SPLURGE OR SAVE: THE MORAL DILEMMA OF SPENDING DURING COVID-19

Lately, the typical hotspots we love aren’t so… hot. In fact, Greenwich Avenue and SoHo, typically bustling during spring, are downright deserted. Adding to this air of depressing quiet are storefronts that are actually boarded up in what appears more like hurricane preparedness than pandemic protocol. (That’s you, Sephora, West Elm, Valentino, etc, etc.)

Cue the online shopping!! Or, not? Just like mine, your inbox is flooded with every kind of promotion, markdown and flash sale. Did you take the bait?

In large part, I hesitated, knowing that adorable sundress I really want would hardly go beyond my back yard. After all, my athleisure is in its highest rotation ever, and that’s saying a lot coming from a work-from-home mom. And, I’m almost embarrassed to say, shopping for luxuries could hardly compete with the high of scoring that coveted open delivery window from Whole Foods we landed at 3AM when some other sucker cancelled. Woo hoo! (Sad, but true.)

Talk about a screwed up form of retail therapy! Face masks and gloves are the season’s hottest accessories. That makes those killer designer sandals less appealing, especially without a pedicure to accompany them.

But there’s a deeper question that’s circulating: could shopping during Covid-19 be shameful?

New York Times columnist Vanessa Friedman pondered recently: “People losing family members. People losing jobs. Shopping is so … self-indulgent. So unnecessary.”

Perhaps.

Even those who haven’t lost jobs are grappling with a pause in business, fewer clients, furlough, or they’re fearing all of the above. Spending just isn’t prudent. But luxury to one person is, indeed, essential to someone else.

What about the entrepreneurs who feed their families from your penchant for must-have spring florals? Don’t forget the local cheese shop, fish market, coffee shop, grocery store, and restaurant that depends of your business to pay taxes and a mortgage. “Support local” goes far beyond a trendy catch phrase that spurs new GIFs.

Curbside pickup and contactless delivery are the life-blood of this community. They pump dollars into local businesses that are teetering between bankruptcy and desperately holding on until “normalcy” resumes.

There are fascinating examples of how local support has kept businesses afloat and I can’t wait to learn more about them. In fact, I’m actively seeking them out so I can share and celebrate these victories along with you. Let me know some of your favorite local spots that you enjoy! Or, if you ARE a local spot and want to shout out your customers, I would love to help!

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