The world in a crisis: A shopper’s perspective

Hannah Lorenzo, Copy Chief

Living in a consumerist society, I consider my shopping addiction to be a huge part of my life. Every time I go to a mall or search online on a comfy chair in my house, there is always a product that I just have to buy. Whether it be a trendy pair of jeans or too many bracelets for one wrist, I just have to make a purchase.

However, with the COVID-19 crisis, things are going downhill for consumerism, an aspect that has remained essential for the U.S. economy ever since it became an independent nation. Almost every establishment is closed for the time being, which already spells out trouble for our country. Even though grocery stores remain as one of the scarce sources for people to get necessities, no one can shop for clothes or eat out for an indefinite amount of time, putting intense stress on businesses as well as for those employees who have been laid off.

As a fellow consumer, it breaks my heart to have to deal with the fact that normal life is not ‘normal’ anymore. Local businesses that are at risk of shutting down cannot profit with the obstacle of staying at home. And even worse, the people who became my friends that I used to see everyday at my local stores, can no longer rely on minimum wage if their locations are shut down. If this continues, we could be looking at another recession.

Thankfully, there have been efforts to bring support for businesses and normalcy for consumers. Delivery services, such as Postmates and DoorDash, have been offering deals of free delivery and meal discounts for those who still want fries to dip into their milkshakes, and college students who need a stable source of dinner. Shopping sites are lifting their shipping fees and reducing prices to attract customers who before, only physically went to the store. The best part of all of this, in my opinion, is that many are donating a portion of their earnings towards funding organizations to add to the resources for hospitals and charities. 

For me, I truly appreciate all of these opportunities for consumers, but not because we would be spending money recklessly. Consumerism, in a time like now, can support the people of this nation. Losing business can be one’s worst nightmare, and with the stay-at-home orders across the nation, it will be detrimental for more than just the owners, but for the employees who will be unable to find another job in an ocean of unemployment. That is where we, consumers, come in. If I have the chance to spend my hard-earned money on a specific item that I want, it is not beneficial only for me, but for the hardworking people in all kinds of jobs, from baristas supplying my daily coffee run, to the local jeweler who I rely on to make precious Mother’s Day gifts. From now on, whenever I plan to order something, I will do it in the hopes that someone out there does not lose their job and sends money to their family without the fear of going broke.

I have to admit, the shopping experience is very limited and not what I’m used to, but I’m not complaining. The whole situation with COVID-19 is bigger than the Lululemon fashion or burrito bowls. People’s lives have been turned upside down because of the virus, and I’m just grateful to know that my family is sustaining itself well. However, I want that stability to reach others, and I believe my consumerist attitude can be a part of mending some of the wounds that our country has. People do say that money is the root of all evil, but if we focus on utilizing it to help each other, I would say that we can turn it into something that no longer requires a negative connotation. So hit the ‘Place Order’ button for your next lunch or purchase that handmade sweater to send to a loved one if you can. In my mind, one consumer plays a significant role, especially now when the people should not feel burdened by financial troubles in the midst of a medical catastrophe.