For a year now, I have been marveling about something very, very weird: The inspirational, cozy, and—quite frankly—strangely intimate push notifications that I receive from the shopping platform Poshmark, which specializes in resale.
I am a devoted Poshmark customer, just like I love yard sales and tag sales and estate sales and really mammoth antique malls. However, Big Aunt Susan’s Antiques Emporium would never expect to form some sort of emotional connection with me, though Big Aunt Susan herself might come to know a bit about my life over the course of regular visits. Poshmark is different. Poshmark seems to want a closer connection with me, Kelly Faircloth, personally. Poshmark is constantly encouraging me to feel better about myself, to take care of myself, to believe in myself. Honestly, I’m just here for the deals?
I suspect this on the basis of the push notifications I receive from the service essentially every day–all of which are weirdly personal and completely disconnected from my actual shopping. Just now, as I polished off the last of my workday afternoon lunch while glancing through Jezebel Slack, my phone buzzed: “Trust the signs you’ve been getting.” Sorry, what?
My relationship with the app is very simple, straightforward, and transactional. Just recently, after months of idly thinking that I really wanted a denim jacket but refusing to spend the money, I snagged a proper one from Levi’s—the absolute classic!—for a mere $27. (I’m going to look like a lumberjack goddess well into the winter.) My toddler has an entire collection of slightly battered dress-up clothes purchased off Poshmark. I like the deals, and—even more—I like the thrill of the hunt.
The universe of mom app push notifications is expansive and relentless; I’m always getting something shouty and deeply boring from Joann, although the discounts are good: “Labor Day Doorbusters END TODAY!” and “Only 2 days left! Get 20% off your total purch!” Over and over again, world without end. I also get a lot of alerts for YouTube home improvement videos, not because I’m improving my home, but because they are entertaining to my child.
But nothing quite matches Poshmark’s cheerleading.
Some of the advice is relevant to Poshmark itself: “Friends don’t let friends pay full price for retail.” A cheeky embroidered throw pillow sentiment, but also an encouragement to tell all your friends about the deals they’ve gotten at Poshmark. (Did I mention that $27 denim jacket?) Some of them are just generic empowerment. For instance, “Shine bright,” and “Your flaws are what make you so beautiful.” We’re getting a little Lane Bryant dressing room soundtrack here—some of you know what I’m talking about—but not unusual for the tone of marketing to women in 2020.
But as the pandemic has pushed everybody to their emotional limits, the vibe has only intensified to something like, “friend really going through it.” Now sentiments like, “Don’t stress over things you can’t control,” really hit a little different! As did: “It’s important to check in with yourself every now and then” and “Prioritize your peace of mind.” Is Poshmark worried about whether I am okay, or is Poshmark trying to tell me that they aren’t okay?
“Big wins often have small beginnings,” sounds like passive-aggressive encouragement to clean my kitchen. “Don’t let the bad days convince you that you have a bad life.” Why don’t you just come right out and say whatever it is you really want to say? “You live, you hurt, you learn, you upgrade” arrived just before 8 pm, as I was melting into my couch at the end of another long day. It really made me wanted to text Poshmark back, asking if they were okay; same with “Today is a great day to tell someone you love them” and “Work on you for you.”
“You can be flawed but still worthy,” Poshmark informed me at 9:56 pm last night. This is now dangerously close to midnight DM sliding.
“Grow with the flow,” unfortunately, just makes me feel like somebody is about to hit me with a pitch for an essential oils MLM, as did “Manifest the life of your dreams.” Let’s hope they’re right about the one they texted me last week: “Good things are coming your way.”