Is haul culture making us broke?

Is haul culture making us broke?

Unless you were living under a rock at the end of November you would have, like myself, been hit with an overwhelming amount of Black Friday deals and discounts brought to your attention not only by the brands themselves but by a stream of bloggers too. (Note: I’m banning the phrase ‘swipe up’ from 2018). A few days later and you couldn’t move for Black Friday ‘hauls’ showing us the ‘bargains’ that they have picked up. Now I’m all for a haul video but have things gone a little too far? Are our favourite bloggers and YouTubers making us broke?

When I first discovered the humble ‘haul’ video a few years ago things were pretty innocent. It’s just like sitting down with a friend or family member after they’ve gone shopping and them telling you about the things they picked up. There’s something almost calming and soothing about it.  Except unlike Mum showing you her new M&S cardi she picked up in the sale there are bags and bags of items being shown to us every week with more haul videos than ever flooding our inboxes.

 

Haul videos have been popular for a long time and can often to be the most viewed style of video on a YouTubers channel so there is no surprise that the way they executed has changed over the years. There is money to be made through affiliate links that click-through to product pages and so quite frankly the more products that a YouTuber shows us, the more chance there is that we will purchase something and they will earn something in return. I have no problem with affiliate links, I think they are great way for people to earn an income, but as viewers we must be aware that some bloggers and vloggers may be just showing us or talking so positively about a certain product with the aim of getting more click-throughs.

There are things they don’t tell you

Viewers, especially younger, more impressionable ones, may see their favourite YouTuber buying hundreds of pounds worth of clothes a month and see it as aspirational, even thinking less of themselves if they can’t afford to do the same. But there are things some don’t make 100% clear in their videos.

Many bloggers are gifted vouchers to spend on their favourite online shops so whilst it looks as though they are spending hundreds of £’s at once it may be subsidised with gifted vouchers which they don’t legally have to declare as it is not a direct ad. Some may mention it, some may not, but if they don’t it gives the impression that it is normal to spend a huge amount each month when that is simply not the case.

The amount of hauls on some channels can have you wondering how anyone can possibly have room to fit that many clothes in their house, let alone wardrobes. There constantly seems to be an overwhelming amount of new additions and, whilst I’m sure clear outs are regular, in many cases the items we’re shown might not even make it past a try on clip or a picture for Instagram. I was watching a haul video the other day and someone had commented on the insane amount of coats that a Youtuber had purchased just over the past couple of weeks and the reply noted that as it is a ‘try-on haul’ many of their items are actually returned. It is not always clear when a blogger/YouTuber is actually keeping the clothes they show us or if they are just using them to create more affiliate links or even returning them once they get *that* insta shot.

It’s OK that you haven’t bought anything from ASOS this month

I’m often surprised when I click a video that includes the phrase ‘I thought I would do a haul video as I haven’t done one for a while’ when I swear they’ve done one just two weeks ago. The sheer volume or purchases is not normal for the average person and we mustn’t  feel guilty for not being able to keep up with those we see on our social media channels every day.

It’s OK that your AW17 wardrobe is the exact same as your AW16 one. It’s OK that your favourite jumper is one that you bought four years ago. It’s OK that you haven’t bought anything from Glossier yet even though everyone else has. Don’t get broke trying to keep up with the girl who buys designer handbags and holidays in the Maldives. She’s not the average girl. You’ll get there one day.

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