At the beginning of the pandemic, shopping got real weird real fast. Suddenly, you couldn’t buy your favorite brand of toilet paper, then any toilet paper. Online stores were charging over $100 for toilet paper that would normally only run you $10 to $20. That sort of price gouging is illegal. But that didn’t stop it from happening.
After that, people went into a time of panic buying. Masks were impossible to find at any price. If you were lucky, you might find someone selling individual, disposable masks for $10. Meat was hard to come by. Chicken was out of stock in many large grocery stores. People who had vowed to buy responsibly were badly punished for their prudence.
Thankfully, we are past most of the price gouging and panic buying. But that does not mean there are no pandemic purchases to be made. Here are some tips for shopping during the pandemic:
To begin with, you are very likely going to need another computer or three. Moreover, those computers are going to have to be good quality machines. You can’t afford to cheap out on something so important. You can’t afford your new work computer to flake out on you while you are on one of those important Zoom meetings.
The kids are also going to need a reliable computer for School. If you have more than one kid doing remote learning, they will each need their own computer. You might have to find some creative financing to purchase all these computers. But they are necessary.
Another big-ticket item might be the workspace. You might not find any co-working spaces that are still open. And renovating your home by adding an extra room or two is out of reach for most people. You might consider joining the new trend of using a storage shed for office space. They are extremely affordable and can be purchased at most home improvement stores. Running power to the shed is also a trivial matter. It costs a little bit upfront but can be extremely useful.
The sad truth is that not everyone is as invested in wearing masks as you when out and about. That means that there is some risk in going shopping at your local Walmart or grocery store. Depending on where you live, you might have the option to do your grocery shopping online and have it delivered. If not delivered, there is often an option to have it gathered and paid for so that all you have to do is go there and have them load it into the car, greatly reducing the amount of contact you have with other people.
Be sure to tip when possible. The professional shoppers are people just like you who are doing their best to make any kind of income they can while other work options are unavailable. They are paid very little and largely rely on people like you to make ends meet.
In some places, malls are just now starting to reopen. You will find many stores you once counted on are no longer there. Sears, and other mainstays are being shopped as fulfillment centers for Amazon. You might not want to roam around in a mall and try on clothes that others have also been wearing.
The solution could be to order from the online version of the stores you used to frequent. Just make sure you know what the return policy and procedure is before you order. Knowing your size is not enough. Sizes vary from one manufacturer to another. Don’t buy clothes in bulk until after you have tried one items to make sure it fits. Then you can confidently buy more. Again, a generous, hassle-free return policy is vital.
Shopping is weird but necessary. Thanks to the pandemic, it is necessarily different from what it was just a few months ago. You are going to need some big-ticket items you didn’t plan on. You are going to have to rely more on shopping online. And be especially diligent when shopping online for apparel.
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