Things that did well during Covid but are slowly disappearing


Comes off as a condescending prick
As someone who had a tough time coping with everything being closed, I've been paying attention in media to what amounts to a recant and 180 degree turns on things people professed during the depths of the plague from China.

Gyms are passe

I don't know if people are still maintaining their home gyms but at its height people (including fitness buffs) said gyms were dirty, infectious and should have been closed before the virus. There used to be lots of outdoor exercise groups in parks (because of distance rules) and some gyms even moved their equipment into parking lots or building roofs. Today I see people going to commercial gyms but I rarely if at all see any outdoor exercise groups anymore.

Buying and shipping things online

It seems the peak of buying physical hard goods online and having them shipped to your door is over. It created a cottage industry for truck drivers, Amazon warehouse people, and everyone in between but now it seems to be going back to normal. At least in my building the concierge isn't swamped with Amazon boxes 3x/day.

Furniture and home improvement were big things. My brother, aunt and my father all bought gaming chairs during this time.

Food delivery - restaurant meals, meal kits, groceries

I haven't seen this slow down yet. There might be fewer bicycles, scooters and cars doing UberEats, DoorDash, Skip the Dishes, etc. and some of the delivery companies went bankrupt or merged but I still see people order the most ridiculous things and have them delivered. McDonald's on weekend mornings. Starbucks. I live in an urban environment where you could probably find one of these within a city block and get it faster without the delivery fee or gratuity.

I shop at the local market every weekend and there used to be a service (Inabuggy I think) where someone collected all the produce/goods from the different vendors and left it in a basket for contactless pick up out front. There is still a man that runs that desk but I maybe see one basket every Saturday now. Grocery delivery still looks like it's happening but has been shunted to the corner of most supermarket websites. Restaurants don't sell their supplies online anymore. I remember at one point a prominent restaurant chain had to buy/lease a fleet of vans to keep up with the online delivery orders for eggs, meat, etc.

I used to see meal kit boxes where they ship you a week's worth of portioned dinner ingredients so you can cook at home. I see far less of these now since you're able to eat out. Some of the local pizza places that were booming with frozen pizza kits have now sold out or merged. Restaurants that at one point were sending home meal kits with reheat/final prep instructions + a dedicated playlist on Spotify (as if you were in the restaurant!) are now gone. In 2022 you could still get a Mother's Day set dinner delivered but now it's you should come into the bricks & mortar restaurant.

Robinhood, meme stocks

This anti-capitalist - let's use the power of the people - contrarian investing only happened because people sat at home and didn't have a whole lot to do with what money they were earning. I never understood why you would throw money at things with poor fundamentals like Gamestop or BlackBerry.

Online courses, online learning, online concerts

I was sent gifts of virtual wine tasting and cocktail making classes. I also sent my mother some virtual cooking classes from Eataly. I started seeing these disappear a year ago going into summer 2022. Certainly places that can make more money from in person classes (Eataly) ditched virtual classes altogether. I found these classes were awkward. You're with a bunch of random people. Over half don't turn on their video or have audio problems. There's always that one annoying person who asks idiotic questions. I went to one cooking class where they mixed up the time zone so I basically was either too early or late.

Online raves/dance parties were kind of neat but I think that's because DJs had nothing to do and needed to keep their equipment/playlists/music subscriptions up to date. Plenty of lounges and clubs closed but they were filled again when regulations permitted people to ditch the online counterpart.

I haven't seen many online concerts anymore. I attended a few theatre shows, symphony and opera concerts that were basically glorified charities so they can make a bit of money to survive. At one point in the pandemic the media was saying why do you need to cram into a concert in physical space and see La Boheme performed for the 999th time. The best version is probably on YouTube and you can play it over and over again. There's a reason. Given the rage about Ticketmaster it looks like in person concerts are back for good.

At my latest alumni reunion event in 2023 there were probably about 50% of the events that were still online lectures. I think this is mostly due to cost and maybe less appeal on some of the talks. I don't know if this will continue.

Gaming, Virtual Worlds

I'm not a gaming person. I never really got back into it even though I was bored out of my skull during the quarantine/lockdowns. But I do remember I was tempted to buy a VR headset because there was that metaverse that was being built. There was real estate you could buy there that's worth something. Instead of going on that trip to Seychelles why don't you see it in 4K right from the comfort of your own couch.

Not sure how many people were playing online games...I'm guessing a lot.

Online Meetings and Conferences

Zoom. It became a verb. Even though people use Teams, they still called it Zoom. I was using Webex at work because I worked for a German company that believed Chinese software can spy on you. It was kind of strange because I think Apple missed the boat. 5 years ago everyone was talking about FaceTime especially to call home when you're on a business trip. In my company we didn't turn on video until late summer/early autumn 2020. In the beginning we just used the audio part - some people were so technically challenged they could only dial in on a real phone. By the end of 2022, people were using breakout rooms, recording functions, and doing virtual whiteboards together. One thing I did figure out during online meetings is you just need to keep talking and talk louder over other people until they give up or cede the floor to you. 90% of the time you just get your way. It's a bit like the 2020 Biden vs Trump presidential debate.

The most inane thing was attending virtual conferences using some newly hacked together software with a weird name. One I tried had virtual booths which was even more weird. I know we couldn't travel easily for business but replicating your typical convention/conference set up online 1-1 wasn't the smartest of ideas.

Moving really far away from your workplace

I think people who moved to Timbuktu are finally coming back within a 2 hour drive/commute to their place of work. In the beginning it was cool to be a digital nomad and go to another state/province or country. But then someone figured out there are tax issues if you predominantly work in another area and at least my company started limiting (no more than X weeks) and/or reneging on the work anywhere concept. The funniest one I heard was someone who moved to Dubai but kept their job on the eastern seaboard US. They were finally ordered to show up for a once a month company event but sheepishly said they are in the Middle East. Financially it made no sense. I would think it's easier to work in the Middle East and be tax free and then use the money to live elsewhere.

There were also the people taking in NYC salaries living in hickville states. And I still have folks who live in CET but work ET hours. I guess they're used to it.

A lot of people moved out of the city and rents cratered to 2015 prices in 2020. People liked living in a village with a farm, fresh air, etc. Some have moved back but I don't think everyone has.
Oh I forgot to add. Covid test clinics. The ones where you get an official PCR or rapid test result back. There is still one at the main rail station here. I am guessing for the one country in the world that still needs negative results when you travel internationally. I never see anyone go into it anymore and the hours are limited but the lights through the frosted window are on and there's someone sitting there.
Plexiglass and electronic hand sanitizer dispensers on public transit. They're taking them down here. I don't miss hand sanitizers but the plexiglass was useful on trains so people sitting next to you don't snuggle up and drool on your shoulder.
I was deleting a bunch of things on my mobile phone to make room for this Android update the never installs. I erased a bunch of vaccine certificate PDFs. I guess no one will know I have 6 shots with 3 different manufacturers now.
Apparently I shouldn't board from the back of the bus anymore. Before we boarded to maintain a safe distance across all doors of a bus. Now it's just the front and please leave through the back.
Vendors trying to shmooz potential clients by sending gift boxes (mostly alcohol and food, coupled with an online cooking or mixology class).These were awesome, but now it’s back to invites to in-person events only.
Working from home. I just saw an advert say "Flexible" and then at the bottom say 50% mandatory attendance per month + any additional days that your manager requires you to be present.

Doesn't sound very flexible to me.

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