Welcome to 2020, the year of what seems to be a comedy of errors, just without the comedy. The implications of the COVID-19 pandemic are global and will likely will be felt for generations to come. The most common comment I continue to hear is ‘I never thought I would see this in my lifetime’. I personally thought I would only ever witness it in a movie. The eerily empty streets feel as though they have become the new norm, as well as all the new rules we now have to follow when doing anything outside of our homes.
Shopping centres, restaurants and, well basically anywhere public, seem to be adjusting well to the new rules and don’t seem to have any problems dictating to people what they need to do so no one gets in trouble, but does that make you feel more or less safe? Are people bulk buying grocery items so they only have to make one trip to the shop, or is it because the last time they tried to enter their local supermarket they were pounced on for entering in the not very apparent exit or scolded for the being the fifth person in the aisle that only allows four.
We humans really respond to crisis in very different ways. As much as I can’t fathom the need for an exorbitant amount of toilet rolls, Joe Bloe that was stocking up his fifth trolley probably thought it was the best and only thing he could do in the time of such uncertainty. So, for the beginning, panic stage of the pandemic, brick and mortar stores that stocked emergency (or non emergency) supplies were actually struggling to keep up with demand, that’s when we noticed some price gouging on everyday items, like hand sanitiser.
So for the same reason Joe Bloe had to buy his toilet paper, is the same reasoning we can use as to why “retail therapy” is another psychological response many people (including myself) have fallen victim to. For me, the mentality has become something like ‘you don’t know what’s going to happen, may as well buy that handbag i’ve always wanted and think about the consequences later’, where for others it can be an instinct to be over prepared before being under prepared. For my partner though, it’s about being financially prepared in case the worst does happen, so he saves it and I spend it.
Another concern that has been presented (thanks COVID) is whether or not anything purchased online will be infected with the virus. While we’ve been reassured by experts it’s unlikely it would survive on the surface of your item, for a short time it was front of mind when purchasing online. Now we might feel safe doing so, but we just need to wait six months to get anything. Or risk the outside, venture out of your home, but you’ll probably won’t find the stock on the shelves, basically because of the same reason anything now that is ordered from overseas takes a LOT longer to get here than it used to.
It’s also the products that people are actually buying online that’s changing. Whether it’s the amount of people that now buy their groceries online, or the increase in health and safety items (for ourselves and for our homes), some people do seem to be making more health minded choices. I’m not one of those people, but happy days for the business’s that can benefit from this, maybe not so great for the luxury goods companies that are at a loss. Digital streaming giants are obviously going nuts with everyone indoors, but the amount of fashion and apparel stores that are being forced to close is sadly increasing.
It really is an ever changing and evolving situation, good old COVID-19, bringing with it positives for some, but devastating negatives for others. Whatever ‘type’ you might be and however you might be reacting, or not reacting to the current world we live in, one can only hope in a couple of years time we can look back at our moment of living in history and not be too scarred.