“Hauling” is the latest trend amongst brag-happy bargain shoppers. So what’s it all about? Alissa Nasti investigates
For a bargain shopper, there’s nothing quite as satisfying as dragging shiny new purchases back home, dumping them on the bed and going through them one by one. My favourite part of shopping happens as soon as I get home and I get to gloat about all the awesome stuff I bought and all the money I saved. And everyone knows gloating is way more satisfying when done in good company. My long-suffering boyfriend has had to sit through many a self-commentated catwalk show – “I scored these boots for sixty per cent off! How awesome is that?? And see how well they go with this tunic I got at that clearance sale? Do you like the colour? And what about these shorts? I know it’s the middle of winter but they looked so good on I couldn’t resist...”
Strangely enough, it turns out this phenomenon has both a name and a much more captive audience than my boyfriend.
“Hauling” is exactly what I described above, only it exists in the world of YouTube. After shopping sprees at budget fashion stores like Forever 21, H&M, and Target, haulers — most of whom are based in the US — tape themselves going through their purchases (or “haul”), explaining in detail what each item is, why they bought it and how much they bought it for.
Sound tedious and maybe a bit bratty? Millions of viewers would disagree. Bubbly 18-year-old Blair Fowler — aka juicystar07 — is YouTube’s queen of haul, posting hundreds of videos dedicated to her shopping habit on her hugely popular channel, which has had an unbelievable 52 million views. She has even been featured on Good Morning America and now has her own mobile phone accessories line. Not bad for bargain-obsessed teen fashionista.
Blair is just one of thousands of YouTube haulers who obsessively catalogue their bargains; users ricebunny, CityandMakeup are also hugely popular, while DulceCandy87 posts beauty supply hauls that attract hundreds of thousands of views within hours.
Clearly, we bargain shoppers are a supportive lot — there’s something captivating and even inspiring about watching other bargain shoppers obsessively catalogue their deals.
But beyond that, I’m unclear what value viewers get out of YouTube hauls. Those lucky enough to live next to a Forever 21 can take advantage of some hot sale tips, I suppose, but for the rest of us it’s purely vicarious – and pointless. I’d much rather go score a haul of my own than watch somebody else rejoice over theirs. Now I know how my boyfriend feels!
What about you? Do you haul? Can you see the appeal in it? Or do you think it’s nothing more than bragging?