Hannah (@hannarhgiardino) saw a "fun" jacket while perusing the wares at an Altar'd State location and was shocked to see that the retailer was trying to charge customers $110 for the item despite the fact it was made entirely out of polyester.
So she decided to do some Googling and was shocked to see that a website was selling it for less than half the price.
She delineated her experience as part of a viral clip where she urged other shoppers to take to the internet to avoid being hoodwinked at checkout, and it seems that there were other folks who've found themselves in similar scenarios. As one commenter who replied to her video wrote: "I went to a 'boutique' and to get my size the lady was literally unpacking them from the shein plastic"
In her clip, Hannah speaks directly into the camera with a sense of concern and concern-for-consumers-getting-the-best-price-possible urgency in her voice: "Y'all better be Googling what stuff costs and the brands and reverse image searching everything that you buy because prices on things do not make sense anymore," she says in the beginning on her viral clip.
The video then cuts to a screenshot of a festive-patterned coat: "I saw this fun little jacket at Altar'd State, don't judge me, I saw it, I liked it, I went up to it and I looked at the price."
She was shocked at how much the retailer was charging for the jacket, especially considering the materials that it was made out of: the price tag read $109.95 on the sticker.
"$109 for a polyester piece of s---. And then I noticed it was some weird brand name and not just like white labeled for Altar'd State."
That's when she decided to use the magical little device so many of us carry on in our pockets that is constantly connected to pretty much the collective knowledge our entire species has aggregated up until this point to see if she could find it for cheaper elsewhere.
And she did: "So I Googled it and I found it online for half the cost. Country Outfitters had it for $59.99 and they had a $20 off coupon for your first purchase. And I didn't end up buying it because I didn't think it was worth it in the end. But if I hadn't Googled it and I had just spent $109 on that piece of garbage, I would be really mad about that."
She concedes that she might have not ever known she got hosed on the jacket's price, but was ultimately glad she decided to look it up anyway. "But just Google what you're gonna buy," she says before her clip ultimately cuts out.
Other influencers have found that a variety of clothing manufacturers are seemingly just purchasing their clothing from the same manufacturing plants re-branding them with different labels and shipping them out in different packaging so they can turn a profit on them.
Meanwhile, consumers can buy the exact same articles of clothing for a fraction of the price, something that this social media user demonstrated with clothes she found on Temu that were being sold elsewhere at a higher cost.
It appears that folks have been getting so wise to this practice that they've stopped heading to online retailers like Amazon and as a result, the trillion-dollar company has decided to drop the cut it receives from lower-cost clothing items so they can compete with companies like Shein and Temu: PC Mag reported in December of 2023 it's cut on these more affordable clothes would be reduced to 5% on anything that retails for under $15.
Savvy consumers have noticed this trend for years: one Redditor uploaded a post to the site's r/onlineshopping sub where they wrote: "Shein has same products as amazon but a lot cheaper. Is it the same seller?"
They added in the body of their post: "So today i was looking at the wall decor of shein and later found the same exact items on amazon sometimes double or triple the price. And when i say exact same, i mean even the same picture was used. So are they the same seller? Ive never ordered from shein so dont know if it’s a too goo to be true deal."
One user on the platform left a comment that appears to confirm OP's suspicions: "I’ve had friends who’ve bought clothes from Shein and have had fantastic experiences. I’d definitely recommend buying from them and not Amazon.
Amazon marketplace/third-party sellers can be super sketchy. You really never know what you’re going to get, even when the prices are high (as you would expect a higher quality item to be) and things seem legit."
The only downside from shopping through retailers like Shein and Temu directly is that their products are coming from China and depending on where you're getting the products shipped to, there could be a time delay as a result, so you'll have to wait a bit longer to get your items.
But if you're not in a rush, then why would you pay more for literally the same exact item? Have you ever almost purchased something and then taken a second to Google it and found it for way cheaper as a result?