In celebration of both level two day and budget day, Emily Writes puts on her business reporting hat to take a look at the winners (and one potential loser) of the post-lockdown economy.
As New Zealand begins to reopen from today, a number of industries and businesses will rise. In the past seven weeks many of us have faced some realisations about what our needs are. And just as so many of us forgot McDonalds only tastes nice when it’s 2am and you’re shitfaced from Ivy big pours, what we invest our time and money into is going to change.
Here are my predictions for what industries are going to really win big from lockdown and why.
The Beauty Industry
Every day I’ve had to do at least one Zoom call. And every day I look at myself in a screen and I realise that I am very ugly. How many of us are only just realising that our faces are just a bit fucked? The beauty industry is in for a bonanza. After weeks of staring at my face I’ve come to accept that getting my eyebrows tinted and plucked is not optional. I am approaching “would scare small children on the street” territory. Getting regular haircuts is crucial if I want to not look like Mick Foley. When I asked a friend about this, to ensure it wasn’t just me, she said: “Yeah, it’s savage. I had no idea I was this ugly.”
Compound that with “Just Woke Up Like This” selfies from beautiful people on Instagram who can somehow bake bread as well as be hot, and the nation’s self esteem is at an all time low.
According to health and beauty booking platform Timely, New Zealanders have pre-booked over 60,000 beauty appointments already for this week. Those beauty therapists are going to have a lot to deal with. A friend tried home microdermabrasion and her face is now breaking out in ingrown hairs. She looks like a shaved wookie.
The receptionist at Spring Spa Wellington said she had hundreds of calls to work through. I tried to call her back but couldn’t get through and I’m not going to try all day because I’m not that dedicated to journalism.
The Dog Walking industry
Our dogs are now used to being walked 16 times a day. Do you think they’re just going to give that up when you go to work? They’re dogs man. This is going to be devastating for them. Nobody will be around to tell them they’ve done a good stretch. Or to ensure they know they’re the goodest dog in the world. How will they cope? If you think about it, this is their lockdown. This is their sudden isolation. Now they’re just home alone with the cat. And you know the cat is an asshole. Stop trying to pretend it isn’t. Dog walkers will need to step in or else the nation’s dogs will be really suffering. I spoke to one dog on the condition of anonymity, here’s what he told me. “I’m worried. I am. I have grown used to being told every day that I’m the goodest. And you know, I was starting to believe it. My therapist says I’ve been making great progress and I don’t want to be OH SHIT SHIT SHIT A BALL FUCK I LOVE BALLS.”
The Chiropractic Industry
Honestly, the chiropractic industry is going to go off. Half the country has RSI from having daily sad wanks, others have had children climbing all over them, others still are working at the kitchen table and now they have serious hunches. If the extent of your lockdown exercise has been crying and reaching for the TV remote you’re going to need someone to fix your back. Just don’t moan with pleasure the first time they touch you.
The Vasectomy Industry
Look, I’m not saying that there are probably parents out there who looked up on Youtube “how to do a vasectomy at home” but I’m just saying there probably are. The other day I almost cried with joy in the supermarket. I explained to the lady staring at me crying in the cereal aisle that I was finally having a moment where I didn’t have a child who smells like piss hanging off me and asking for Bubble Guppies, and Natasha Bedingfield singing ‘These Words’ was a thousand times better than hearing my oldest talk incessantly about Minecraft. She told me I should count my blessings. God rest her soul.
The only people who think having children at home with you while you work full time for eight weeks is a blessing are people who don’t have children at home while they work full time for eight weeks. Baby boom? Please. I am quite positive there are people thinking about whether they can drop their kids off to school on Sunday.
The Anti-Vaxx Industry
Covid-19 really forced anti-vaxxers to regroup and come up with a new approach. They’d always believed that the majority of people would be like them and not mind if other people get a preventable disease, as long as their families were safe. Not so – as the country shut down so New Zealanders could protect each other, the anti-vaxxers were hit with a shocking truth. It turns out people in this country do want to keep the most vulnerable people safe, even if it isn’t their own grandmother or their own newborn that’s at risk.
So the anti-vaxxers stayed very quiet as we watched other countries suffer through devastating loss and mourned our dead and theirs. Then one of them said OK, so Covid-19 is bad and it shows what a world without vaccines is like which isn’t good for us. Why don’t we say the flu vaccine has Covid-19 in it? And let’s say that people who have died from Covid-19 and all of the people who are fighting it – doctors, nurses, epidemiologist – let’s say they’re all crisis actors. And astonishingly, people believed this. Because people will believe anything.
Because believing that selfish nonsense is easier than believing that we all owe a debt to each other and our lives from cradle to grave are inextricably linked to others’ in ways we cannot imagine. It’s easier to believe simple rubbish than it is to truly understand that just as the measure of a civilisation is how it treats its weakest members, the same is true for a community. It’s easier to hide from the truth than to recognise the devastating reality that life is ever so fragile and that we are born with the desire to keep each other safe.
That innate care for others, the one that grows so strong in those who become carers and nurses and doctors, is within all of us. Some reject it because they’re poisoned by the disappointments in life. And some nurture it in the hope that they can encourage it in their children.
The truth isn’t that exciting. It’s just that when most people dig deep, they find within themselves the capacity to care for people outside of their bubble.
No matter how hard many of us found lockdown, most of us found it a privilege to be able to do something to help others. It is rare you are handed the opportunity to save lives by sitting at home in front of the television. But that doesn’t end today. And that’s what we need to remember. Most industries will need our support. The anti-vaxx industry and the self-absorbed mobs? I’m not buying what they’re selling. And you don’t have to either.
The Spinoff Weekly compiles the best stories of the week – an essential guide to modern life in New Zealand, emailed out on Monday evenings.