This Woman Made A List Of Things That Used To Be Fancy, Special, And Nice Before COVID That Just Aren’t Like That Anymore, And Some Of Them Are So Frustrating

    "We've given up so much [since COVID], and are being asked to give up more."

    It seems like conversations about money, inflation, and quality of goods are everywhere these days — probably because finances are so frustrating right now. Things keep getting more expensive, but they sure don't seem to be getting any better!

    Recently, I talked with Kate Hindman, a TikTok creator who spoke about consumer goods' post-COVID drop in quality in a video that has garnered over 3 million views.

    "Here's my comprehensive list," her video begins, "of things that used to be fancy, special, and/or nice before COVID, that when I tell my children [about], they are going to be shocked."

    Closeup of Kate Hindman

    1. "Number one is going on an airplane."

    Interior of an airplane with passengers in their seats, view towards the front cabin

    Actually, it's even worse than Kate first thought. Apparently, the widest seats offered in economy today are only 17 to 18.5 inches. For comparison, in the '90s, 19 inches was about "as tight as it got" in economy.

    View inside an aircraft showing empty seats and an open oval window

    Kate continues: "The stewardesses are pretty short and rude — which I completely understand." Passengers don't show flight attendants much respect, and it's a demanding job.

    Annie from Bridesmaids inquires about a drink on a plane; meme from a film scene

    "The snacks are also, like, this big, if that," she says, indicating a small size with her hand. "There also used to be meals on planes!"

    Closeup of Kate

    2. Next on her list: "Going out to eat."

    Traditional Chinese-style architecture with "Forbidden Palace" signage and adjacent souvenir shop

    "Now," says Kate, "no matter were I go, whether it's expensive or cheap, the food quality is odd, at best, and horrible at worst...the portions are super tiny, the service is horrible. It's not relaxing."

    Closeup of Kate

    3. "Getting my nails done."

    Manicurist applying nail polish during a manicure

    "I used to get a fill and a pedicure for $40," she says. "Now, I'm lucky if I spend $80, and it's still, like, somewhat enjoyable, I just think the money... It's just not worth it anymore."

    Closeup of Kate

    4. "Next is shopping."

    Cher Horowitz from Clueless smiling, holding shopping bags on a city street. Wearing a blazer and skirt

    The problem isn't the existence of retail jobs; it's the way companies treat their employees. "My grandma worked at JCPenney in the '90s — LOVED it," Kate tells me. Back then, Kate says employees had not just better wages, but better hours and benefits than today.

    "It's different to see middle-aged people and elderly people working these jobs [today]," Kate says. Better benefits, hours, and wages "bring [employees] to a certain mood at [their] job," and when these are cut back, she says, employees "don't have the same capacity for quality customer service." It's not their fault, she stresses; it's their companies'. 

    "[Shopping] was a somewhat decent experience; [it] made me feel special," she says in her TikTok. "Now, I, like, walk in to any retail store just apologizing."

    Entrance to Nordstrom store with shoppers walking in and out

    5. Next: "Farmers' markets!"

    A woman looking at produce

    "I used to, like, actually buy things from farmers' markets," says Kate. "Now, I just walk through, and it's like, 'Wow, it's even worse prices than the grocery store.'"

    6. "Disneyland."

    Walt Disney sitting with a young boy in front of Disneyland's Sleeping Beauty Castle

    "I grew up having a season pass my whole life," says Kate. "Now, first of all, way too expensive...but also, the experience while you're there, it's just not the same."

    Closeup of Kate

    7. "And, lastly: little snacks and treats."

    "All of the food — everywhere! — every single piece of food you've ever enjoyed in your life is now smaller and more expensive," Kate says. "And that takes some of the joy out of it, no matter what it is."

    Ham and cheese sandwich with lettuce, tomato, and onions on a wooden surface

    Her video definitely struck a chord; the comments were full of further examples of things that used to be better. Things like going to the movies, pastries, and restaurant prices were all popular complaints.

    Screen capture of social media comments discussing various lifestyle experiences, including movie treats, food costs, and free headphones

    All these things in conjunction — things like too-tight airplane seats, $6 croissants, and the lack of easy or accessible indulgences — might be affecting public morale, Kate tells me.

    Vintage movie theater box office with promotional posters and "Box Office Open" signs

    "I feel like we've given up so much [since COVID], and are being asked to give up more," she says. "Housing, a roof, food, medicine — we're told it's socialist to want these things to be affordable... Money used to go further."

    Comments on a post discussing overpriced airport food. Users share high costs for coffee and burgers

    ...Basically, it can all be summed up like this.

    Yes everything is more expensive now but at least the quality is way worse too

    — jz2 (@mixedgrass666) January 25, 2024
    Twitter: @mixedgrass666

    If you'd like to keep up with Kate, you can follow her on TikTok at @leftistmommy. And if you personally have any thoughts, examples, or tips to give when it comes to what we buy, feel free to comment below!