I had lunch with a client yesterday.
Neither of us could stand being at home alone for another day. We did sit on opposite sides of the conference table which is just by chance about 6 feet across. The food was ordered and paid for online. He told me that when he picked it up the only people in the restaurant were a cook and a waitress. She put the bag with his order on the counter then stepped back saying, “Here’s your order. Thank you.”
Lockdown is unhealthy
While we ate we talked about the impact on our lives the lockdown for COVID-19 is having. Both of us are used to going to the gym daily during the week, He’s been at it much longer than me and the forced abandonment of the daily routine is depressing him. Me, I just find it impossible to sit still. Legs jitter. I can’t focus on a task.
Both of us have resorted to walking in our neighborhoods as a way around the suffocating requirement to stay at home. I’ve now built a nodding acquaintance with more of my neighbors than in the last year. The hardest part for both of us has been foregoing petting the many dogs being walked that have befriended us.
We are social creatures
Both of us remarked on the discomfort of not being able to have a conversation with people we’ve never met before. We’re used to talking to everybody like the barber, the mail carrier, a person in line at the store, small business owners at a chamber meeting, the clerk at the bank, you name it.
A part of us winds up feeling unfulfilled and I, for one, believe it drags me down. Phone calls to friends and acquaintances are not the same. Zoom meetings with some new folks can help but it is not the same as being up close and personal.
Trillions won’t help.
I heard the Senate had passed a bill providing a couple trillion-dollar stimulus package to keep the country going when businesses are shuttered and employees are without income. I understand the reasoning. And I understand why one element is trying to get the government to allow the country to go back to work as soon as possible.
I believe the damage has already been done. For too long the people of this country have operated without a emergency fund as part of their individual or family budget. If the shelter at home order were lifted today we would still have to deal with massive numbers of people out of work again. I agree with the experts that say it will take months to get back to a “new normal.”
Fear is clingy
One of my clients had to postpone two speaking engagements. One was for a new product/service he was about to introduce which we were looking at rolling out to the entire west coast. The other was for a proven program that he offers with a Mergers and Acquisitions attorney and an Investment Banker.
So far, my speaking schedule has not been impacted. I’m confirmed for a keynote in Los Angeles in July as well as Las Vegas and San Diego in November. But I’ve suspended my marketing efforts while I put a new practice running piece of software in place and finalize hiring a virtual assistant. That should be wrapped up next week.
Associations and businesses have all stopped talking to speakers, trainers and consultants. Fear of putting a meeting of more than 10 people together has brought planning to a standstill. Venues are closed. Catering is not available. Transportation and housing are shut down.
Golfers may have an out.
My inventor client who has a product in the golf market is continuing to sell his putting device as it can be used indoors even in a lockdown and since it is delivered by mail he can get it to those who order.
As part of his involvement with the sport he monitors what golf clubs are doing. They are still very much in business. He tells me they responded to the lockdown with these actions:
- Renting carts to individuals only unless the two people are from the same family
- Removing all items from the course like ball washers that people might touch
- No longer providing rakes for the sand traps
- Changed rules so that the pin (flag stick) is never touched
- Added a cylinder of spongy material to the base of the flag stick so balls can be easily retrieved
Courses are, of course, maintaining the six-foot distance in pro shops and recommending that players schedule and pay on-line.
Amazon and Netflix score big
My buddy Bill, a recovering attorney, as he puts it called this morning to ask if I was stir crazy yet. I allowed as how I was coping but not as well as would have liked. He noted that in order to escape their apartment, he and his wife had started taking walks daily.
And he admitted that Amazon and Netflix had allowed them to keep their sanity by streaming all sorts of programming but their favorites were the old TV series. He admitted binge watching both old variety shows and series that were indulgent pleasures of the past.
He’s not the first I’ve heard that from. Some other friends have reported signing up for those two streaming services (and others) just to have an intelligent choice of TV watching
And so it goes.
Jerry Fletcher is a sought-after International Speaker, a beBee ambassador, founder and CEO of Z-axis Marketing, Inc.
His consulting practice, founded in 1990, is known for unique on and off-line Trust-based Consultant Marketing advice that builds businesses, brands and lives of joy.