How the pandemic upended your lives


March 20, 2020

Raise your hand if you’re with us. Who else is bound to have nightmares about that screen-time report Apple’s gonna send us on Sunday? At least we made it to the end of the week — if a little unkempt and unwashed. Thank goodness for Shower Thoughts…

Conscious Corona-Consumerism

A consumer’s guide to the coronavirus

The economy is in freefall. Businesses are hurting, and so are their customers and their employees.

And if you’re stuck at home, but you want to help — we’ve got you. 

We’ve been talking to people across the country who are developing strategies to lift up businesses and workers around them, and we’ve compiled their ideas in this brief report on how to help your fellow humans.

Below, we’ll identify: 

  • 4 consumer-facing industries that are most affected, and
  • How you can support businesses and workers in those industries

1. Food and Drink 

With most consumers confined to their homes, restaurants, bars, and markets are dealing with huge drops in foot traffic.

What you can do:

  • Order delivery and curbside. Restaurants that can’t host diners can still deliver, and many have even launched new curbside pickup programs. In Minnesota, a local CBS station built an interactive map of all the restaurants offering curbside pickup.
  • Buy “dining bonds.” A group of NYC restaurants launched SupportRestaurants.org, which sells “dining bonds” — discounted gift certificates redeemable after a set timespan (if you can’t find dining bonds, gift cards are good, too).
  • Contribute to “virtual tip jars.” Service workers in Indianapolis — many of whom are still reliant on tips for income — built a “virtual tip jar” by compiling and circulating a spreadsheet of their Venmo handles that enables customers to keep tipping.

2. Personal Care

As consumers self-quarantine, barbers, manicurists, makeup artists, and personal trainers can no longer get close to their clients. 

What you can do:

  • Rent equipment and subscribe to online “tutorials.” In Houston, several local gyms are renting out kettle bells and other workout equipment and producing online workout tutorials to help members replicate their gym classes at home.
  • Attend virtual classes. The Elements Hot Yoga studio in Charlottesville, VA, started hosting yoga and meditation classes virtually over Zoom for its members (it also allows non-members to join for $4 per session).
  • Schedule 1-on-1 virtual appointments. A Scottsdale, AZ, makeup studio called The Sparkle Bar is launching a virtual beauty studio that will offer personalized, 1-on-1 consultations for its clients.

3. Retail

Many brick-and-mortar retailers have been forced to close their doors, and some independent e-commerce sellers are struggling with price and product availability manipulation on big platforms like Amazon.

What can you do:

  • Buy directly from brands. An independent bookstore in Kansas called The Raven Book Store is moving its literary festival online, and local book sellers across the country are launching new delivery programs to stay in business. 
  • Buy from community-focused aggregators. SnapBar — a startup in the Seattle area that we told you about this week, which sells photo booth rentals for events — launched a direct-to-consumer subscription box called Keep Your City Smiling that sells gift boxes filled with products from struggling local businesses.

4. Leisure, Recreation, and Vacation

With large event venues, museums, and hotels on lockdown due to restrictions on large gatherings, performing artists, tour operators, and other hospitality businesses are struggling to stay in business.

What you can do:

  • Go on virtual tours. Museums from the Louvre in Paris to the Metropolitan Museum in New York are attracting visitors to their digital tours, and live-streaming platforms like Facebook Live and Alibaba’s Taobao Live are making it easy for even small tourist destinations to offer virtual visitation.
  • Attend online concerts. The Dropkick Murphys started a trend when they live-streamed their annual St. Patrick’s Day concert instead of performing live. Virtual concerts range from experimental shows put on by pop star (Erykah Baidu’s charging $1) to desperate continuations of current tours (Nashville up-and-comer Kalie Shorr is charging $5.99 per show)

And plenty of people need help beyond these industries

In fact, many of the people who need help the most aren’t working at all. 

Here some other groups of people who need assistance, and some ideas about how you could help provide it:

  • You can donate money to underemployed gig workers, recently laid-off hourly workers, or unemployed service workers with peer-to-peer wealth distribution platforms like Leveler 
  • You can help the elderly, disabled, and immunocompromised by delivering their groceries as a “shopping angel” 
  • You can use the Nextdoor app to share tips and resources between neighbors who are quarantined

If you have ideas about other ways customers can make conscious consumption choices, tweet @TheHustle. We’ll update this guide with your ideas.

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A NOTE FROM OUR FOUNDER

There’s no better time to support small businesses

Dear lovely readers, 

Over the past week, your engagement with this email has been the most ever.  The economy, corona, and everything else… this is a wild time, and you’re reading like crazy. We really appreciate that — it means a ton to serve you!

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Also, if you value our work, could you tell a friend? Just getting 1 of them to join makes a huge difference to me. 

On Sunday, we’ll have a deep dive into how this situation is impacting gig workers, and how you can help them. We’ll continue our coverage next week.

See you then, 

– Sam, Founder & CEO of The Hustle

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Coping With Coronavirus

From ‘a domino effect’ to ‘SOL’: How the pandemic has upended your jobs — and lives

Yesterday, we asked you to tell us how the coronavirus pandemic has affected you personally. Hundreds of readers responded (thank you!). 

We heard stories about bartenders, cooks, and waiters left with no source of income. Factory workers forced to move far from their families. Healthcare staff exposed to sick patients. And scores of people who have tried to file for unemployment but have yet to see any money.

We called up a few of you to hear firsthand how you’re coping, and we’re sharing some of those stories below. We’ll tell you more next week.

