When you want to learn about the human condition, look no further than our spending habits. While I’d prefer not to read too much into what it might say about American values that we heard “quarantine” and immediately thought “toilet paper” first and foremost (practical, I know, but maybe a bit of misplaced focus? It was the purest expression of our panic for weeks!), I will gladly read volumes into our splurge purchases. What little treats have we bought ourselves to ride out an indeterminate period of mental, emotional, and societal limbo?
According to Bloomberg, our comfort food purchases tell all. Nielsen data for the month of March has shown that, in addition to practical staples like grains and dairy substitutes, we’re all snatching up things like chocolate, popcorn, ice cream, and potato chips. Even pastry sales have risen by 18%, and those don’t sound very shelf-stable—not that they need to last very long.
Beyond these everyday indulgences, some folks are getting spendy. Bloomberg also points to the increased sales of Beau Joie Champagne, which starts at around $60 per bottle. A representative for Beau Joie’s parent company told Bloomberg, “People are making the decision to drink better because they’re sacrificing experience. Even in the worst of times, people still want to say ‘Happy Birthday’ or celebrate their anniversary.” When compared with the cost of going out to a special occasion dinner, a pricey bottle of booze can actually seem slightly more reasonable right now.