Hold Onto Your Car!

Copyright: stanciuc

The pandemic has created many shortages and supply chain issues, among them toilet paper, disinfecting supplies, and workout equipment. But did you know that there is also a shortage of used automobiles? Two major factors which have caused so many people to turn towards used cars are decreased new automobile production, and budget concerns which have resulted from decreases in income. If you have an extra used car sitting around that’s not being used, it may be a small gold mine for you if you sell it right now, because the demand is so high. But if your used vehicle is one you actually need in order to get around, and it’s in good mechanical shape, you’re better off holding onto it until the surge in demand simmers down.

Even my car, which is a 6 year old economy car, is now worth about $1,400 more this year than it was at the beginning of 2020. Strange, but it’s true. Prior to the pandemic, I had actually considered selling my car and getting a newer model, but I am definitely pushing my plans back by about 3 years or more. I truly hope that when I am ready to get a different car, the supply chain issues with new automobile production will not be an issue like they are right now.

If you are in the market to buy a used car, you already know how difficult it is to actually locate one. It took one of my dear friends four months before she was able to find a used car to purchase. She looked everywhere, and kept responding to listings which turned out to be sleazy dealers instead of the private parties they claimed to be. The vehicles were not in good mechanical condition, so they never passed mechanical inspection. The only reason why she was finally able to find a decent car to buy was because a friend of hers whose mother was going to buy one from a family member changed her mind, and offered to sell the car to my friend. Had that not occurred, my friend would likely still be on the hunt for a set of wheels.

If you can purchase a new car instead of struggling to find a used one, be prepared to pay about 5% more than before March of 2020.

How the Pandemic Made Wine O’Clock Acceptable

Copyright: iridi

Shortly after COVID-19 caused a global lockdown in early 2020, many of us began to regard having a cocktail before 5 pm as acceptable. Conventional rules about how most people used to live were thrown out the window when we were suddenly trapped inside our homes, bored, stressed out, and uncertain about our futures. I don’t doubt for a second that many people turned to booze as a coping mechanism, to quell concerns over the mysterious virus which froze the world in trepidation, and to soothe anxiety over job security and financial wellness. Perhaps some individuals also turned to libations to manage the aggravation which resulted from the constant close proximity to family members from whom they used to be able to escape when they were able to leave the house for work. I suspect boredom has triggered a fair amount of drinking as well.

Copyright: ajlber

During full lockdown, alcohol merchants made it easy for people stuck at home craving a glass of cabernet sauvignon to order online or through apps and have ethanol elixirs delivered to their residences. Even now, with restrictions largely lifted, restaurants and other food-centered businesses have come up with cheeky suggestions on how alcohol can calm spirits ravaged by the chaotic and confusing events which COVID-19 created. It’s surprising to me how so many people who never drank on a regular basis admitted to drinking on a daily basis during full lockdown, because it smoothed the rough edges of a tumultuous and frightening time in history.

How Coronavirus Has Changed Our Shopping Habits

Source: 123rf
Image ID : 143775383
Copyright : mailhamdi

Shopping habits have changed dramatically since the appearance of COVID-19 and the subsequent scramble to socially distance and protect ourselves.  Grocery stores and retail pharmacies now have plexiglass shields at the checkout stands, and there are shoe stickers on the floors as visual reminders of the six foot distance we are urged to keep from each other.

Malls are nearly empty, and many merchants haven’t even dared open their doors.  The days when you could just hop over to a local store and pick up a couple of items have been replaced with long lines of people waiting to get in, and staple items which are perpetually low in stock or completely depleted.  Let’s not forget about all that toilet paper hoarding which defined the earlier part of 2020.

Source: 123rf
Image ID : 146199996
Copyright : Ida Åkerblom

 

The new normal when it comes to consumer spending is largely confined to purchasing only the essentials, but there has also been a peculiar yet predictable surge in what can reasonably be described as online retail therapy.  Since we’ve basically been forced to become homebodies, our shopping preferences have changed to reflect this lifestyle shift.  Online streaming services have increased dramatically in popularity, as people search for shows and films to chew up some of their time at home.

Industries which have seen an uptick in their sales since the global pandemic hit include food delivery and takeout services, alcohol, exercise equipment, health supplies such as masks and hand sanitizer, and beauty and wellness products.

Some people have been compelled to stock up on bundles of essentials like pasta, toilet paper and the like, while others have fallen into the habit of purchasing unnecessary items, perhaps a long coveted item which was purchased with the attitude, life is short, might as well buy it.

The following excerpt from an article by Leanne Italie is an excellent description of the purchasing habits which many of us might find ourselves falling into as this lockdown continues:

“Shopping as therapy has been shown to reduce negative moods and boost overall happiness,” he said. “The big downside, however, is that such relief is very short-lived. That good feeling very quickly dissipates.”

Mr. Galak said some research points to “shopping while bored” as a variation with less emotional payout.

“Browsing for things that one doesn’t need fills the time and then clicking `buy now’ just naturally follows,” he said. “Consumers may find themselves on page 20 of a search result for a new pair of shoes, a place that when engaged and not bored, they would never reach.”

Jennifer Salgado, 42 of Bloomfield, N.J., is a shopper with many heads these days.

“Resourceful me has purchased: a pasta roller and drying rack, because now I’m Ina Garten; stuff to make hand sanitizer, because I’m now a chemist; and dog nail clippers that my 76-pound bulldog noped out of real fast and is now looking like Snooki from the ‘Jersey Shore,’” she said.

There’s also “luxurious me,” Ms. Salgado said, snapping up 96 macarons from a bulk-buying store, along with the Jennifer who needed 24 pounds of frozen peas.

“Most of the time, I forget what’s coming,” she said, echoing others who accepted long delivery dates out of fear. “And most of the time, I realize I never really needed these things in the first place.”

Kellie Flor-Robinson of Silver Spring, Md., just may be a combination of all of the above.

“I ordered a case of Moet,” she said. “I’m not sure that it was an accident, though — this thing has me buggy.”