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Pickleball and "Packing My Stanley:" Overconsumption and the Internet

A guest column by Mira Lemstrom


Like most people, I have a love-hate relationship with TikTok. It's a guilty pleasure. If I think about it too hard, I get freaked out about how my cookies and stuff are being used. If I don't think about it, I just get content perfectly tailored to me because TikTok is my best friend and nothing malicious or exploitatory is going on! So yes, I love TikTok most of the time, but it also pisses me off BAD. Sometimes I get videos that really don't belong on my for you page, like those ones where they restock their fridge and link everything they used on their Amazon storefront. Or, on a similar level of excessive, videos of people “packing” their Stanley cup. If you have had the privilege of not seeing this genre of video, let me explain them to you. 

First off, in case you are completely oblivious, Stanleys are insulated tumblers that come in a variety of muted colorways, and some people go completely bonkers for them. I personally don’t see the appeal, but people stockpile them like there's no tomorrow. This alone is enough fodder to make the case against overconsumption, but it gets more intense. Once the Stanley is acquired, some people take it a couple steps further with little fanny packs they strap onto the tumbler. In a video I watched recently, an ASMR special if you will, a woman tapped her perfectly manicured nails against her perfectly marbled kitchen counter and loaded up her perfectly unscathed Stanley with accessories for her walk. She started with a ring holder that clipped onto the handle, and went on to attach a lip balm clip, a hook for a keyring, and a mini fanny pack including personal toiletries absolutely necessary for a walk. Once the tumbler was fitted with all of its color coordinating accoutrements, she unmolded some ice from the freezer. Be mindful that this was Stanley-specific ice: like an ice core but with a hollow middle to maximize space in the water bottle itself. Again, everything you could need to recreate this look was linked on her Amazon storefront. 

Personally, I have it out for Amazon storefront. It’s like the “steal her look” moodboards of 2000s magazines but everything is ready for direct purchase with next-day arrival. TikTok has facilitated overconsumption in a way unmatched by previous platforms, with hauls and unboxings every few videos. Even innocent seeming videos like gym routines frequently have captions leading you to the link in their bio where you can buy their full gym wardrobe.

Similar to the gym videos, pickleball has blown up. America’s fastest growing sport has taken over in a gentrified manner with its matching sets, patterned rackets, and its overall air of wealth. I saw a TikTok of a woman saying pickleball was by far her most expensive hobby– racking up to $25,000 in just 10 months. I couldn’t tell if it was satire or not at first, but I realized she was being serious when she provided a cost breakdown. She treated it as more of a sport than a hobby–  a big chunk of the $25,000 was lessons from professionals– but even so, there was still a lot for the average pickleballer to purchase. Really, pickleball being the hobby of choice doesn't matter; TikTok expedites consumption of whatever items happen to trend. A lot can be said on microtrends as well, but it all ties back to overconsumption. To be so frank, TikTok-enabled overconsumption is scary, and the collective spending mindset needs to change.

1 Comment

han gu
han gu
3 days ago

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