…I have been shopping. Actually, I have been lured into shopping through the discovery of this whole “haul” phenomenon that is apparently a huge thing on youtube. You see, prior to recently, I used youtube for garden related videos, and BBC shows such as “Escape to the Country,” “Antiques Roadtrip,” “Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is,” etc. However, as I have gotten rid of any sort of cable, I have had moments of late, when all of the BBC shows I can find are shows I have already watched. Humph. Granted, I could read a book. I have a number of books. I rather like books. But sometimes, on a rainy day when gardening just does not seem like a good thing to do in the middle of winter, books do not seem as attractive either. Which is odd for me to say, since reading literally has been at the top of my favorite thing to do list since I was four. (My mom read to me every day from the time I was born, so I blame her for this.)
I actually have no idea how these haul videos first showed up in my recommended lists. I somehow went from watching Charles Downing and his no dig garden, to Roots and Refuge, to MIgardener, to Garden Answer, to Flipping Profit (which has been pulled from Youtube…drat), to watching people buy tons of things and try them on and talk about them. Literally, that is all that happens. There are boxes. There are boxes being opened. There are things being removed from the boxes. These things are shown, often at very close distances, and then sometimes these things are tried on. Picture me shrugging and shaking my head. There, you’ve got my general reaction to these videos. At first.
As I said, I have no idea when the first haul video showed up, or what I had done that google tracked which made the video show up, and I don’t know why I clicked on said video unless it was an accident. (Yes. My slidey Apple TV remote causes me to randomly click on videos next to my desired video all the time. I admit it; I suck at these newfangled remote things.) In any case, I found myself watching this very nice human opening a box. I found myself thinking, “Why am I watching this. I really should be looking for that video on pruning fruit trees in winter.” I found myself still watching. Now. I will say that the first video I actually managed to stop watching about halfway through the whole taking things out of the box and unwrapping them bit. I found my video on grape propagation and went back to all things gardenish.
Until I clicked on the next haul video. And then the next. For some reason. watching all of these lovely humans opening boxes and try things on was rather soothing. Somehow. The trouble was, seeing all of these people buy great deals and try them on, really got me itching to do some of my own shopping as well. So, I did.
When I was growing up, we bought most of my clothes at second hand stores and garage sales. My mom explained the whole budget thing to me very clearly and in terms a child who liked to change clothes often would understand. “Amy,” she said, “we have one-hundred dollars. We can go to the department store and get five or six things for your school wardrobe, or we can shop around and potentially get one-hundred things.” Well, it should be no shock that the idea of one-hundred possible things sounded much better to me than only five or six.
As I got older, we moved out of the garage sale realm and into retail sales. When I worked retail in college, I vowed never to buy anything full price once I learned about the markdown cycles and the retail mark-ups. So, in general, I have always been one for sales. Usually, I always hit up the January clearance sales at my favorite stores to stock up on basics and see if I can find some unique pieces. This year, though, I really haven’t been focused on shopping at all. What with mom, and the farm, and the garden, and the work, and the divorce, saving money has seemed like a better plan. Until those darn haul videos.
In the middle of haul videos, I found myself just popping into clearance areas of websites to check out possibilities. I even put things in a cart or two. Fortunately, most of the prices were just not clearance enough for me to buy. I was especially excited to learn about the website thredup.com which is an online resale spot, but when I looked online, and scrolled through thirty or so pages of possibility, what I found was some of the same items I bought on clearance last year for more than I paid. So, seeing a shirt, even new with tags on that used clothing site, which I paid seven to twelve dollars for being sold for over fifteen dollars, it was pretty easy to stop scrolling through that site. I’m not sure why that site is a thing. Maybe some folks just don’t have good resale in their areas and have never hit a good clearance sale, so they don’t know how overpriced most of the items are?
In any case, for some reason I kept watching hauls (I blame the cold and the rain). At this point, my recommendations only included garden videos from my subscribed sites. And since it’s winter, most of my subscribed sites about gardens are pretty slow. No more new random garden sites were showing up in my recommendations. ONLY MORE HAUL VIDEOS. (Who on earth knew there could be that many haul videos. Though, I really shouldn’t be surprised. This is America, buying things we don’t need is our national pastime. Right?) Something had to be done. I started searching for new BBC video postings. I went back to compost. I even picked up a book or two. None of that stopped the haul videos. They just kept showing up.
Now, I would love to think I am not easily swayed. I would simply love to be typing this to tell you how I avoided the evil urge to buy more stuff I don’t really need (ok, I did need the new pants. I really did). I would love to be able to point a finger and say, “HA. I cannot be manipulated by your algorithms and. your shenanigans, youtube.”
Obviously, there will be no such finger pointing here. I ordered things. From two places. Now, I will say I got very good on sale, discounted, and useful things. But. I still ordered things. I succumbed to the lure of the haul videos and the need to feel connected to something/someone in the world other than, well, other than myself.
This whole moving back to the farm thing to help out the parents has me pretty isolated. Obviously, the farm is out in the country…but you get the idea. It’s not just a locational isolation, but an existential one as well. I guess. I know I should get out and volunteer more, or join a club, or do something to remind myself that there are humans in the world aside from the nice folks who live inside the youtube screen, but this whole grumpy and stuck thing which I have been fighting with gardening has me not feeling like driving back away from the farm in the cold of the winter nights to go seek out real humans after I hang out with mom and work around the farm.
There’s something rather comforting about watching other people just be normal other people inside the television. Now. I hate reality TV. Ok. I admit I watched “The Real World” in the 90s, but after that? Yuck.
Ok, again. I also admit that I have always loved decorating and gardening shows, but I don’t really count those as reality TV even though they probably fit into that category.
Ok again. again. I also like cooking competitions, but I blame that on losing all television reception in NYC after 9/11 and only having one channel which kind of came through. That was where I discovered the original “Iron Chef” series, you know the one from Japan? So, yeah. Cooking.
Alright, aside from cooking, and decorating, and gardening…and dancing (ahem)…I hate all reality TV. Which is why I am so perplexed that somehow watching people open boxes and take things out of boxes and try things on after taking things out of boxes is something that I have actually watched. More than once.
In any case. My two packages arrived today. I am going to go open them now. Don’t worry, I am not tempted to film or take pictures of myself opening said packages and trying on said sale items. Ok, I’m not really tempted. Much.
Here’s hoping that you are out there doing more interesting things than I am, but I am about to go try on my first potential pair of skinny-high-waisted jeggings. Which…I have managed to avoid for years. Don’t look at me, I blame youtube.
(I totally should have typed about my seed haul instead. I know. I know.)
I’m just someone trying to figure out how to juggle ten acres, work, a mama with stage four cancer, and a whole lot of grumpy. This blog started out as “Grumpy Gal’s Guide to Gratitude,” but since all I really keep typing about is the garden, I figured I might as well own it! So, thanks for joining me as I try and figure out how the heck to kick myself in the booty and get on with life.