Weekly Link Roundup

Reunited with Cheddar Bay Biscuits at last

Americans Keep Clicking to Buy, Minting New Online Shopping Winners (The New York Times): “Grubhub has recently grown more slowly in large part … because the company was long focused on independent restaurants, which have been more likely to close during the quarantines … DoorDash, the market leader, has focused on chain restaurants, and areas outside the big cities, where the sense of crisis was less acute. That has allowed it to expand its dominant position in the industry.”

Reselling Clothes: A Strategic Moneymaker During Coronavirus (The Wall Street Journal): “From mid-April to mid-May, Poshmark experienced a 50% increase in clothing and accessories sales compared to the previous year … Since around mid-March when many lockdown orders were initiated in the U.S., clothing listings on … [ebay’s] American site surged by nearly 67%.”

Elon Musk, His Rocket, and the Grand Scheme that Tore Apart Boca Chica (Esquire): “Brownsville is the country’s poorest metropolitan area … SpaceX was promising nothing short of an economic transformation, estimating it would create five hundred local jobs at an average salary of $55,000 … Things got off track almost immediately. Crews drilled in search of bedrock on which to build a launchpad but didn’t find any. Instead, they learned that when you dig a hole on the mudflats, murky water soon seeps in. If SpaceX needed solid ground in Boca Chica, it would have to create it. So the company trucked in 310,000 cubic yards of earth, then waited three years for the soil to settle … Musk had claimed the project would be an operational spaceport by 2016, but that year came and went, with not much to show other than an expensive pile of dirt. For years, the main sign to Boca Chicans of SpaceX’s presence was the company’s steady accumulation of houses and vacant lots.”

The Many Masks of Nancy Pelosi (The New York Times): “… the sheer variety of her masks stands out like a beacon amid her sea of aides in generic white or blue medical masks and her dark-masked protective detail. It suggests a commitment to consciously choosing a mask every single day that, more than simply demonstrating good mask habits, civic awareness and solicitude for those around her, or even support for small businesses, demands attention.”

How the Coronavirus is Killing the Middle Class (The New Yorker): “… the pandemic is likely to leave an additional seventeen million Americans needing food assistance in the next six months. Recently, in Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, and Irving, Texas, people waited outside food pantries in lines that stretched miles. Tens of thousands of people who can’t pay their bills have gone on rent strikesThe disaster has become so dire so quickly owing, in part, to the legacy of the 2008 financial crisis. Minimum wage, in real terms, is more than thirty per cent lower than it was fifty years ago … Meanwhile, housing costs have more than doubled since 2000 … forty per cent of Americans don’t have four hundred dollars cash to spare in an emergency, and would need to rely on credit cards or friends and family to come up with the money.”

I Don’t Feel Like Buying Stuff Anymore (Buzzfeed): “In this moment, the primary tension in America is how, and when, life is going to ‘return to normal.’ But that ‘normal’ was an economy that, even before COVID-19, was built on a form of consumption that felt compulsory, with household debt as normalized as the exploitative work conditions that make those daily consumption habits possible … So what if we don’t actually want to go back to that?”

The Bosses Who Prefer When Employees Work From Home (The Wall Street Journal): “Success … hinges on whether remote employees can maintain their sense of collaboration and community without feeling left out … ensure everyone can participate equally, no matter where they are.”

They Beat the Virus. Now They Feel Like Outcasts. (The New York Times): “There are still many unanswered questions about the efficacy and duration of any post-virus immunity, and the uncertainty has caused some people who have survived the illness to confront a fear-driven stigma from the outside world … Feeling stigmatized is not what many survivors said they expected after their tough bouts of illness. It carries a particular sting given the worldwide discussions about how reopening society will hinge in part on people with antibodies being able to return to work, and about how those who have recovered can donate convalescent plasma for experimental treatments of those who are still sick.”

Why Remote Work Is So Hard—and How It Can Be Fixed (The New Yorker): “In some respects, we may be in an electric-dynamo moment for remote work. In theory, we have the technology we need to make remote work workable. And yet most companies that have tried to graft it onto their existing setups have found only mixed success. In response, many have stuck with what they know. Now the coronavirus pandemic has changed the equation. Whole workplaces have gone remote; steam engines have been outlawed. The question is whether, having been forced to embrace this new technology, we can solve the long-standing problems that have thwarted its adoption in the past.”

