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The avocado toast homeownership meme, explained

How the innocent avocado toast became a synonym for millennial excess

green background, photo overlay of a shingle-style home covered with illustrated avocado toasts
How many avocado toasts for this house?
Photo by Kelly Shea and Brendan Banks | Illustration by Jordan Sondler

Sixty-six million years ago, ancient giant ground sloths consumed avocados whole, traveled long distances, and, ahem, fertilized and dispersed the seed. Today, we still have avocados—and an affordable housing crisis that only seems to be getting worse.

There’s a lot that can happen in 66 million years, but surely the prehistoric giant ground sloths would have never dreamed that these two seemingly separate entities—avocados and real estate—could be as intrinsically tied as they are today. So how did we get here?

Well.

One year ago today, Australian millionaire developer Tim Gurner sat down for an interview with 60 Minutes Australia. For context, Gurner hails from Melbourne, the fifth-least-affordable housing market in the world, according to the 14th Annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey.

In Melbourne, people pay up to almost 10 times their annual income to purchase a home. And in neighboring Sydney, the second-least-affordable housing market in the world, it’s up to almost 13 times the annual income.

In a world always hungry for clickbaity blanket answers to deeply complicated problems, Gurner produced one of the tastiest sound bites we were blessed with in 2017.

“When I was trying to buy my first home, I wasn’t buying smashed avocados for $19 and four coffees at $4 each,” Gurner said in his interview.

Naturally, the internet had some feelings about this

There’s the kind of receipts you get when you pay for your restaurant bill and the kind that Kim Kardashian had on a certain country-turned-pop artist’s baseless lyric claims.

In this case, folks on the internet took the arithmetic from the former and the thesis from the latter to create some of the best tweet responses to the Australian millionaire’s dubious hot take.

There were also some people who were just angry.

And others who decided to do a little digging into Tim Gurner’s, um, self-proclaimed expertise in millennials being able to afford homes.

And Australians online had some mixed feelings on how one of their very own had managed to create such a nerve-striking meme that took on a life of its own.

And because there’s no such thing as a slow news day, we can’t forget that on the fateful day of May 15, 2017, this meme was bubbling up in the midst of a Kickstarter for man rompers and the U.S. president giving Russia classified intelligence.

So, why did it stick around?

In August 2017, the three-month-old meme bounced back as a related meme took off: “Hold my avocado”, a brilliant riff-off of the “hold my beer” meme, was dubbed “the viral catchphrase millennials have been looking for” by Time.

Some rallied behind Time’s classification of this tweet.

While others served some hot takes of their own.

Meanwhile, the avocado continued to manifest itself in meme-worthy ways.

Take Avocado Rat, where the poster herself pointed out the fruit’s unshakable association with its toasty counterpart.

Even the rats in #nyc are on trend. Hope he finds some toast. #avocadorat #

A post shared by Jessica Edwards (@jesslena_edwards) on

And in December 2017, these uncomfortable-looking seedless avocados were introduced by British retail chain Marks & Spencer.

A month later, there was the Donald Trump’s “paying for the wall by hiking prices on avocados” incident, a whole different rabbit hole that our friends over at Vox have explained in full detail.

And this past February, we all got mad again about avocado marriage proposals.

pls? (@fooddeco)

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Then in May, the BBC political debate show Question Time tweeted out this innocent question.

And the internet did its thing and pulled up once more with the stat by stat breakdown.

As you can see, the meme just keeps evolving in amusing and strange ways—who knows what will come next?

For those who can’t help but be intrigued by all things avocado toast and homeownership, follow along at our Instagram account The Avocado Dream, where we calculate how many avocado toasts it costs to buy some delectable houses, and then some.

some people just don't get it! ‍♀️ ‍♀️

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