expensive

Match Group recently estimated US daters are collectively spending $117.4B annually looking for love, or $1.56k/person per year, up 40% in the last decade.

Match, which is testing a $500/mo. Tinder plan, has found that today’s singles’ top three worries aren’t looks, first impressions, or rejection, but the economy, their long-term finances, and the effects of inflation.

Another report from LendingTree found 19% of daters are going on fewer dates because of inflation. That’s understandable:

  • The latest inflation report showed the price of eating food away from home was up 8.2% YoY, and the cost of drinking alcohol away from home was up 6.9%.

Another stat: MassMutual reported that the average American spends $121k on dating throughout their lifetime.

Free Resource

The deep dive on when to post on Instagram

Insert “Spider-Man pointing” meme for those who use Instagram for growth, and the everyday folks who just love dopamine.

We’re dropping you a gift. It’s a cheat code, and excessively thorough. Scan this data-backed blog post to catch more eyes on the ‘gram. It has findings from 100m+ posts and 1m+ users.

Featured in the read:

  • “When to post” cheat sheet
  • Global Instagram engagement chart
  • Breakdowns by industry, time zone, and day of week
  • Slides for retailers, educators, farmers, marketers, and more
  • The best time to post Reels

To help your pictures get the digits they deserve.

When-to-’gram cheat sheets →

Digits: Fries, VR, and more news numbers

Plus: Fryers, defense budgets, and car repossessions.
Jacob Cohen

1) To help streamline operations for Chili’s 1.1k+ locations and 60k workers, CEO Kevin Hochman ended an unnecessary shrimp-bagging process that’ll save the company ~$6m a year. He also ended the practice of serving fries in baskets, saving employees from washing 40m baskets a year.

2) During an internal presentation, Meta’s vice president for VR, Mark Rabkin, told staff that Meta has sold 20m+ Quest headsets to date. For comparison, the Nintendo GameCube only sold 21m consoles ever.

3) Well, that’s… neat. Check out Ford’s 14-page patent application for a system that could make it easier to repossess a car with self-driving tech. “We don’t have any plans to deploy this,” a Ford spokesperson told NPR.

4) In 2022, Americans spent ~$1B buying air fryers, up 51% from 2019. Adam Graves, president of Nestle US’s pizza and snacks division estimates that ~60% of US homes now have the kitchen gadget.

5) China is expected to increase its defense budget by 7.2% to 1.56T yuan ($230B). Last year, the US government authorized $800B+ in defense spending for 2023, up from $767B in 2022 and $755B in 2021.


💊 On this day: In 1899, Germany’s Bayer patented aspirin. Originally sold as a prescription powder, it became available as an over-the-counter tablet in 1915.

🐢 That’s interesting: The Banū Sāsān was a group of 12th-century Persian thieves who used animals, including tortoises and at least one ape, as accomplices.

🎧 Tune in: Lenny Rachitsky joined Marketing Against the Grain to break down how he makes $500k/yr. as a creator.

📚 Useful: Need a quick distraction? This free library of short stories includes word counts and estimated reading times.

🐶 Aww: And now, a dramatic entrance.


Immediately no. (Link)

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Today’s email was brought to you by Jacob Cohen, Juliet Bennett Rylah, and Rob Litterst.
Editing by: Mark “No Friday meetings” Dent.

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