Marketplace has a new podcast for kids, "Million Bazillion!" EPISODE OUT NOW
COVID-19

How people shop after getting vaccinated

Marielle Segarra Apr 1, 2021
Heard on:
HTML EMBED:
COPY
Freshly vaccinated shoppers are ready to make up for lost time. Samir Hussein/Getty Images for Shop West End VIP Weekend
COVID-19

How people shop after getting vaccinated

Marielle Segarra Apr 1, 2021
Heard on:
Freshly vaccinated shoppers are ready to make up for lost time. Samir Hussein/Getty Images for Shop West End VIP Weekend
HTML EMBED:
COPY

Two weeks from now, Amy Estey is getting her second dose of the COVID vaccine at a Walgreens in Delaware. And you know how you have to wait for 15 minutes after you get the shot?

“I was actually just thinking about this the other day. That 15-minute wait time, instead of sitting in a chair, watching the clock, I should be over working on my hair supplies and lipstick and all that,” she said.

She’s planning a shopping spree. Because soon, she’ll have places to go.

“I guess it’s the idea of being out and seeing people — and being seen,” Estey said.

There’s this thing we’ve heard from people who just got vaccinated: They immediately started spending money.

One practical reason — they were anticipating finally leaving their houses.

Others are celebrating.

Colleen Nowak lives in Wisconsin. She and her husband are health care workers, and they are now fully vaccinated. Last weekend they sat down at a restaurant for the first time in a year.

“My parents are both vaccinated, and they watched our kids,” Nowak said. “And I remember telling them before we went out, like, ‘I’m going to spend a lot of money.'”

She got the steak. He got the fish. They also got bruschetta, cheesecake and two glasses of wine.  

“We were both feeling a little bit more comfortable, first of all, just going to restaurants, but maybe spending a little bit more in the restaurant, like we’re finally treating ourselves now that we can go out,” Nowak said.

It’s like they’re making up for lost time.

A lot of people are doing that.

“We’ve saved a lot of money during the pandemic and haven’t been able to do much,” said Cynthia Jones, who lives in Georgia.

But her 25th wedding anniversary is coming up, so she and her husband booked a trip to Florida in December.

“We’re gonna stay at a nicer hotel than we usually do,” Jones said. It’s the Hilton Bentley — right on the waterfront in Miami Beach.

Then they’re going to fly across the state to Clearwater “and do as much as we can, now that we’re all vaccinated,” she said.

Are you noticing a trend here in how people are spending — on makeup, restaurants, vacations? It’s on stuff they mostly haven’t done for a year.  

There might be a reason for that beyond post-vaccine euphoria.

I bought some red lipstick recently. And I pictured myself wearing it along with a crisp, white T-shirt (another recent purchase) and denim shorts. You know, hanging out at a backyard barbecue this summer, no mask needed.

It was almost like: If I buy this lipstick, I can turn that vision into reality.

Lindsay Bryan-Podvin, a therapist who focuses on financial issues, said that’s about control.

“I have been talking about this pandemic, kind of like a roller-coaster that nobody told you how long it’s going to last or how many loops there are,” she said.

And that can feel really disorienting.

“So to do something, to your point, that’s really concrete — I’m going to go to a Sephora, pick out a red lipstick, purchase it and walk out with it. That feels so good to our brains,” she said.

Especially since we would all like this pandemic to be over.

We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.

Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.

In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.

Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.