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calendar   Thursday - April 16, 2020

Gazing Into My Crystal Ball

COVID will change the way we shop, forever.

Even after the government allows society to re-open, you know you’re going to have to wear your mask everywhere. Maybe gloves too. Googles? We’ve already figured out that shaking hands may never happen again. But that’s just the start. Reusable shopping bags were really pushed by the greenies last year, but are now utterly verboten. Plastic straws are also back in vogue, but you will never see an unwrapped straw again, or the old glass container with dozens inside, pick your own. Gone forever, with good reason. 

I read an article yesterday talking about the effectiveness of UV-C as a sanitizing process for protective masks, to allow their re-use. It probably works, but why not use boiling water or an autoclave if your masks are made of the right materials? But for your phone, your keys, and so on it may be an answer.

I’ve known about UV-C used in HVAC ducts for a long time now. I expect this use to grow exponentially. I also expect a lot more use of electrostatic air filtration, which is many times better at catching dust and dirt (and germs?) as your typical $1 fiberglass furnace filter. I’d push it a small step further, using a disposable standard air filter as a pre-filter. How long until both of these become mandated for all office buildings and stores? And homes?? Cars???

But it was a trip to the grocery store that really made this idea bloom. Even with all the shopping restrictions currently in place, people have not yet really changed their shopping habits. They still seem to touch, smell, and pick through every piece of produce in the store. Are you nucking futz?? This behavior needs to be GONE. The open food areas in the store are already shut down - the hot prepared pick-your-own trays over by the deli, the salad bar, the trays of pickled mushrooms and peppers, fresh cheese, etc - gone. Probably forever. Even with sneeze guards. It simply is not enough at this point. We are going to shift to a “you touch it you buy it” philosophy. Expect all produce to be behind a plexiglass barrier, with PPE wearing clerks bagging your selections. The old days of Mrs. Grundy picking up every cantaloupe, squeezing them, bringing them up to her face to sniff them. Never again, ever. But as long as the economy recovers, we won’t be reduced to the Soviet style “This is your issued turnip comrade. You can buy another one Thursday” thing.

The “shop from home” service provided by our local grocery store is booming. Text in your list, and your credit card. Pick up your order at the sidewalk, or pay extra and they’ll drive the van right to your house. Will that become mandatory? Or will this all just blow over and we’ll go back the same old ways?

I can also see that a balance point will be necessary. We can not expect, demand, or even survive in an absolutely germ free environment. Not only is the cost of implementing that insanely expensive, but we become weaker people from it, with lowered immunity to an infinite number of illnesses.

But I can see a day when the guys in the butcher shop are fully gowned, gloved, and full face masked. And I can see that same day where every piece of raw meat is sent down the UV-C sanitizing tunnel before and after it gets wrapped. And I can see a similar thing with all produce. I don’t think this will extend to boxed products, but it might be needed at the Post Office or at bulk shippers or at Amazon.

Already people are spraying down the boxes of stuff that they order, or putting them off to the side for a number of days before even touching them. Because COVID. Is this extreme behavior? I can’t say. But the last box that got dropped off here stayed out on the porch for 3 days before we even brought it in the house. Lucky us that we live in a crime free area, and our front patio is not visible to anyone from any angle.

I don’t know if NJ’s law against pumping your own gas will extend to other states. But if I was getting gas in Kansas, I’d wear gloves while doing so, and hold the gas pump nozzle with a wipe. Just to be sure.

Will we become a “plexiglass city” society, not just to reduce crime, but to reduce the spread of germs? I want that to be a laughably excessive solution, but we already live in a world of extremes. Where is the balance point between freedom of choice (at least in terms of shopping) and public safety?

Get back to me in a year or two and we’ll see if my predictions become reality. If you want, put your own predictions in the comments. How else will “raised viral awareness” change our lives?



~~~~



Somewhat Related:

Over at Townhall, a look at other things they are a changing. Like college. Like the office. Like everyday people’s awareness of the media BS and the one-world BS. Nothing you don’t already know, but a nice 5 minute read.

Work: Working at home was already getting to be sort of a thing. Now, it’s pretty obvious that a lot of people can work at home. In fact, they should. Sure, there’s the management challenge of making sure employees don’t confuse working at home with a vacation, but for a lot of us, the office is going to be a thing of the past. This is especially good news if you tend to dislike other people.

I’ve thought about that one too, but from a different angle. If you have a job at an office in NYC, and live in NJ and are now a permanent work from home employee, do you still owe income tax to NYC or NY? I used to work for a multi-national IT company based in Plano TX. I worked in NJ. I did not pay income taxes to Texas. Why should these people? We need some sensible nationwide legal clarification. As in: no, they don’t get to tax you, period. Just the state you work in. Extending this idea into the future could create a massive remote corporate workforce in states with no or very low income tax. Sweeet. OTOH, do you get to keep that inflated NYC salary? Which goes 3 times further in Tumbleweed Wyoming? Orgasmic, but don’t bet on it. OTTH, low cost of living area employees could totally boost a corporation’s profit margin via salary reductions.]


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 04/16/2020 at 11:54 AM   
Filed Under: • Health and SafetyPandemic Pandemonium •  
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