Weekly Link Roundup

♥ Check your inbox! (All of your inboxes!!) J. Crew sent $10, $15, or $20 promo codes (stackable with the current 30% off code 5DAYS) last night in emails titled “Just for you: $[amount] to spend on…anything!” Shipping is free on all orders. I’d recommend picking up a hair accessory (or two), or the adorable Pom-pom Cable-knit Sweater, now on sale ($24.49 with the 30% off code). My picks:

J.C. Penney Skips Bond Payment, Starting Bankruptcy Clock (The Wall Street Journal): “J.C. Penney Co. said it skipped a $12 million interest payment owed to bondholders … to evaluate strategic alternatives. Other struggling chains, including Neiman Marcus Group Inc. and J.Crew Group Inc., also have been in negotiations with creditors this month … J.C. Penney never fully recovered from a failed overhaul by former Apple Inc. executive Ron Johnson, who did away with discounts and popular in-house brands. Marvin Ellison, a former Home Depot executive, who eventually took over as CEO added appliances. After Mr. Ellison left to become CEO of Lowe’s Cos., J.C. Penney pivoted again, by discontinuing appliance sales and refocusing on apparel.”

Keep Workers On, or Lay Them Off? Small Businesses Face Hard Choices (The New York Times): “Some economists are warning that program loans in the stimulus package, known as the CARES Act, may not be a great fit for all businesses — even if they can get them … Some workers prefer to be laid off than have their employers keep them on through the program. The stimulus package expanded unemployment benefits widely, allowing people who need to stay home to care for sick loved ones or for children. It also added a $600 subsidy to each weekly check for up to four months.”

‘It’s Black Friday in April’ as Closed Stores Get Desperate to Unload Spring Clothes (The Wall Street Journal): “Despite the temptation of deals, homebound shoppers still aren’t spending on apparel and footwear. Online sales for the category have declined each week since March 9, including a 20% drop in the week ended April 6, compared with the same period a year earlier … In normal times, apparel companies typically recover the full cost of goods … when unloading inventory to large off-price chains … They might recover a third to half of costs with a jobber, a middleman who resells the goods to smaller regional off-price chains. The recovery rate with liquidators who run closeout sales is around 10% … Recovery rates could be much lower in the current environment.”

Who Owes You a Refund? Should You Even Ask? (The New York Times): “Some companies that already have your money are not very sympathetic. Take airlines, or leave them if only you could. Some of the large carriers are of strategic importance to the economy, and this week they received their bailout. Yet even as they knew that they would almost certainly get their hands on our tax money, many held customers’ money hostage. Their behavior was so entitled that the Department of Transportation felt compelled to issue an enforcement notice, which demanded that they offer a ‘prompt refund’ when they cancel a flight or make a significant schedule change and the passenger isn’t willing to accept it.”

For Festival Fashion, the Music Has Stopped (The New York Times): “Coachella has been postponed until October … over concerns about the coronavirus pandemic. Scores of other festivals have also fallen off the calendar, leaving … fashion brands with mountains of unsold denim hot pants, fringed skirts and sequin cropped tops.”

The Face Mask Debate Reveals a Scientific Double Standard (Wired): “It’s true that health care workers or other people looking after people sick with Covid-19 are exposed to far higher levels of coronavirus than anyone else. In the context of a mask shortage, they obviously have priority claim to access. But that’s not a reason to say there isn’t support for the use of masks by everyone else. After all, there aren’t any clinical trials proving that a 6-foot social distance prevents infection, as far as we know … Nor do clinical trials prove that washing our hands for 20 seconds is superior to doing so for 10 seconds when it comes to limiting the spread of disease in a respiratory disease pandemic … the reluctance to promote mask use by the general public, as well as the application of a double standard for supporting evidence, was also driven by concerns that people would be unable to use masks without contaminating themselves. Or that masks would provide a false sense of security, leading them to slacken off social distancing or other measures.”

♥ Take 40% off (almost) everything at Madewell with code VERYRARE. My picks:

Sex Work Comes Home (The New York Times): “OnlyFans, a website where people subscribe to see the kind of pictures and videos that can’t be displayed on Instagram, reported a 75 percent increase in overall new sign-ups — 3.7 million new sign-ups this past month, with 60,000 of them being new creators … some [sex workers] said that even though they’ve seen a large number of new audience members recently, they haven’t been getting tipped more.”

