We’ve probably all experienced the latest phenomenon – either in the kitchen or while catching up the latest memes. The Spring of the Sourdough Starter is what they’ll call it. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about yet, wait a minute—it's inevitable.) Sales of bread-making machines – and yes, sourdough starters included -- have shot through the roof since the pandemic began– up nearly 700% according to one retail analyst firm. This is just one radical spike in the marketplace that lends itself to the phases of what we’ve dubbed “Pandemic Shopping.”
Think of Pandemic Shopping like Maslow’s famous hierarchy of needs, but make it retail. Phase 1: we shopped for items that made us feel safe and secure. Phase 2: we bought stuff that helped us feel prepared—juuuust in case the experts were right about their intimidating projections. Phase 3: we settled into our new home-centric routines and bought items to keep us entertained—or at the very least, distracted. Phase 4: we became our own barbers, bakers and candlestick makers with DIY projects galore.
But as the COVID-19 closures, crisis & quarantines continue into their third month for the US – we’re looking ahead and asking, “What will Phase 5 be made up of?”
You have your hand sanitizer, your masks, your cold medicine, your TP & your canned pineapples all tucked away - now where do you turn?
Enter: Kiddie Pools
We’re no psychics, but we know how to put 1 and 2 together to get 5! The weather is warming up, and it looks like we may have to ride this thing out a little longer. Even as our cities start slowly opening up around us, there will be mandatory (or preferred) social distancing measures for the majority of us.
More than likely, that means more time at home compared to the typical summer break. Many Americans may not think heading to a public pool with the kids in tow would be a wise choice come this Memorial Day – so a lot of us will opt, instead, to skip the crowds and bring the pool to us this year.
Kiddie pools (kids not required), above-ground pools, grills, patio furniture, popsicle molds, ice cream makers, lawn games, garden tools and alarmingly gargantuan water guns all could see an extraordinary spike in sales as our nation heads into our most unordinary summer season. The summer of 2020 won’t look like the average American summer—but you can still attempt to make the most of it! Consider thinking ahead and buying items early that could make your summer feel more “normal." Make a list of what you need and buy it ahead of the curve, before summer items are incredibly hard to find or overpriced.
While you're at it, consider restocking on the essentials that were sold-out during Phase 1-- the masks, the toilet paper, the yeast, etc. Chances are that those items are back on shelves and if another spike in COVID-19 cases arises nationwide, they'll be swiped all over again. Try shopping local when possible, too -- especially since Amazon is all but asking for a break.
It's a Weird Time
Everything is changing, we’re not as comfortable as we were a few months ago and none of us know what to expect moving forward. It’s like global-scale puberty. But this, too, shall pass and, in the meantime, we’ve got our bread and we can eat it, too—all gathered around our own kiddie pools, 6 feet apart.
What do you think will be included in Phase 5... or beyond?