Coronavirus tugs hard at purse strings - GulfToday

Coronavirus tugs hard at purse strings

Birjees Hussain

She has more than 10 years of experience in writing articles on a range of topics including health, beauty, lifestyle, finance, management and Quality Management.

She has more than 10 years of experience in writing articles on a range of topics including health, beauty, lifestyle, finance, management and Quality Management.

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Photo has been used for illustrative purposes.

Times are hard now, whether you’re a small business owner or a consumer. It seems that the only ones who appear to be benefiting from the current crisis are the large corporations. I recently read that, whereas we are losing our jobs or our salaries are being sliced and diced, the big billionnaire has still managed to double his income in the last three months.

Online shopping has escalated so it stands to reason they would benefit from lockdowns and self-isolations. So too are pharmaceutical companies, toiletry companies and manufacturers of cleaning supplies, purchase of all of which has gone through the roof in the last three months.

In the first half of this year, people’s purchasing priorities have changed. Luxury items are a thing of the past. No more upgrading of phones, no more new clothes or shoes since people are now working from home and maybe, just maybe, no new school supplies since children are now being taught at home. These may not be classed as luxury goods but nor do they now count as essential goods. They’re not buying petrol for their cars or having their cars cleaned because they’re not going out much now except to buy groceries and even then it’s once or twice a week. People are avoiding eating out because they’re not sure of the cleanliness and the social distancing has probably scared the hell out of them. For most people, home-cooked food is probably the safest.

I can tell you from personal experience that we haven’t had any takeaways not just because it’s now an unnecessary expense but because of cleanliness issues. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m sure it is very clean but with all the scares there is always that little bit of doubt still remaining.

In the last three months I’ll bet few people have upgraded their smartphones because it is a luxury that very few can now afford. Moreover, with so many people losing their jobs, or having their income cut by employers, they are often asking to borrow things or buying second-hand items from within their community. I have seen posts on Facebook from parents looking for children’s books and toys, jigsaw puzzles and even baby items like a pram or cradle. People just can’t afford to buy anything new now.

On the other hand, if people are not in the market for buying new items, they are certainly in the market for selling used ones, mostly because they are being forced to leave the country having lost their jobs and all that and because they’d like to make that extra bit of cash on their way out. I have also seen postings from people selling both indoor and outdoor furniture, baby items, lamps, decorative knick-knacks and even clothes worn by their children. I was so shocked that earlier in the week a woman was selling her child’s swimming costume, something akin to a child’s underwear! Under normal circumstances it would be considered unhygienic. So surely under Covid-19 conditions it has to be a definite no-no?

As I said, times are so hard for some people that they are willing to sell anything and buy something they need from anyone, even if it means buying second-hand. The thing that puzzles me most is that, since so many people are rigorously sanitising their groceries that are new, who is then willing to buy used clothes? It’s probably okay to buy used outdoor furniture and indoor wooden furniture since both can be easily sanitised at home, but clothes? Under these Covid conditions would you really be comfortable putting on used clothes no matter how many times you washed them? Wouldn’t you worry about Covid? Or germs in general?

Now in some countries, where people have gardens and allotments, they’ve been growing their own fresh produce simply because it’s cheaper since the prices in supermarkets have soared since the Covid crisis. I have a friend from university who has been doing this for years. What’s more, many people are not only consuming their own fresh produce, rather than buying, they’re also donating their excess produce to a needy neighbour or selling it at more affordable prices.

You remember the old adage: ‘re-use, reduce and recycle’? Well Covid has certainly forced people to do just that.

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