As of June 1st I'm sheltering in place in New Rochelle, ground zero for C-19 in New York, and I am doing quite well thank you. I must admit, however, that I'm suffering from a touch of agoraphobia, a clinical condition listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. That basically means that I am uncomfortable leaving home for any reason, and even more so should I find myself elbow to elbow with people vying for carrots and toilet paper.
It's no longer considered shameful to suffer from a mental health condition, but if I visited a psychiatrist during this pandemic, I might be considered almost normal in this one regard.
Furniture shows have come up as a topic in conversation this past week with retailers, manufacturers and industry suppliers. People are wondering what the experience will look like. Will they feel safe? Will some manufacturers work with retailers by appointment only? Is show attendance essential for their businesses? Can they do it via Zoom instead? So many questions!
I've been unable to answer any of these, but perhaps I can make it easier for you to answer the only question that matters. At Market, if you see me getting on an elevator, will you follow me through the doors, say hello, shake my hand, or take the stairs instead?
For many of my industry friends, what has always been a difficult decision will have become even harder. So, here are some metrics to help you make a data-driven decision.
- I live in the hard-hit NY metro area so maybe you should take the stairs.
- My demographic (older person) means that I've tended to stay away from social interactions, so it might be safe to get on the elevator.
- I've slept in my mask for the past 90 days... thumbs up!
- Being bald, I haven't visited a coughing hairstylist lately... a positive.
- If you are a manufacturer, I'm not going to buy anything from you... so bottom line, it might not be worth the risk of getting too close.
Should we find ourselves face to face, I don't want to make you feel uncomfortable, and won't take offense if you take the stairs. Best wishes for a successful opening, good health and good business.
Russell Bienenstock is Editor-in-Chief of Furniture World Magazine, founded 1870. Comments can be directed to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.