retail

  • Cheer­ing Up

    The Spring Equinox, also called the Ver­nal Equinox, has long been cel­e­brated as a time of renewal and rebirth.

    March 20th marked the first day of spring in the north­ern hemi­sphere. In nor­mal times, this gives peo­ple a chance to gather and focus on the sea­sonal events that lift us up.

    Cul­tures cel­e­brate spring fes­ti­vals and hol­i­days – like Easter and Passover – around the equinox. Sport­ing events, con­certs and the like boost our social inter­ac­tions and spir­its.

    We are not liv­ing in nor­mal times. How­ever, there are some things we can do to ease our psy­che dur­ing this chal­leng­ing period as we fol­low the edict to dis­tance our­selves from oth­ers.

    As self-​quarantines and man­dated restric­tions are fol­lowed, there is cheer­ful work to be done. Take this time to pre­pare gar­dens, flower beds and planters.

    The ground soft­ens and the dirt becomes warmer. If it’s too early to plant, take this chance to pre­pare. Groom, weed, hoe and turn the soil.
  • Ground­hog Day

    We mean the film, not the actual day when some crit­ter in Penn­syl­va­nia comes out to pre­dict the weather.

    The iconic cult clas­sic is a movie in which the main char­ac­ter, bril­liantly played by Bill Mur­ray, is caught in a time warp.

    His guy relives the worst day of his life, over and over. Part of the premise is around the self-​absorbed and arro­gant behav­ior of Phil Con­ners. With­out any con­se­quence, he indulges in reck­less activ­i­ties.

    Cut to 2020 and the COVID-​19 cri­sis. Every day we wake up to more dis­mal news, climb­ing sta­tis­tics and what looks to be a repeat of the day before.

    The cur­rent spell hangs over every per­son, every busi­ness and every agency. We are des­per­ate to break the cycle.

    Stay­ing con­nected with oth­ers is a chal­lenge as mil­lions fol­low man­dates to shel­ter in place. The human spirit is tamped down with­out the pow­er­ful forces of touch, kind­ness and compassion.
  • New Rules

    The vast major­ity of Amer­i­can con­sumers agree that their lives have been dis­rupted by the coro­n­avirus pan­demic.

    Along with mas­sive dis­rup­tion has been a cer­tain degree of anx­i­ety, con­cern and fear.

    Vir­tu­ally all pub­lic busi­ness sec­tors have a expe­ri­enced some sort of change, dis­rup­tion or mod­i­fi­ca­tion to work­place pro­to­cols.

    Restric­tions have been most evi­dent for “essen­tial ser­vice” providers like retail gro­cery stores. For any­one with respon­si­bil­ity for doing house­hold shop­ping, notice­able efforts to calm wor­ried shop­pers are evi­dent.

    Retail gro­cers were quick to adopt: Shop­ping cart san­i­tiz­ing, 6’ rule of self-​distancing, rec­om­mended wear­ing of face masks and gloves, plex­i­glass bar­rier pro­tec­tion at check­out and restric­tions of num­ber of shop­pers by size of store.

    Active in-​store food demon­stra­tions, self-​serve salad and soup bars and bulk food bins were at once ban­ished. Fur­ther adap­ta­tions have seen direc­tional aisles, spec­i­fied hours for vul­ner­a­ble shop­pers and floor stamps and mark­ers for COVID-​19 mes­sag­ing.

    Obvi­ously, new rules at retail are some­what com­fort­ing to shop­pers. Most shop­pers grade the store and if they elect to shop there again by what they see as health safety mea­sures being fol­lowed. A sim­ple thing like ban­ning re-​useable bags took awhile to take hold.
  • Retail Mad­ness

    If you are the pri­mary gro­cery shop­per for your house­hold, you’ve had a taste of what retail mad­ness feels like.

    For all oth­ers, it’s only a wild tale of unprece­dented activ­ity. It may rein­force why you leave the shop­ping to oth­ers.

    Long lines to get in to stores. Longer lines to check­out. Empty shelves for more than paper tow­els and toi­let paper. Eggs are at a pre­mium if you can find them.

    Major chain stores have now imposed lim­its on cer­tain items to pre­vent hoard­ing. This comes later than nec­es­sary. We hear about indi­vid­u­als stock­pil­ing paper goods, hand san­i­tiz­ers and clean­ing sup­plies.

    Costco, Kroger’s, Whole Foods and oth­ers have dis­con­tin­ued prod­uct sam­pling. No free nib­bles.

    The spike in “social dis­tanc­ing” does not yet seem to apply to retail envi­ron­ments. Pan­icked shop­pers crowd aisles and fill carts with every­thing from ramen to Spam. Even if those things are not what is nor­mally eaten for din­ner, there is some illog­i­cal ratio­nale for pur­chas­ing them.