I think it's safe to say the world looks and feels a lot different now than it did just two years ago in 2020. Hell, 2020 itself feels like it was ten years ago at this point. Needless to say, it's been a looooong couple years for all of us.
1. Physical restaurant menus. "We need to bring them back! I love technology, but menus on our phones is not it."
"Especially in restaurants that don’t even have free wifi or wifi with a clear password. Like, i don’t want to use my data."
"I am inclined to believe one of the reasons they are moving away from physical menus to online is that it makes it easier to change/raise prices. No more having to reprint menus and the public won’t notice the price changes usually."
2. Places being open late. "I'm so sick of things closing at 8 p.m. Some of us don't work 9–5."
"Pre-pandemic, most fast food was open til midnight or 1 a.m. Now everything closes at 9."
"It doesn’t work for 9–5'ers, either. I swear to god I’m not sure how I’m supposed to manage to get off at 5/5:30, immediately get the dog walked and fed, try to find 15–30 minutes to just decompress for a moment, then rush out only to accomplish maybe one errand before the shops close. And if I’m too hungry to wait to eat dinner, forget it. I don’t know who the shop hours are for, but it’s 100% not 9–5'ers as the majority of their hours are during that time. I don’t know how the hell parents do it all."
"I like this change. I really never wanted somebody banging on my door at 10 o’clock wanting to change the sheets and the towels that are barely used. Just leave me alone until I put the notice on the door that I want service."
"The hotel I just stayed at offered a free drink/dessert at their restaurant if you opted out of housekeeping. Best deal ever."
"On that note, I love how the rooms have to sit empty after someone uses them. The amount of rooms I’ve checked into super early is wonderful. Checked in at 8:30 a.m. a couple weeks ago to a completely spotless room."
4. The quality of hotels. "It's gone down. Hot tubs and pools are still drained or covered up. Service is lacking. On-site restaurants are closed. If you want pre-COVID quality hotels, it's like $250+ per night."
5. Airbnbs that were affordable. "At this point, staying at an Airbnb is oftentimes more inconvenient and expensive than just staying at a hotel or actual bed-and-breakfast."
"I was already pretty meh about it before the pandemic, because of the impacts on housing prices and availability for locals. The continued existence of outrageously high 'cleaning fees' on Airbnbs really sealed the deal. Especially since some Airbnbs now require you to do some cleaning yourself
before you check out anyway."
6. Eating at a restaurant being more affordable. "Pre-pandemic, it was easy to get a meal for $10. Now that same meal costs $20 or more with the tip also doubling."
7. Dating got way harder. "I struggle to connect with strangers since the start of the pandemic. Everyone just feels 'off.'"
8. Limited fast food menus, including the loss of some of their healthier options.
"Traveling for work, sometimes a McDonald's was my only option for a quick lunch. They've since got rid of my go-to salad. It wasn't the best, but at least with grilled chicken it was halfway healthy."
9. "In certain industries, the 'soldier on, go to work even if you're sick for the good of the business' mentality that a lot of managers actively encouraged. My workplace now sends out health and safety emails reminding people not to come to work if they're sick, even if they don't have COVID. We're encouraged to stay home and either rest or WFH if we feel well enough."
10. Kids' social skills. "The freshmen coming into my student society for the past two summers behave like a bunch of 16-year-olds, while they are actually 18–19 years old on average."
"My daughter was 15 when it hit and 17 when she graduated. She and her high school friends discussed this quite a bit when in-person classes resumed. A year and a half of not physically interacting with peers and teachers/mentors seriously set them back. They didn't learn how to date, navigate friendship scuffles, join clubs and volunteer in the community, ask someone to homecoming, work part-time jobs...none of it."
11. "So many public transportation services have been cut. In my city, it feels close to 75% of them. In 2020 they were cut on the grounds that nobody was using them (because we were in lockdowns), but even in 2022 they have not resumed, despite most people being forced back to our physical workplaces."
"UK based here, in the north. My train commute used to be an hour in, an hour back. COVID reduced services. Fine, not unreasonable, I was WFH anyway. Nearly three years later and services have not returned to their pre-COVID state. Now my commute is an hour in, two hours 15 minutes back. I’m sure someone is making money off this, and robbing me of time in the process."
13. Snow days. "Having a free day off that no one could fuck with. Now it’s gone forever. Jobs, schools, everything can now be remote. It's tragic that a whole generation of school kids are going to grow up never knowing the joy of no school on a snow day."
14. "Spatial awareness. I swear when I go to a busy store these days, it's nearly impossible to get around people to look at anything. Or they just stand in the middle of the aisle."
15. Many small, family-run restaurants. "A couple of locally owned restaurants I enjoyed in my town didn’t survive COVID. RIP the one Indian food place within 100 miles."
"My favorite Italian restaurant. It was a small, family-run restaurant, owned by a lovely Italian couple. They immigrated from Italy and set up shop here in the US. They made the best Italian food in town. They had that restaurant for more than 20 years. It was our family's go-to restaurant growing up. We knew them. Then COVID hit and they had to shut down. COVID hit small businesses hard."
16. Going all out to decorate for the holidays. "I have several neighbors that didn't put out their Halloween decorations like they used to. When I asked two of them, they said they were just not into it anymore. Last Christmas was the same."
"We bought a new house right before the lockdown hit. We haven't had a single trick-or-treater in the new house. We didn't bother decorating this year. It's bumming me out. We used to live in 'the' neighborhood. Kids from the other side of town would drive over to trick or treat our neighborhood and we were the scary house that older siblings would warn their siblings about. I would spend time rigging up drop scares and stuff and sit inside the door triggering them, or wear a costume and prowl through the yard. It was fun."
17. And finally, friendships. "The pandemic and isolation had different effects on the people I knew. So when we all came back, many of them had changed. Some of them didn't even seem to recognize me. Sometimes, I try to remember who they were before the pandemic hit, but they faded from my mind just as they faded from themselves."
Do you agree? Is there anything we missed? If so, tell us in the comments below.
Note: Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.