My Economy

“I like going on there and making sure that everybody’s still doing OK”

Maria Hollenhorst Oct 6, 2020
Heard on: Marketplace
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Veronica Coon started a popular Facebook barter group for people to trade goods during the coronavirus pandemic. Courtesy of Veronica Coon
My Economy

“I like going on there and making sure that everybody’s still doing OK”

Maria Hollenhorst Oct 6, 2020
Veronica Coon started a popular Facebook barter group for people to trade goods during the coronavirus pandemic. Courtesy of Veronica Coon
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My Economy” tells the story of the new economic normal through the eyes of people trying to make it, because we know the only numbers that really matter are the ones in your economy.

Back in March, Veronica Coon, a hairdresser in Henderson, Nevada, started an online barter group to help people trade hand sanitizer, cleaning products, face masks and other products in high demand during the pandemic. It quickly became a community where people not only trade goods, but also offer donations, share information and send words of comfort to people in need. 

Six months after it began, Coon said that kind of activity remains, but some of the products people want have changed.

“Right now, people are looking for more personal home items,” she said. “People are putting up, ‘I’m looking for patio furniture,’ or ‘I’m looking for a swimming pool and this is what I have to barter.’”

However, Coon said certain products have stayed in high demand throughout the pandemic: face masks and disinfecting sprays and wipes. “That’s probably the biggest thing that people ask for,” she said.

With the help of nine admins, Coon said she’s been able to cut down the amount of time she spends moderating the group to about one hour a week. “I try to go on once a week into the Facebook group and just post, ‘How is everyone doing?’” she said. “I feel it’s important to do that, not just as somebody who started the group, but as somebody who really cares. I like going on there and making sure that everybody’s still doing OK.” 

Though she temporarily lost her day-job as a hairdresser when Nevada’s governor issued a stay-at-home order, Coon said she’s been busy this summer meeting pent up demand for haircuts. “Getting everybody in the first eight weeks, I was working six days a week,” she said. “Now I’m back down to my four days a week and it’s been great.”

Overall, Coon said she’s hoping for a return to normalcy soon. “It’s hard to breathe with the chemicals that we use and having to wear a mask,” she said. “I understand it, it’s not that I don’t understand it, it’s just difficult. I wish that we [could] just get back to normal.”

Let us know how your economy is doing using the form below, and your story may be featured on a future edition of “My Economy.”









COVID-19 Economy FAQs

New COVID-19 cases and deaths in the U.S. are on the rise. How are Americans reacting?

Johns Hopkins University reports the seven-day average of new cases hit 68,767 on Sunday  — a record — eclipsing the previous record hit in late July during the second, summer wave of infection. A funny thing is happening with consumers though: Even as COVID-19 cases rise, Americans don’t appear to be shying away from stepping indoors to shop or eat or exercise. Morning Consult asked consumers how comfortable they feel going out to eat, to the shopping mall or on a vacation. And their willingness has been rising. Surveys find consumers’ attitudes vary by age and income, and by political affiliation, said Chris Jackson, who heads up polling at Ipsos.

How many people are flying? Has traveled picked up?

Flying is starting to recover to levels the airline industry hasn’t seen in months. The Transportation Security Administration announced on Oct. 19 that it’s screened more than 1 million passengers on a single day — its highest number since March 17. The TSA also screened more than 6 million passengers last week, its highest weekly volume since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. While travel is improving, the TSA announcement comes amid warnings that the U.S. is in the third wave of the coronavirus. There are now more than 8 million cases in the country, with more than 219,000 deaths.

How are Americans feeling about their finances?

Nearly half of all Americans would have trouble paying for an unexpected $250 bill and a third of Americans have less income than before the pandemic, according to the latest results of our Marketplace-Edison Poll. Also, 6 in 10 Americans think that race has at least some impact on an individual’s long-term financial situation, but Black respondents are much more likely to think that race has a big impact on a person’s long-term financial situation than white or Hispanic/Latinx respondents.

Find the rest of the poll results here, which cover how Americans have been faring financially about six months into the pandemic, race and equity within the workplace and some of the key issues Trump and Biden supporters are concerned about.

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