🤬 Customers are pissed - The Hustle
The Hustle

🤬 Customers are pissed

Plus: Met-uhhhhh, a clever RPG, airplane “mileage runners,” and more.

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If you’ve ever wondered who took the red pill, it’s Keanu Reeves. The Matrix star revealed in a Reddit AMA that he kept the film prop.

In today’s email:

  • Lego: The company keeps on building.
  • The weird world of airplane “mileage runners.”
  • Revenge: Customers want it.
  • Around the Web: A sweet toll, a clever RPG, an AI explainer, and more cool internet finds.

🎧 On the go? Listen to today’s podcast to hear Zack and Rob break down Lego’s empire, Amazon’s savvy football strategy, how Facebook is staying alive, and more.

The big idea

Brick by brick, Lego keeps on building

In 2022, the company saw strong growth compared to its fellow toymakers.
Jacob Cohen

It’s easy to forget Lego nearly went bankrupt in 2003, given all its success today.

On Tuesday, Lego reported that sales last year jumped 17% YoY to $9.27B.

After passing Mattel on the toy sales charts in 2014, the 90-year-old Danish company now brings in ~2x its fellow toymaker’s revenue, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Lego’s recent success is also markedly different from developments at Hasbro, which saw revenue decline 9% YoY and recently announced plans to cut 15% of its workforce.

So, what’s going well at Lego?

The company’s been quick to bring new toys to market — last year, 48% of Lego’s products were new — and in expanding its retail footprint. In 2022, Lego opened 155 new shops, with an emphasis on China, bringing its total store count to 904.

Lego has also weathered global supply chain challenges relatively well because of its focus on vertical integration. Last year, the company broke ground on a new factory in Vietnam, and plans to open another in Virginia.

Digital has also been huge

The company said its Builder App was downloaded 13.6m times in 2022, up 42% YoY, and that its social app was downloaded 7.1m times.

Also in 2022, Lego’s website saw 395m visits, up 38% YoY, and the company’s digital team grew 43% to 1.3k people.

This year, Lego plans to launch a kid-friendly metaverse as part of a $1B investment partnership with Epic Games.

Fun fact: Researchers found that a single Lego brick can withstand 950 lbs. of force, or the weight of 375k bricks on top of it.


Beef: Elon Musk publicly accused ex-Twitter employee Haraldur Thorleifsson, who has muscular dystrophy, of using his disability to avoid work. Thorleifsson, Iceland’s 2022 person of the year, replied via Twitter.


Tik Tube: TikTok announced a new paywalled video feature called  Series. Each Series can include up to 80 videos, each up to 20 minutes long.

Speaking of… Senators unveiled another bill that could make it easier to ban foreign tech with access to “sensitive personal data” from 1m+ Americans.

Met-uhhhhh: Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp owner Meta is reportedly planning to cut thousands more employees. In November, the company slashed 13% of its staff, or 11k people.

Speaking of… “Contrary to reports otherwise, Facebook is not dead nor dying,” Facebook head Tom Alison wrote in a new blog post.

Hold up: The DOJ is suing to block JetBlue’s $3.8B acquisition of Spirit Airlines, arguing the merger would result in pricier flights and fewer choices.

Bulking up: WeightWatchers is acquiring Sequence, which offers subscription telehealth care for weight management, for $106m.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the state will cut ties with Walgreens over its decision to stop carrying abortion pills. Shares fell ~1.7% on the news.

‘Murica: Amazon said its Black Friday NFL game will be free to stream for non-Prime members. “You see that tackle?!” “No, but my gosh — the prices on that toilet paper!”

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz will testify in a US Senate hearing over alleged union busting. To date, 290 cafes have voted to unionize.

Employee-owned: Transforming a business into an employee-owned company is a powerful way for leadership to incentivize workers. Here’s how it works.

Feature story
Zachary Crockett

Why some travelers fly across the world without leaving the airport

Jacob Cohen

A few years ago, Kimi Coy and her mother, Carolyn Benyshek, booked a mother-daughter trip to Singapore.

Benyshek flew 2.5 hours from Colorado Springs to meet Coy in Atlanta. The pair took a 15-hour connecting flight to Narita, Japan, then boarded another 7-hour flight to Singapore.

Less than 24 hours after landing, they flew home.

Trips like this are known as mileage runs. These are flights where the mileage is the purpose, not the destination. Travelers take them to earn or maintain elite status with airlines.

The airline miles propelled Coy into platinum status on Delta, qualifying her for several perks.

“Sacrificing that one weekend was absolutely worth it,” said Coy, who also made a similar trip to Budapest.

But are the miles really worth the trouble? And how do mileage runs stack up in a post-pandemic world of higher prices and fewer flights?

Read the full story. →
Free Resource

50 interview questions to keep you sharp

Practice? We talkin’ about practice?

Damn right we are. But we did the hard part, and bundled this up for you.

Here’s a pack of 50 questions that will prep you for success, upgrade your competence, and hopefully, help you hop on payroll.

Inside the interview guide:

  • Pregame pointers
  • 50 common questions (with explainers and examples)
  • 10 questions for hiring managers

Shoot your shot — and do it with confidence.

50 questions →
Served Cold

Americans want revenge on companies for bad service

Nearly 75% of Americans had a problem with a company in the last year.
Mark Dent

Now is not the time to mess with the American consumer.

Per The Wall Street Journal, the National Customer Rage Survey indicates more people than ever are pissed off at companies. New results show 74% of consumers had a problem with a company’s product or service in the past year — up from 66% in 2020, 56% in 2017, and 32% in 1976, the first time a similar survey was released.

People are angry because…

… of a decline in quality across the economy.

  • Between 2018 and 2022, the American Customer Satisfaction Index fell from ~77 to 73 on a scale of 0-100, the lowest level since the early 2000s. Industries like fast food, gas stations, and hotels saw declines in satisfaction.

A rising number of frustrated consumers are letting companies hear about it: 43% of Rage Survey respondents said they raised their voice when sharing their complaints with a company, up from 35% in 2017.

They get even louder when they find out they’re talking to a robot. Rage Survey respondents described “being forced to listen to long messages” before speaking to a human as one of their biggest beefs.

Revenge levels are up, too

Per the Rage Survey, 9% of Americans, up from 3% in 2020, have sought revenge against a company by publicly complaining online or in person. That’s still down from a 17% average between 2003 and 2017.

All that anger can be expensive. In 2020, researchers behind the National Consumer Rage Survey estimated that bad customer service could cost corporations $494B.


🚐 On this day: In 1950, Volkswagen began producing its microbus, now an icon of the ‘60s hippie movement.

🍬 Cure boredom: Gain candy, spend it on gear, and go on fantastical quests in this cute RPG.

🤖 Video: This explainer breaks down the truth about AI, and how marketers and entrepreneurs can take advantage.

🐻‍❄️ That’s interesting: In a remote Canadian town, a polar bear jail helps them coexist with humans.

🐘 Aww: And now, a sugar cane toll.


Hurry, mom!! They’re picking my brain!! (Link)

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Today’s email was brought to you by Jacob Cohen, Juliet Bennett Rylah, and Rob Litterst.
Editing by: Mark “Raging customer” Dent.

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