Supporting business in COVID times
Balancing physical and metal health while supporting the things we love.
Not a particularly hot-take there but worth reiterating.
For over two years, COVID has been a part of our lives. Causing harm and hurt, physically, mentally and financially.
As New Zealand moves from the ‘COVID is bad lets lockdown for one case’ to ‘living with the virus’, we’re at a bit of crossroads.
This week the government announced that it is relaxing restrictions, removing the need to have a vaccine to go to cafes and restaurants (amongst other things) and increase of people allowed inside. Was this a health driven or a politics driven decision? Are they the same thing? Does it really matter either way?
A lot of people, myself included, look at this announcement with mixed feelings. Progress but with trepidation. Because COVID-19 is still harmful. And it does still kill.
127 people have died with COVID-19 in the last two weeks.
And maybe Omicron isn’t as deadly as the OG variant, but it’s still there. Regardless of it’s severity, which anecdotally seems to range from a mild cold to people being very VERY sick, people quite rightly, just don’t want to get sick.
Even if its for a day - who wants to get sick?
COVID bad - but working from home is awesome
The WFH move was already happening before the pandemic, but COVID really helped to accelerate the move, out of necessity.
WFH isn’t for everyone, but I love it. I have more time with my family. I’m less stressed. I’m way more productive. And I’m spending more money in my neighborhood, with coffee roasters from all over the country, and brewers from around the place.
Given the pay freezes across the public and private sectors, WFH is a huge benefit that employers can offer their people. In fact, it’s now a vital part of the conditions a lot of people are after when choosing a job.
Businesses are suffering - but some are tone deaf
Undeniably, businesses who have catered for the traditional movement from the ‘suburbs’ into the CBD are suffering. COVID-19 lockdowns, WFH, the economic ‘headwinds’ we face, are all having a massive impact on businesses.
Some businesses have been innovative, created different products, changed the way they operate or have worked hard to give people a reason to go and spend some money.
Many haven’t though.
There’s been a big push in the media and from various parts of society to encourage people to get back out into towns and cities, and to start supporting businesses again.
The PR campaign is in full swing.
The stories are basically fair enough, but the tone of the stories, and the tone from some businesses is hard to stomach. It’s tone deaf, lacks empathy and reeks of prioritizing profit over people.
I know the ‘joys’ of capitalism means that profit comes at a cost (society, health, environment), but I’m sick of businesses moaning about people prioritizing their own health and happiness over ‘business’.
People are scared, and that’s okay. People have changed their working locations, and that’s okay. People are struggling to make ends meet with the global energy crisis and the cost of living crisis we are now facing. It means people are making other choices that prioritize the health, happiness and wellbeing of themselves and their family. And that’s not just okay, it’s important.
The relaxing of the vaccine pass requirements aren’t going to make me rush out either. I liked the vaccine pass. It meant I knew the people around me were less likely to make me sick. That’s great. If there are people who have chosen to be unvaccinated (rather than those who can’t), then I don’t want to be around them.
If this is their attitude to proven health measures, what other health measures do they think aren’t worth following? Washing their hands? Sneezing into their elbow? Wiping their bum bum? Nah - I don’t want to share a dining experience with these people.
But… our choices do have consequences
Businesses are suffering.
If we want to keep enjoying the things we love everyday, the vibrancy of the cities and neighborhoods we live in, we HAVE to find ways to spend our money.
Broadly, this means spending money in different places, in different ways, and supporting in new and interesting ways but we have to find a way. Otherwise our favourite cafes, roasters, restaurants will close.
There are ways we can support the businesses we love - while putting our own health, wellbeing and happiness at the core of our decision making.
Supporting businesses you love in 5 simple steps
Buy their stuff online
That’s easy. Google it.
In the last few months I’ve tried new products that I wouldn’t have been able to if I had to spend all my money commuting into the City for work.
In fact, at the moment, I’m spending more money on coffee, beer and awesome stuff WFH full time than I ever was working in the City.
Tell people about the things you love
Your favourite coffee roaster doesn’t make coffee just for you! What?! Shock. So tell people about how awesome their product is!
Blog about it, Instagram it, tell your team mates - shout it from the rooftops!
With that in mind… check out:
Vanguard Coffee from Dunedin - the Muthingi-ini from Kenya was so amazing!
Rich Coffee from Wellington - the Chelchele from Ethiopia was off the hook. Just smashed a whole bag in 3 days!
Duncan’s Brewing on the Kapiti Coast - OMG I got a few of their beers delivered, and they were on fire! They arrived within 2 days of ordering!! I recommend the amazing Mai Tai Sorbet Sour. Holy smokes.
FurtherFaster in Christchurch - if you need any sort of running, kayaking, or outdoor stuff, you have to try FurtherFaster. I brought some new kayaking gear from them, all online, and their customer service made it so easy.
Firsthand Coffee from Napier - all their stuff is great, but their Instant Coffee is one of the greatest coffee products of 2022. Don’t believe me about Instant Coffee? Check out The Drumming Barista on Substack, Instagram and his brand new podcast!
Like your favourite businesses on socials
Hit that like button, share the posts and subscribe for updates!
It’s corny as hell, but showing your love to your favourite places on the socials helps the places you love. It helps the algorithm understand the types of people to get their posts in front of.
Instagram and Facebook can broadly get in the bin because it’s so hard to figure out how to get your content in front of meaningful eyeballs - even if you pay to boost it. So taking the half second to engage in your favourite cafe, roaster or restuarant’s content really helps.
And it costs you nothing.
Review your favourite stuff online
With all the time you now have on your hands, spend some time writing a review on google, Facebook or online stores. Everywhere you can, after you engage or buy something, tell the world you love it.
Don’t forget them
This will all be over at some stage. For some businesses it may be too late. But for others, they’ll be there and would love it you bought a coffee from them when you can.
Don’t forget them.