Is This the End of Wholesale, or the Beginning of Something Better? (The Business of Fashion): “… wholesale retailers … pass along some of the financial pain to designers. Delayed payments, cancelled orders and earlier-than-normal online discounts are the new norm across the industry. But these steps are putting many designers in a dangerous position … The decision by Saks Fifth Avenue and other large retailers to draw out reimbursement for 90 or even 120 days robs brands of cash they desperately need to survive this crisis. Many won’t make it.”

Learn to Argue Productively (The New York Times): “If one of you thinks the argument is about facts and the other about moral philosophy, you’re never going to reach an agreement … [there are] three ‘realms’ of arguments: the realm of the head, the realm of the heart, and the realm of the hands. Arguments in the realm of the head are about what is true … Arguments in the realm of the heart are … about matters of personal taste and moral value judgments … Arguments in the realm of the hands are about what is useful and practical.”

The Supermarket After the Pandemic (The Atlantic): “… the whole grocery business remains stubbornly resistant to automation and complete, digital tracking. Unless everybody uses the same tools, it’s back to the clipboard in the end … This limitation has been a major factor in the slow growth of online grocery shopping. Last year, internet buying accounted for a tiny fraction of overall grocery sales. Online systems have trouble telling shoppers exactly what’s in stock, what looks fresh, what they might like, and what other options exist.”

The Food Expiration Dates You Should Actually Follow (The New York Times): “Food product dating, as the U.S. Department of Agriculture calls it, is completely voluntary for all products … it has nothing to do with safety. It acts solely as the manufacturer’s best guess as to when its product will no longer be at peak quality, whatever that means. Food manufacturers also tend to be rather conservative with those dates.”

Many “classic” Hunter rain boots are now 60% off Nordstrom (though sizes have become limited); I’ve not seen better discounts than this in years so definitely browse this sale if you wear a size 5 or 11.

Why Are Some People So Much More Infectious Than Others? (The New York Times): “Distinguishing between those who are more infectious and those less infectious could make an enormous difference in the ease and speed with which an outbreak is contained … If the infected person is a superspreader, contact tracing is especially important. But if the infected person is the opposite of a superspreader, someone who for whatever reason does not transmit the virus, contact tracing can be a wasted effort.”

Nope, Your Parents’ Home Isn’t the Best Place to Work While Socially Isolated (The Wall Street Journal): “Many young adults are finding their childhood homes aren’t technologically ready for the work-from-home mandate issued by many businesses. The problem is compounded when multiple generations are trying to keep their jobs or schoolwork going simultaneously. And much of the ancient technology that the younger generation likes to laugh about over the holidays suddenly becomes a real, daily pain.”

Fashion Will Survive, but Many of the Designers at the Heart of the Industry Might Not. (The Washington Post): “… the $400 billion American fashion industry … is in the midst of a breakneck unraveling … Runway presentations have been canceled or postponed. Trade shows have been shelved. Factories and workshops that normally churn out fancy perfume or cocktail dresses have been making hand sanitizer and face masks. Others have simply shut down. Brick-and-mortar boutiques are dark. And online retailers are touting massive e-commerce markdowns on merchandise that they’ve barely had time to market at full price.”

Yes, Even Introverts Can Be Lonely Right Now (The New York Times): “Solitude is supposed to be introvert heaven … It’s often said that extroverts get their energy from people, while introverts are energized by solitude. The data show that’s a myth … What makes introverts different is our sensitivity to stimulation: We’re more easily overloaded than extroverts. When introverts spend a whole week acting like extroverts, there is evidence that the emotional benefits fade and costs begin to emerge — introverts start to feel more negative emotions, more exhaustion and less authenticity.”

♥ Recently purchased: Tata Harper Revitalizing Body Oil, J. Crew Scalloped Ruffle One-piece Swimsuit (so cute! And totally impractical for what we are living through!! But it’s on sale!!!), Quay All Nighter Blue Light Blocking Glasses, Anthropologie Hopper Dishtowel, and Barefoot Dreams CozyChic Unisex Robe.

Have a great week, everyone! Hang in there.

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