The Law of Supply and Demand Isn’t Fair (The New York Times): “It is not that large retailers are intrinsically more ethical than the entrepreneurs; it is simply that they have different time horizons. The large companies are playing a long game, and by behaving ‘fairly’ they are hoping to retain customer loyalty after the emergency. The entrepreneurs are just interested in a quick buck.”

These High-End Home Offices Mean Business (The Wall Street Journal): “Home listings that include the word ‘office’ have increased every year since 2017, according to real-estate listings website Realtor.com … On average, homes with an office sell nine days faster and fetch a price-per-square-foot premium of 3.4%, according to the website … In a survey conducted by Realtor.com in the first two weeks of April, 6% of respondents said the home office was the most important feature in their house.”

Give Yourself a Break: The Power of Self-Compassion (HBR): “When people treat themselves with compassion, they are better able to arrive at realistic self-appraisals, which is the foundation for improvement. They are also more motivated to work on their weaknesses rather than think ‘What’s the point?’ and to summon the grit required to enhance skills and change bad habits … one of the most compelling signs that a person has a growth mindset is his or her willingness to keep trying to do better after receiving negative feedback … if you view abilities as changeable, getting negative feedback shouldn’t deter you in trying to improve.”

You’re Getting Used to Masks. Will You Wear a Face Shield? (The New York Times): “… face shields … protect the entire face, including the eyes, and prevent people from touching their faces or inadvertently exposing themselves to the coronavirus … One cough simulation study in 2014 suggested that a shield could reduce a user’s viral exposure by 96 percent when worn within 18 inches of someone who was coughing … There is … no research on how well one person’s face shield protects other people from viral transmission, the concept called source control that is a primary benefit of surgical and cloth masks.”

A Coronavirus Chain Reaction: Less Driving Means Less Fizz for Sodas (The Wall Street Journal): “Carbon dioxide is a byproduct of ethanol, which by federal mandate is mixed into gasoline to help it burn more cleanly. But fewer people are driving because of the Covid-19 lockdowns, and demand for gasoline has plunged, prompting ethanol plants to shut down. That has put pressure on the source for roughly 40% of all industrial carbon dioxide produced nationwide—a key ingredient for soft drinks and beers. Carbon-dioxide production this year has fallen by roughly 30% from last year’s levels.”

♥ (podcast) J. Screwed (Planet Money): There is a philosophy in fashion that if you do something well, you kind of stick to your guns because you expect the trends to kind of come back to you. The danger, of course, is if you’re not resilient enough to sort of weather a down dip in when people are not so interested in your brand. You know, do you have enough resources to kind of survive until your brand’s cool again? … all J. Crew had to do was hunker down for a few years … and wait for matching sweater sets to be cool again … Except that they couldn’t really wait. By 2016, they were only a few years into being uncool, but they still owed over a billion dollars. And in a few years, they were going to have to pay that back … But at that point, no one was going to lend them new money at a reasonable rate, which caused a lot of anxiety.

Can Amazon Save Luxury Fashion? (The Cut): “Amazon … has never quite been able to crack — and not always been interested in — high-end fashion. Apparel, yes … But luxury fashion, whose sale depends, at least in conventional industry wisdom, not only on quality but on exclusivity, context, and intangibles … did not see itself there … Still, Amazon coming for luxury fashion has an air of inevitability; how you take that inevitability is up to you … It’s hard to argue with the preeminence Amazon already has over any potential competitor … f convenience becomes the new luxury, then Amazon will be well placed to capitalize upon it, however imperfect its hastily assembled luxury-shopping platform might be. The moment demands speed, not perfection. Whether they would continue using Amazon going forward, the designers said, is for the moment an open question.”

‘Way Too Late’: Inside Amazon’s Biggest Outbreak (The New York Times): “Safety measures began arriving at the warehouse in mid-March, but they were introduced without rigor … Yellow tape marked off six-foot increments on a main walkway, but many people worked much closer together … some standard safety advice didn’t become common practice … for almost two months … It wasn’t until the first week in April, about a month after white-collar workers in Seattle were sent home, that fever checks were instituted … Masks were available to those who asked for them, but weren’t required. Tables in the break room were moved apart, but as employees who had stayed home returned to work, lunch became crowded.”

♥ Recently ordered: & Other Stories Scalloped Tank Top, The Ride of a Lifetime, Free People Lottie Long Sleeve Minidress, Ann Taylor Lemon Silk Little Scarf, YSL Pure Shots Night Reboot Resurfacing Serum, and LOFT Pull On Culottes.

Enjoy the rest of your week, everyone!

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