By Haoxuan Gao, Alliance Intern from Macalester College
You probably have seen videos of people trying on different clothes or unboxing a large quantity of their purchases, which are called haul videos. But did you know these haul videos are problematic? By urging people to purchase the stuff they don’t necessarily need, haul culture drags us deeper into consumerist traps. In fact, Youtubers spend $400-$800 for a single haul video on average.
So what can we do to combat consumerism? Some Youtubers now record anti-haul videos, telling people what NOT to buy. It reminds all of us that we don’t need all the newest products. As individuals, here are some ways to check whether you’re inside the consumerist trap:
1. You buy more than you need
2. You enjoy shopping and videoing without considering its impacts
3. You rely a lot on return policies
4. You constantly go over your budget
5. You shop based on emotional needs
Alternatively, here are some steps you can take to change your habits:
1. Think to yourself: what do I want vs need
2. Use your existing products well: extend the lifespan of your objects as long as they are functional.
3. Avoid the “free” or “discounted” traps: merchants use free or discounted products as a chance for you to keep buying from them.
4. Replace shopping with other hobbies
5. Borrow, rent, barter, or buy second hand
And if you need more incentive to consider joining the anti-haul movement check out these facts:
- In 2010, an average American person had more than $7800 in consumer debt, while the median annual house income in the globe is $9700.
- As 3% of the global population of children, American kids consume about 40% of the toys in the world.
- The fast fashion industry uses many sweatshops and a great deal of child labor, where workers work more than 100 hours per week.
- It takes 21,000 liters of water to produce one kilo of coffee beans.