PANDEMIC TRENDS

Paul Sullivan
  • Paul Sullivan
  • 31 juillet, 2020

Sickness is never timely. The bubonic plague ravaged Shakespeare’s England, and the Spanish Influenza proved to be a disastrous follow-up to the destruction of World War One. Luckily for us, the Coronavirus Pandemic has taken place in the age of the internet. For all the bizarre things that could mean, it has permitted some unique observations of human behaviour. People may be strange these days, but you are about to see just how strange.

Micro-Indulgences

A new trend has been dubbed “micro-indulging.” We simply don’t have access to typically expensive things like travel vacations, extravagant parties, and so on. Naturally, then, we opt to spend our money in bite-sized doses instead.

People are at home more often, so the sales for pyjamas and sweatpants are at an all-time high (creating the term “slob chic”). That shouldn’t be too surprising. Junk food, however, is also a big winner in the pandemic economy. Sweets, cookies, and especially chips are weapons of choice for those who have decided to diversify their pantries.

Baking

Of course, not only junk food is getting all the attention. People have dived headfirst into the kitchen. Cooking has become more popular; in a recent survey, nearly 35% of people say they make more meals than ever from scratch. But that pales in comparison to the craze that is baking. Whether you see a slew of scone photos on Instagram or hear others talk about growing their own yeast, you know that people have made baking time into the new party time. 

The baking trend proves that we’ve gone back to the basics, and psychologists are saying it’s beneficial. It makes sense, mainly because it allows people to focus on developing new skills and gives a sense of control. It has, however, led to some supermarkets running low on flour, sugar, and yeast.

Buying Local

There is a real benefit to indulging, baking, and becoming health-conscious. That’s buying local. The pandemic has shown us just how globalized our economy is. Now that supply chains have been threatened, reduced, or sometimes altogether eliminated, consumers are beginning to realize that the only thing that can guarantee putting food on the table is the local economy. After all, local markets are free of middlemen, have short supply chains, and require the least border-crossing. Now that sounds both essential and safe!

Bad News Overload

Nearly 50% of people have admitted that they engage in “active news avoidance” at least some of the time. All this new information is simply too depressing, and what’s bad one day may be eclipsed by what happens the next. In other words, we are finding it harder and harder to learn about these things, much less accept them.

Turns out that people aren’t in the mood for accepting much of anything. You may have been surprised about the rising voices calling out social injustice and systemic violence in the heart of a pandemic. That’s because we simply can’t take any more bad news, and people want change now. The good news is that active protesting has raised awareness around the world on the question of race, sex, and oppression. Unfortunately, real social change is typically slow-coming.

Discussion Questions

  1. Which of the trends above do you find most attractive? Did you participate in it? What interested you about it?
  2. Are any of the trends above simply “fads” that will disappear in the near future? Why or why not?
  3. What are some good ways to keep yourself busy at home? Are you the kind of person to get bored, or more likely to over-plan?
  4. How do you cope with bad news? Do you feel that you’ve reached capacity on bad news?

(Image courtesy of CNBC.)