“I bought a rug, a coffee table, prints for the walls, a mirror and some plants,” said 27-year-old Jackson Isaacson, who estimates he has spent nearly $ 4,000 since self-isolation due to the a new coronavirus epidemic that occurred a month ago. “I could have opted for a cheap coffee table but I went for a chic and pretty from West Elm. It has a mid-century look and is made of walnut, ”explains the marketing manager. ” I love this. “
Stuck at home amid orders for on-site shelters, New Yorkers look to their screens for entertainment, connection – and retail therapy, especially those fortunate enough to be healthy and to work, or to anticipate a stimulus check. “When you’re in a state of anxiety, you worry about what’s going to happen,” said Carrie Rattle, a Westchester-based financial advisor, who focuses on reducing clients’ compulsive buying habits.
Rattle says electronic commerce can give panicked spenders a sense of control.
“Shopping takes you away from the harshness of everyday life,” she says. “We are waking up and we don’t know what the rules of the world will be today, so [shopping] is self-soothing. “
The first week of April saw a 13% increase in online shopping compared to pre-COVID periods according to NPD Group, a market research company. And apparently it just goes up. A study of 700 people by Influence Central found that 72% plan to make even more online purchases in the coming days.
In addition to furnishings, Isaacson has made an appearance for athletics, high-end alcoholic beverages and a $ 70 Malin + Goetz candle since he started quarantine in his Financial District apartment. Still, he insists that he is saving money, noting that without his gym membership and evenings at restaurants and bars that empty his account, he has money to spare for luxury goods. .
“I can buy the big Ketel One for the same price as two martinis in the steakhouse where I was going near me,” says Isaacson.
Amalia Rand, 19, who works in tech sales, buys new outfits and sneakers that she plans to wear for her own birthday party and in museums when the order to stay at home is on the rise.
“There is no reason to shop, I don’t go outside. But then I see there are sales, “said Rand, who lives in East Harlem. “I bought a skirt, tote bags, blouses and jeans [UK-based site] ASOS. She also bought items from the Rihanna Savage X Fenty lingerie line and the StockX sneaker resale platform, including $ 300 Nike Jordan 1s and $ 60 Vans. She estimates that she spent about $ 1,000 to improve her wardrobe. “I just hope I can be outside soon,” she said.
Stylist Susan Breindel moved her interests from clothing to CBD, a derivative of the cannabis plant. Breindel left Noho’s home in such a rush last month that she arrived at her weekend home in County Ulster without her CBD Toast Wellness oil which she had used for a year and a half to feel “calm”. When she went online to store the oil, she came across artisanal CBD-infused chocolates that cost $ 20 a bar.
“I’m not a snob, but I like great food, wine, chocolate,” said Breindel, 61, who estimates she “spent several hundred dollars” on decadent transportation.
“Who cares about clothes or fashion right now?” We eat and cook well, “she said of herself and her husband.
Rare trips to the grocery store can also become an opportunity to have fun.
“I have spent a hundred dollars on cheese in the past few weeks,” said Adam Morey, a lobbyist who lives in Albany. He opted for the premium Taleggio, camembert and triple cream brie, and says he is “crazy” in online cheese forums.
“I call it the end of the world cheese,” said Morey, 33.
Some isolated people who dream of a decadent meal in a favorite place have to settle for the best thing: costly delivery nationwide.
“We ordered food from across the country through Goldbelly,” said Fran Pessagno, a single Long Island-based advertising executive who was curled up with a few friends in Candlewood Lake, Connecticut, last month. . The group splurges on deliveries – which easily cost $ 150 each – twice a week. Pessagno estimates that he has spent $ 1,750 in the past month alone on food.
The 45-year-old, who commutes regularly for work, says he orders from places he was supposed to visit before the coronavirus restrictions. When a conference in New Orleans was canceled, for example, he ordered muffuletta sandwiches with olive spread for delivery to Central Grocery. Last week was supposed to be a trip to Chicago, so it was Lou Malnati’s pizza for dinner on Tuesday, while Thursday was 8 pounds “of meat” from Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que.
“It makes us feel like we are living a normal life – and takes us to places we know and can’t visit now. This takes us to Chicago or New Orleans for a brief moment, “he said, adding that it is also a way to give back to small businesses across the country. “We eat very well – and I like to think we are doing something good for the economy. “
Reem Abbassi, a 44-year-old hedge fund project manager, also wanted to get a taste of her life before quarantine. So she signed up for an online group course organized by Rare Champagne and Petrossian Caviar, which included delivery of champagne and caviar to the home for $ 270 per person.
“Most people stay at home in small apartments, in yoga pants, so it’s a night of the week to at least get dressed – and feel like you’re living the life that many of you we moved to New York to live, “says Abbassi, who combed her hair and put on a little black dress and heels for the Zoom call.
It was a delicious distraction from reality.
“For a moment, at this hour, it is easy to forget that you are in quarantine. “