There’s This Thing I Like: A Look at ‘Haul’ Videos

A Dollar Tree store in Commerce, Texas. Photo: Wikipedia.

 

It wouldn’t be PaperGirl if I didn’t make a confession every few weeks, so here goes the latest:

I’ve been watching — in fact, I’ve been listening to — what are called YouTube “haul” videos.

Do you know about this haul video phenomenon? If so, are you about to tell me that haul videos have been happening since YouTube began and where have I been living? And are you telling me that you have a problem with the rock under which I live? Well, missy, I like my rock — but I am also glad to peek out of it, sometimes, so I can discover things like haul videos.

In case you are an under-rock-dweller, yourself, a “haul” video is a video made for the internet wherein a person goes shopping and then shows you, item by item, what they bought. Sometimes the haul video includes the actual shopping trip, which means the shopper/vlogger has their phone out as they go through the store and thereby records the whole experience. But for the most part, the recording of the shopping trip itself doesn’t have much more than bouncy, jerky video of the aisles and of the person’s hand reaching at things to check the price on this or that item and saying, “Ooh, this is so cute, look at this!” Often, there’s no talking at all and the trip is set to goofy music. My point is that I’m not super into those videos.

But when the shopper sits down in her house (I have only ever seen female haul videos but I’m sure there are guys who do them) and she says something like, “Okay, guys! I’m just back from [insert store here] and I’m ready to take you through the haul! Let’s open the first bag” — when that happens, I’m hooked.

Again, I don’t watch the videos so much as listen to them. I open a browser window, hit “play” on some hauling vlogger channel, and turn the sound down so that I can work on other things.

In fact … Yes, there’s a video playing on my laptop right now.

This is weird, right? Or is it not weird? It can’t be weirder than this. Or this. But maybe if I try to explain why I do this, it’ll make sense. Let’s hope.

While I have friends and loved ones aplenty; while I feel largely satisfied with the life I am making; while I do very much enjoy living alone, I would be misrepresenting myself if I said there were not times when I wished for a little company around here. (My sweet Philip Larkin; someday soon, dearest puppy, but not today.)

Part of what I like about playing these videos in the background is that they provide a lovely white noise. It’s comforting to hear a nice lady chatting about nothing — and mind you, that’s not a dig. I’m not saying what she’s doing is “nothing” or has no value; I’m saying that going through six bags of discounted craft supplies from The Dollar Tree is not anything that I need to focus on. Particularly.

And that craft things is part of this. I’ve got a specific haul video beat, you see: I’m into the crafters. Not the quilters — do quilters do haul videos?? — and not the makeup girls or the clothes shopping girls. I’m sure there are haul videos for shoe stores and things. Nah. It’s the 50-something ladies who haul from Hobby Lobby, At Home, Michael’s, and whatever those other stores are, that really make me feel … better.

Better?

We all know that I can tell you anything. But when I told my friend Nick about this, I was a little nervous. Would he think I was a total freak? Would he think … What would he think?

One morning not long ago, Nick came over to me while I was working. I had just turned on a video, namely “Arlynn’s Country Craft Corner,” which is a favorite of mine (though I really wish she had spelled everything with a ‘K’ instead of a ‘C.’) He looked over my shoulder at Arlynn as she demonstrated her signature “funky bow,” which is very nice, though for the life of me I cannot figure out why it is considered “funky.”

“I get it,” Nick said. “It’s calming. She’s just a nice lady, doing a simple thing. You shouldn’t feel embarrassed.”

“You really don’t think it’s weird that I love it so much?” I asked. I noticed how handsome he looked in his lounge-y pants and his t-shirt. He looks handsome in everything, though.

“No, I don’t think it’s weird. I think it’s sweet.”

And that’s how you go from writing a post about watching/not-watching YouTube “haul” videos to getting all dreamy about someone who has now appeared in this blog twice.

Stay tuned.