Crowds Gathered in Atlanta to Get the New Air Jordans. Meet the New Normal, Same as the Old Normal

Source - An Atlanta mall saw massive crowds gather Saturday to buy the new Air Jordan sneakers after lockdown restrictions were lifted, according to a report.

Shoppers packed close to form lines that wrapped outside Greenbriar Mall on Saturday to get their hands on the new Air Jordan 5 “Fire Red” sneakers, news station 11Alive reported.

Video posted to social media showed people waiting to get into the mall and then again outside the shoe store Jimmy Jazz. ...

The sneaker frenzy comes after Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp allowed shelter-in-place orders to expire and encouraged businesses to reopen. 

It's been fashionable lately for the experts, the social scientists, the philosophers, the commenters, the mystics and the statistics to remind us that the post-'Rona life will never be the same. That we will never go back to the way things were before. Social interaction will be forever changed. Distancing will be the new norm. Never again will we pack into stadiums, bars, restaurants or concert halls. Dr. Fauci himself has said that the ancient tradition of the handshake will be a thing of the past, never to return. 

Or, as Bill Maher put it, we're all supposed to turn into Howie Mandel:

Not only that, but we will come out of this with a new set of priorities. With a deeper appreciation of what truly matters. We'll be less motivated by the old things like greed, capitalism and our own wants and desires. A new world will emerge from the pandemic fires, free from petty things like consumerism. 

Yeah. About that ...

People wanted stylish, designer, $250 athletic shoes before Covid-19 emerged from a Bat Soup booth in a market halfway around the world, they're going to want them now. You can curb people's behavior for a while, which we've done. Shockingly well, all things considered. The world hasn't descended into the chaos and madness like you see in Act II of every movie about a pandemic. The country was asked - and eventually told - to shut it down for an indeterminate but temporary amount of time. Then they moved the goalposts a bunch of times, "all you have to do is wash your hands" to "you can't go to certain wide open places or you'll be led away with those hands ziptied behind your back." Then from "masks don't do dick" to "masks are mandatory." Fine. Everyone played along.  

But expecting people to change the way they are hardwired is way too big an ask. And I say this as someone who's never spent more than maybe 50 bucks on a pair of sneakers or owned a pair of Air Jordans and if I found a brand new pair of them in my size lying on the sidewalk would gladly sell them on eBay and spend the money on something that will actually make my life better. But you can't confine people to their homes for months with nothing to do but watch the Michael Jordan shoe infomercial that is "The Last Dance" and expect them not to rush to the store to get some the first chance they get. 

Are they risking their lives or the lives of their grandparents just to buy expensive footwear? The fuck do I know? Dammit, Jim. I'm a writer, not an epidemiologist. Which makes me an expert not on viral infections, but on human nature and behavior. And that's not going to change one iota. In a few weeks, every city in America will look like Atlanta did this weekend.