I read about the Hukkster tool last year and downloaded it before I even finished reading the article. It’s been written about a decent amount because it’s a really smart idea (two women came up with it!) and also because it has a bunch of famous investors, like the Winklevoss twins. Winklevoss has got to be one of the most fun names to say ever. It’s at least within the top 10, I would think. Either way, when one or more Winklevosses (Winklevi?) are involved in a business venture, it gets lots of press, therefore increasing my chances of reading about that venture and now here we are.
If you aren’t familiar with Hukkster, it works like this: You download the “Hukk It” button onto the bookmarks bar on your browser. Then when you’re shopping online and you see a full price item that you want, you click the button and the tool will set an alert to notify you when the item goes on sale in your size and selected color. It’s genius! And it’s growing.
The tool is especially helpful for hardcore online shoppers like me. I buy almost all of my clothes online because I would rather not spend my free time wandering around a store picking up items, waiting in a long line to try them on and then waiting in another long line to pay. This is not my idea of a good time at all. A good time to me usually involves food, TV, sex or booze in no particular order. If they served cocktails in clothing stores, I would be 137% more likely to pop in once in a while (and wouldn’t they sell more merch?). But they don’t, so I use Hukkster and my computer.
I love to Hukk, but I don’t buy everything or even half of the things on my list. Still, I’ve definitely shopped more than I would if I didn’t have the tool. Sure, the stuff I got was on sale, but since those purchases include things I might have forgotten about if it weren’t for the email alerts, did I really save money? I went through the same thing with flash sales for a while, before I got hip to that game and unsubscribed to everything.
So my concern with Hukkster isn’t just wanting things all the time and overspending. It’s guilt. I feel guilty about almost every clothing, shoe or accessories purchase that I make. I was raised by immigrant parents who came to this country with very little and ended up doing pretty well for themselves. That didn’t happen overnight, though. It took years of hard work and they did that work while raising four daughters with no other family members around (nearly all of my relatives are in the Congo).
I grew up solidly middle class, but my parents weren’t and still aren’t frivolous spenders. I often felt guilty for wanting things when I was young. From an early age, it was drilled into my head that besides my mom and dad, we had no one else to rely on. So if for some reason the money ever ran out, we would be screwed. I felt my parents' deep-seated fear before I ever fully understood it. I got a part-time job as soon as I turned 16 so that I could have my own spending money. My parents gave me a lot of support during college, but I almost always had a job of some sort so that I wouldn’t have to ask them for too much extra stuff.
I knew that if they found out how much I participated in consumerism instead of saving, they would disapprove. I STILL feel that way as a grown ass woman and I know my mother (she’s more frugal than my dad) would like to believe I have a lot more cash tucked away for a rainy day than I actually do. Hence the crushing feelings of guilt when I buy things for myself just because they’re on sale, I’m bored or because I want to update my wardrobe, which is actually a legit reason considering what I do for a living. Tell it to the voice in my head that scolds me every time I get a “Thank you for your order!” email.
“But Baze,” you say, “You’re criticizing Hukkster, but you tempt us with cute things to buy (like closed-toe sandals) all the time! What do you have to say for yourself?” I know and I have a whole separate guilt compartment in my brain reserved just for those feelings. But we will have to unpack THAT another time. Right now, I need to go see if I got any new Hukkster alerts while I was writing this. And then maybe after that, I’ll reread Emily’s post about how to stop buying stuff you never wear.