I keep hearing “we are all in this together” or “we can get through this together.” But are we? Can we? After all, with all the different “soft openings” happening across the nation, we have separate states with different dates — different strokes for different folks! Yesterday I was yelled at by a dear friend for wearing the wrong mask. Recently I was dressed down for having my hairdresser come to my house for a “stealth” haircut and color. Later that person apologized and confessed she was just jealous. I get it! This hasn’t been one nation under God with liberty and justice for all. And hitting rock bottom hasn’t been exactly unifying. I worry.
My mom was reminiscing the other day about her experience in World War II: “We had food rations and if we couldn’t buy butter — we did without. We didn’t complain or demand for toilet paper. We made the best of it and were resourceful and we were united and shared. Roosevelt spoke to us once a week in his fireside chats. We were riveted. Remember, no one knew he was paralyzed from the waist down.”
Ahh … the glories of UNDER exposure and no need for “transparency” every hour or daily press briefing. It was a simpler, more honest time. Mom got her news from other women who received letters from their husbands serving in other zones. Obviously, there was no TV, and so they got radio or newspaper accounts from war correspondents like Edward R. Murrow, and Walter Cronkite who was a master of letting the public know “that’s the way it is.”
My mother was not devastated by fear at my dad serving on the front lines. She was proud of his involvement and believed the USA would win no matter what. She had a deep community behind her — the entire nation! There was no time or use for anxiety, panic or medications. My mom never had any of those nervous disorders in her DNA anyway. Now she seems aghast at the current situation of the “war” against Covid 19. That was then; this is now.
That was THE GREATEST generation (honor and values). This is the Kardashian Nation (entitlement and greed).
It makes me wonder — can we even put lipstick on a bat? A lot has been discussed how certain services will gradually open. Restaurants will have limited seating, limited people, masked waiters. Beauty salons (considered by many the MOST essential business) will have the same complicated limitations.
My star hairdresser Adilson Pascui (who has been doing salon and home visits for years) believes that salons might become obsolete. “More beauty service people will go out on their own or rent a small office space — not sharing with facial or mani/pedi people.” Too much congregation.
At-home services on all levels will boom. People can still pick up food and have their friends over for dinner and a movie. Why bother with going out? It’s safer and easier to bring the world to you. Home Depot is reporting huge sales in home improvement items as the public are now seeing the importance of a solid home base. Others are planning to move their housing entirely – out of cities for more personal space. Not to mention the trend of doing business from home – and that doesn’t mean in a basement or garage.
Think about it — movies, eating, doctor visits (via computer), business, can all be done in the privacy of your own living room. Home will become where the heart lives and survives. But I do pray the kids get back to school. At-home teaching has put a huge strain on a lot of families.
I heard it will take travel 4 years to recover. And I don’t just mean removing the middle seat or standing in smaller more spaced out TSA lines. It will be more health checking, less flights, and more money (goodbye frequent flier miles). As far as retail, stores like Penney’s, Gap, J.Crew, and Neiman were already on life support before Covid. As were fashion shows and most magazines and celebrity Instagrammers. So, the virus will take them out.
Overnight, most of our pop culture became irrelevant. But that should not be surprising. We’ve all been hearing that our world needs new “models” and “platforms” and we will be living through a lot of “second waves” and “curves” and “W” graphs. No one is really exempt — lots of businesses were living on a strange level of borrowed time. The Black Swan has arrived.
I say we should all watch Shark Tank regularly and take it seriously. That show will continue to display fabulous new entrepreneurs and creative people willing to hustle on the edge. The economy will eventually get exciting as soon as we can stop concentrating on losing our minds and start finding our new creative lives. Time takes time.
The idea of “curbside service” is exploding already for not only food and commodities. It’s called “online to offline.” Once merchandiser predicted most stores will be on apps and you can order what you want (clothes, shoes, accessories), and make an appointment with a store location. There you will be met by a masked customer service person, who will sanitize your hands and give you a face shield and direct you into a sanitized dressing room.
The thought of that depressed me — as cruising, browsing and grazing (food markets as well) was the entire fun of shopping. Along with seeing others try things on and having a shopping interaction with salespeople and the public. Shopping is about “discovery,” not “take-out.” Luckily, I am old enough not to want anything for an “occasion” or ever search for a “look” anymore. But many of us looked at stores as galleries and museums to walk through and observe and learn up close and personal. Not anymore.
But millennials are now in charge and they are more used to online merchandising. There won’t be a need for “foot traffic” and it will be challenging for store managers to find ways to get people to spend at all if the mood and money is low. Plus, we live in so many different locations. As one economist said, “In New York people are scared to go to their front door. In Nebraska they just want to get back to normal.”
Some store managers believe that if you are willing to step in any store you are ready to buy. I guess. But get me in there first — and I’m not talking about malls and food courts and trumped-up celebrity make-up events. Especially now since the only thing I would risk my life for entering a Big Box store are Lysol Dual Action Wipes. I don’t even dream about handbags and makeup. Or the good old days of community dressing rooms.
“Disaster Capitalism” will be interesting – how to appeal to us shoppers again on a new level other than the current ad campaign of “I feel your pandemic pain … now buy our sweat-proof bed sheets.” I can’t even address the return of luxe shopping since I leave all that to China. Their reports of “revenge shopping” (post quarantine) hasn’t really happened according to the real experts. It did make me question the future of a landmarks like Bergdorf Goodman if the consuming demographic is so young and doesn’t care about historic destination luxe locales.
In the meantime, pets better stay immune and sports have to come back. We all have to respect each other’s levels of “self-release” in the opening up of this country. After all, nowadays we are all on our own. Traditional leadership has left the building.
“We are all in this together?” No, we are all too fiercely independent. But remember, we are living in “the land of the free and the home of the brave.” Which nowadays, means wash your hands and stay socially distant and most of all …
Please Be Kind!