The Hustle's Original Stories

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The quiet disappearance of the safe deposit box

Once revered as the safest way to store physical valuables, safe deposit boxes are now being phased out by major banks. The move is already starting to backfire.

Michael Waters • December 2, 2022

Can you get sued for using a meme?

In recent years, the subjects and photographers behind some of the internet’s most popular memes have taken legal action to protect their work from nefarious actors.

Zachary Crockett • November 19, 2022

How America’s top real estate agent sells 16 homes every day

A typical agent in the US closes on 10 homes in a year. One record-setting agent in Texas does better than that nearly every day.

Mark Dent • November 11, 2022

The fight to build more public bathrooms in America

Today’s cities are almost completely devoid of public toilets. An unfolding movement is trying to change that.

Michael Waters • November 4, 2022

The strange business history of the Ouija board

How an entrepreneur merged spiritualism and capitalism to create a multimillion-dollar brand.

Juliet Bennett Rylah • October 28, 2022

How nuns got squeezed out of the communion wafer business

Altar bread was once made by hundreds of communities of nuns across the US. Now, a for-profit company controls nearly the entire market.

Mark Dent • October 14, 2022

The economics of Costco rotisserie chicken

Costco’s popular chickens have stayed fixed at $4.99 for more than a decade — even in the face of raging inflation. But it’s come at a cost.

Zachary Crockett • October 8, 2022

The banker who caused the 1929 stock crash 

At the outset of the Depression, Charles Mitchell was the most wanted banker in America. Today, his name’s largely been forgotten.

Mark Dent • September 30, 2022

How one of America’s last piano manufacturers stays alive

Piano-building was once one of the country’s largest industries. Today, only two companies remain in business.

Zachary Crockett • September 24, 2022

The family that built a ballpark nachos monopoly

Anytime you order nachos at a sporting event, there’s a good chance they came from a molten-cheese empire in San Antonio, Texas.

Mark Dent • September 16, 2022

The small town that saved its only grocery store — by buying it

Across rural America, independent grocery stores are shuttering. To keep its only store from joining the trend, one small town in Kansas got creative.

Michael Waters • September 10, 2022

What happens when your brand is co-opted by extremists?

Fringe groups have glommed onto brands like Pit Viper, Dr. Martens, and Fred Perry. Can a brand reclaim its identity from unwanted customers?

Selina Lee • August 26, 2022

The architect who became the king of bank robberies

George Leonidas Leslie orchestrated an estimated 80% of all bank robberies in the US in the late 1800s — a total haul worth millions — all while living a strange double life.

Zachary Crockett • August 19, 2022

Why gas is actually cheap in America 

Gas is at record-high prices in the United States, but it still costs far less than elsewhere in the world. And in the long run, Americans might pay for that privilege.

Mark Dent • August 13, 2022

Why is rent skyrocketing?

The Hustle surveyed 3k+ renters and landlords to find out how much rent has gone up in 2022, and what’s driving the surge.

Zachary Crockett • August 6, 2022

The people making millions off Listerine royalties

A little-known provision in a 100-year-old contract opened up the door for private investors to mint money from mouthwash sales.

Michael Waters • July 28, 2022

Why expensive housing prices aren’t good for most real estate agents

A hot housing market has attracted thousands of new agents. For most of them, the gold rush won’t be so lucrative.

Mark Dent • July 22, 2022

America’s favorite family outings are increasingly out of reach

Taking the kids to a baseball game, a movie, or Disneyland is a bigger financial commitment than it used to be for middle-class families.

Zachary Crockett • July 16, 2022

The $500m smiley face business

Nearly 50 years ago, one man ‘invented’ the modern smiley face. Then, another man halfway across the world made it into a multimillion-dollar cash cow.

Zachary Crockett • July 8, 2022

Can a corporation "own" a color?

A handful of companies have pushed the boundaries of intellectual property law by laying claim to individual colors.

Zachary Crockett • June 25, 2022

‘Just stop buying lattes’: The origins of a millennial housing myth

Financial gurus want young home shoppers to stop complaining and cut back on small luxuries. But there are broader affordability issues at play.

Mark Dent • June 18, 2022

A chat with Ray Dalio

We talked to one of the most successful investors in the world about inflation, the debt crisis, and the decline of the American empire.

Zachary Crockett • June 10, 2022

The lucrative economics of expert witnesses

The Depp-Heard trial was the latest courtroom battle to call attention to the gainful microeconomy of expert witnesses.

Zachary Crockett • June 4, 2022

Why America has so few carpenters

The Great Recession led to a carpenter exodus. But cultural and pay issues have stunted the profession’s growth for far longer.

Mark Dent • May 20, 2022

Why a small candy company is Warren Buffett’s ‘dream’ investment

The story of See’s Candies reminds us of the importance of consistency, quality, and long-term growth in investing.

Zachary Crockett • May 13, 2022

Why free stuff makes us irrational

When something is free, people feel a positive glow — and standard cost-benefit analyses go out the window.

Mark Dent • May 6, 2022

The strange business of hole-in-one insurance

When golf tournaments promise big cash prizes for holes-in-one, they turn to niche insurers to protect against a stroke of luck.

Zachary Crockett • April 29, 2022

The surprising afterlife of used hotel soap

Hotel guests leave behind millions of half-used bars of soap every day. A nonprofit is on a mission to repurpose them.

Zachary Crockett • April 22, 2022

The first ‘Easter eggs’ were an act of corporate rebellion

When Atari’s video game designers were stiffed on credit for their work, they expressed their dissatisfaction through hidden messages.

Mark Dent • April 15, 2022

Why most gas stations don’t make money from selling gas

With gas prices climbing up, you may think station owners are getting greedy. But the economics behind the pump tell a different story.

Zachary Crockett • April 15, 2022

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