To Buy or Not To Buy

Why we overshop and how to stop.

What's Wrong with Haul Videos?

Haul videos: destructive messages

Last April, I wrote: "I'm scratching my head about—and steeling myself for the potential fallout from—a new internet phenomenon, the "Haul Video," examples of which are popping up on YouTube like mushrooms after a rain." There are now over a quarter of a million of them!

What's a Haul Video? For the better part of a year, teenage girls and young adult women have been creating video narratives of their latest shopping caches. The vlogger (video blogger) typically shows and tells all: what she's purchased, where, when, how much it cost, what she'll wear it with, and what she told herself to justify her purchase. The most popular hauls have been viewed by staggering numbers of people, even into the millions.

There's a pretty dark underbelly here and CBS is the first of the media to want to explore it. Some of the vloggers are getting addicted to making these videos. At least one 16-year-old is currently being home schooled to allow her more time to haulmore stuff, and the 7-year-old sister of another vlogger is taking an early lead in mesmerizing second-grade fashionistas. Retailers are ennabling the most popular vloggers by sending them merchandise to review or giving them gift cards as compensation for showcasing their products.

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Both the makers and the watchers of haul videos are buying into the dark, destructive, and deeply false message these videos embody: that whoever said money can't buy happiness just didn't know where to shop.

 

April Lane Benson, Ph.D., is the author of To Buy or Not to Buy: Why We Overshop and How to Stop. She specializes in the treatment of compulsive buying disorder.

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