‘Being a contractor, if you lose your job, you’re SOL’

Jenn Morgan, 47, a freelance accountant in North Carolina

Her story:

Morgan was working 25-30 hours a week for a major client in California. Last week, she was reduced to ~5 hours per week. She has 2 young daughters , and she’s deciding what expenses to cut (she put the Dish Network on hold, but kept Disney for the girls). She’s looking for more remote opportunities on sites like Accountingfly.

What she told us:

  • This moment is especially hard for parents with young kids. “You want to give them the time and attention, because they don’t fully understand just how enormous this is… I do have some work to do, but I really have a hard time doing it, because they just want my attention.” 
  • Contract work is really precarious. “Being a contractor, if you lose your job, you’re SOL, because you don’t get unemployment.”
  • A lockdown should happen — now. “We’ve seen what’s happened in other parts of the world. We know what it can turn into, so why not do it now, and try and stunt this virus?”

‘‘Every email has been ‘We’re monitoring the situation’ to ‘We are scaling back’ to ‘We are shutting down’’

Nathalie Galde, 32, an actor in Chicago

Her story:

With live performances on “hard pause,” Galde has been working on self-tapes — self-shot audition tapes that her agent will send to casting directors — and doing voiceover auditions from her hall closet… “when my neighbor finishes his 10-minute drumming lessons.” 

She’s also picking up side hustles like translation and subtitle work.

What she told us:

  • Things escalated quickly. “It started a domino effect last Monday. My inbox started looking crazy. Every email has been ‘We’re monitoring the situation’ to ‘We are scaling back’ to ‘We are shutting down.’”
  • The show must go on. “There’s some WFH on the administration side (of the theater biz), but for those of us who stick to performing, we’re all starting to brainstorm how we can entertain from our homes — TikTok and Instagram aside.”
  • There are moments for laughter. “A lot of my industry people are entertainers, so we’re making funny videos and sending memes. We’re trying to keep things optimistic. One of our colleagues, he’s a portrait photographer. He’s going to people’s neighborhoods and taking photos of them in quarantine.” 

‘Many grocery workers out there are extremely scared and feel trapped’

Hanna L., 39, a grocery worker in Washington state

Her story: 

Hanna is quick to say that she’s lucky — in the small co-op grocery store where she works, she has access to paid sick leave and paid time off. But she worries every day about safety. 

Even in Washington state, once the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in the US, her employer has ignored concerns about social distancing. Hanna, who has a family at home, decided to bite the bullet and take 2 weeks off. 

What she told us: 

  • The co-op isn’t taking employee health seriously. “Cleaning supplies and things like gloves and hand sanitizer are hard to come by. We do what we can but by no means is it enough with strapped labor and supplies.”
  • Working in an essential business is a minefield of pressure. “I’m torn between a civic desire to provide an essential duty during this time and to help out my team and those on my team that are less fortunate financially… but extremely disappointed in management’s unwillingness to enact change and protection.”
  • The problems are magnified for poor and immunocompromised workers. “It is not typically a high-paying job so many of us live paycheck to paycheck, making this a particularly hard choice. Because how are we going to survive, feed our families, pay our bills?”

‘Of all the places to be cooped up, Brazil isn’t so bad’

Shawn Setyo, 31, a business-development associate, usually located in Canada, currently located in Brazil

His story: 

Setyo had signed up for a remote-work program that combined professional development with group excursions, landing in Brazil on March 15. The next day, he received word the program was canceled. 

Travelers had the option of returning to their homes or making their own arrangements. Not wanting to expose his partner to anything he might pick up while traveling, Setyo decided to stay put.

What he told us:

  • This is nobody’s dream vacation. “We’ve stopped congregating in big groups. We work from our balconies or our rooms. We do have a common area, but we’re staying a couple of tables apart. We’re limiting our visits outside, and there’s a 7-day closure of all non-essential services.”
  • Still … Saskatchewan just declared a state of emergency, and temperatures there are frigid. Setyo hasn’t hated his long — albeit solo — walks on the beach. When he returns, he will have to spend another 2 weeks quarantined. “Another deterrent for me to go back.”
  • There’s always an opportunity for growth. “Given the circumstances, I think now is a good time to learn a new skill or catch up on some reading. I just got the Calm app. It’s helping me tune out the noise.”

‘One by one, things just kept falling off the table’

Kari Norvell, 32, a freelance events coordinator in Austin, Texas

Her story:

Norvell had hoped to get out of debt in 2020. But that’s taken a backseat to covering immediate bills. She defaulted on her student loans last year, and she owes the Education Department about $40k. She has medical debt, too. 

After SXSW canceled, her jobs in Austin started evaporating — the record label she worked for, the USL soccer season she was counting on. “One by one,” she said, “things just kept falling off the table.”

What she told us:

  • The decimation of events opened her eyes. “Obviously, the event industry is going to change drastically after this. So I’m trying to find work doing things that are in demand right now” — like working for Amazon or at a grocery store.
  • Cutbacks have put many people in a tough spot. “There already is an influx of people looking for work right now. And a lot of people that don’t have money to make it over the next month, when we’re not supposed to be doing anything.”

The pandemic created a sense of community. “The shitty thing is, it takes a disaster for people to come together, but it’s been really nice seeing that.”

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Shower Thoughts

Just because we didn’t shower once this week doesn’t mean we don’t have any Shower Thoughts. Enjoy.

1. If you wear camouflage in public, you stand out more.

2. Buses have the route number on the back so you can confirm that it was your bus you just missed.

3. If you’re under the age of 40, Kane Tanaka (the oldest living person) has slept more years than you’ve been alive.

4. Biting your lower lip is seductive and attractive, whereas biting your upper lip has the completely opposite effect.

5. Gravity is always trying to take your pants off

Via Reddit

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