We’ve been training our daughters for this their whole lives.
You can bemoan screen culture all you want – I certainly have – but you can’t deny it prepared this generation of teenagers for the mess we’re living through.
I take credit, by the way. Guess who parked our girls in front of their first iPads as toddlers so daddy could sleep off a couple more hours of a hangover? This guy. That’s who.
Before I knew it, they were changing the language on my phone as an April Fool’s prank and teaching me what LMFAO stood for. As pre-teens, then teens, the vast majority of their social lives, education, and entertainment were virtual even before COVID. Quarantine is more of the same.
That’s not to say lockdown hasn’t sucked. Seeing them miss out on proms and summer camps and musicals and tournaments and pool parties and make-out sessions with their boyfriends by a bonfire in the woods has been heartbreaking. OK, maybe not the last one, but the rest sucks.
Their activities have suffered most. Noelle is finally in the gym after three months of doing conditioning and beam routines in our living room. If you know anything about competitive gymnastics, losing three months of progress is like losing three years.
Maddie just finished a musical theater “camp” with the Boston Conservatory, rubbing virtual elbows with a bunch of Broadway stars. But if you know anything about theater-types, it’s the affection and the applause they crave. Zoom leaves them half empty.
I think we miss normalcy for them more than they miss it themselves. As adults, we know they won’t get those moments back. They just think there are infinite more moments yet to come. Let them.
In the meantime, for two high-achieving kids who often went days without seeing each other, quarantine has given them a precious opportunity to get closer. They don’t appreciate that yet either. But they will.
I’m sorry to say it, but we’re still nearer to the beginning of this crisis than we are to the end. We’ll get smarter and more surgical about what we shut down and what we don’t. We’ll get used to wearing masks and may even see live music outside, if people aren’t stupid.
And hopefully our kids will reminisce about it fondly, for the most part.
Here’s what we’re seeing right now:
Americans are super-divided (so what else is new) on returning to the office. Back-to-school is grabbing most of the headlines right now, but back-to-work is fascinating too. I can’t do this awesome study enough justice here so check it out for yourself. For starters, 46% of remote workers say they won’t be comfortable returning to work before there’s a vaccine. Forty-four percent are ready to go. Women are much more likely than men to prefer working remotely. But very few people think they’re more productive at home. I just miss my team.
We might see a big spike in diabetes when this thing is over and I’m only half-kidding. Our pastor’s wife was diagnosed with diabetes after recovering from COVID because it can apparently wreck your pancreas. But that’s not what I’m talking about here. I’m talking about sweets. By nearly a 2:1 margin, Americans are reporting eating more sugary snacks during the pandemic than they did before. We indulged in a deep study of ice cream brands, in particular, this week – finding that Ben & Jerry’s fans were the most likely to be social distancing with a bowl of ice cream in their laps. Next week, we look at cookies.
We’re certainly not drinking less either. The number of drinking-age U.S. adults who reported drinking beer reached the lowest point we’ve seen this past month. Wine consumption continues to ride high, thanks mostly to the ladies. The huge jump, however, is in booze-infused seltzers like White Claw. The percentage of drinkers who have tried one of these libations jumped a whopping 75% since this time last year. That’s what we call a trend.
Walmart’s new paid membership program could attract a crowd, but I doubt Amazon is shaking in their boots about it. First of all, holy shit. Did you realize that nearly 60% of Americans have a Prime account? That’s crazy. That’s probably why Walmart is introducing a knock-off service of its own. A respectable 12% of U.S. adults and 20% of Walmart shoppers say they’re at least somewhat likely to sign up. And maybe those numbers will grow if the service is awesome. But, man, what a hill to climb.
Netflix just keeps growing during the pandemic, but so do the moochers. The percentage of U.S. adults who watch Netflix climbed from 62% to 67% since pre-COVID. But that may not translate into identical growth in new accounts. A lot of people – especially those sneaky Millennials – are still using streaming accounts belonging to someone outside of their household. Combine that with a bunch of Gen Z’s who moved home for quarantine and it’s hard to tell who’s watching more, who’s paying for it, and how many different accounts are sitting under one roof. It will be interesting to watch this shake out as COVID continues.
As always, we published a few other things too:
- With women being less comfortable than men about shopping in stores during COVID, the makeup category and related consultations are in a tough spot;
- Seventy-five percent of Americans use sunscreen, Coppertone is their favorite, SPF 40+ is the most popular, and smell matters;
- We published Part Deux of our Twitch study, looking at the favorability of drink and snack brands among users – for starters, Coke crushes Pepsi;
- Standard drip coffee makers are still king, pods be damned.
And our most popular questions this week:
- Do you think it’s OK to have wall-to-wall carpeting in a bathroom?
- Overall, would you say you’re better or worse than your friends at promptly replying to text messages?
- In general, how much do you enjoy playing / interacting with babies?
- Best American-regional style of pizza?
- Do you keep a cover or sticker on your laptop’s camera while not using it?
Hoping you’re well.