Wednesday, February 24, 2021

February 2021 Pandemic and Selling Update #2

I have guided my behavior through all of this with a personal risk assessment for any possible scenario.

The Risks - Know Them - Avoid Them

Early in the pandemic when school was closed, I stayed in my house for two months and had groceries delivered to me.  That now sounds silly, but it really wasn't.  In March through May of 2020, around 10% to 33% of locals wore masks in stores.  I did not wish to be around the many people who weren't masking.  Staying at home was the right decision at that time.

In the summer, I began going to the store once per week at 7 AM.  I found that at least 80% of customers wore masks.  As the summer progressed into fall, the percent increased to 95%.  At the current time, mask usage in Walmart early in the morning is consistently at least 95%.  I feel comfortable going in there.  I tend to avoid a certain local grocery store, because the mask usage is a good bit lower.  I also avoid most stores, just to keep possible exposure to a minimum.

I have been particularly worried about the virus because of my autoimmune thyroid disease.  Autoimmune diseases are a curse because the people who don't have them think that the people who do are exaggerating or imagining their symptoms. 

Even knowing that, I was still a bit surprised last year when I saw that no autoimmune diseases are considered risk factors for Covid-19.  I know that autoimmunity is a significant risk factor, even if they don't. 

I find it just a small consolation that this month, the American College of Rheumatology acknowledged the risk to those with autoimmunity:

"Although there is limited data from large population-based studies, it appears that patients with autoimmune and inflammatory conditions are at a higher risk for developing hospitalized COVID-19 compared to the general population and have worse outcomes associated with infection," said Dr. Jeffrey Curtis, chair of the ACR COVID-19 Vaccine Clinical Guidance Task Force. "Based on this concern, the benefit of COVID-19 vaccination outweighs any small, possible risks for new autoimmune reactions or disease flare after vaccination."

Of course I've been right to be worried about the virus.

It's been a race against time to get vaccinated.  I have grown increasingly concerned as the weeks have passed, and more people have become lax about masks.  For the vast majority of our citizens, the wait is far from over.  

I did get the first shot of the Moderna vaccine on Monday.  I'm confident that I'm having an autoimmune flare caused by the vaccine.  I won't know for a few more days whether the flare will worsen.  Right now I consider it between mild and moderate, but I wouldn't be surprised if it ends up being a moderate flare.  It's worth it, however.  I would rather have an autoimmune flare than have Covid-19.  Besides, I have autoimmune flares at least four to six times per year, I'm quite used to them.  They are annoying, but I can handle them.

According to the New York Times, the Moderna vaccine is about 50% effective after two weeks.  That would be on March 8 for me.  I weigh the risk as I consider whether to start selling again on March 13, which is the first day of spring break.  

I will be more than 50% immune by March 13, and I can go to the post office when it first opens each day during spring break.  With my usual precautions, my risk will be low during spring break.  

On  March 22, I will be around 70% immune.  That is when I might have to begin going into the post office in the late afternoon when it is extremely busy, probably with people not wearing masks.  I am weighing the risks.  I'm really hesitant about resuming going into any public place in the late afternoon.  I have avoided doing that since spring break of 2020.  I'm not sure I want to break that rule just yet.

I could avoid the post office in the afternoon since my school is on an alternative schedule this year.  My first class is an hour later than usual.  Assuming that we continue with this schedule after spring break, then I could be waiting in the post office parking lot when it opens so that I could drop off my packages first thing.  I would then drive to work.  I would arrive at work around 10 minutes later than I would prefer, but I would still have around 15 minutes to get everything set up.

All things considered, I am strongly leaning towards reopening both stores on March 13.

I decided that I should start making some preparation to that end.  I need to edit the message that I have at the end of each eBay listing, since I will change the days upon which I will go to the post office.  The below image shows the message that I will place in my listings.  Click on the image to see a larger version. 

I must state that I don't accept offers since I get hounded by buyers who want me to lower my prices.  I ignore the requests, then some of them get pushy.  After I added the statement about not accepting offers last year, I received almost no offers.  Thank goodness!

I think I've been harassed with offers because prospective buyers find the listing with the lowest price and then try to get the seller to lower the price even more.  Since I tend to price my books more reasonably than some sellers, those buyers make me the target, trying to get me to give them an even better deal. 

I will add a statement about how to get combined shipping and when it will not be granted.  It's not right for buyers to purchase books individually hours apart and expect me to combine shipping after I have already packed the first bookRead this post for some examples of inconsiderate buyers who expected combined shipping.  I will not allow myself to be put in that position again.

I tried to use the bulk editor to replace the old message with the new one, but it didn't take.  I may have done something wrong, or more likely, the feature just isn't working for my account right now.  eBay suffers from odd glitches rather frequently.  

It will be quite a task, but I'm going to manually edit 218 listings in order to get the message changed.  This will be my project over the next two weeks.  

I have given directions in previous posts on how you can be notified when my stores reopen.

Go to this page on eBay.  Click on "Save this seller" on the line where my user ID appears.  That's all you have to do.

Go to my Etsy shop.  Right under where you see 2,055 sales, there is a box that has a heart followed by "Favorite shop" and the number of followers.  Click on that box to follow my Etsy shop.

I will, of course, publish a blog post when I reopen, but if you are concerned that you could miss that post, please follow the above steps.

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