Time, the pandemic has taken away free time from me.
I work in an industry that was deemed "essential", but truly is not. I make high end refrigerators for GE Appliances; $2000 to $4000 models. Some models have WIFI and coffee makers in the doors. Yes, we make refrigerators in Louisville, Kentucky that you can control with a smartphone to tell it to start warming up water so you can put a Keurig K-cup in the door and make a cup of coffee. Been making the hot water version since 2013 and the coffee maker version since about 2015.
Believe it or not, because many people work from home, they've decided to renovate their living space. That created a demand for new appliances. People weren't spending money on commuting costs, cleaners, eating out, and other forms of recreation and entertainment. So there are people with excess disposable income in "these unprecedented times."
Normally, we have around 5, 6, 7 weeks of inventory on hand and have massive sales during the holidays like Labor Day, Memorial Day, Black Friday, etc. in an attempt to be profitable. Now we have about -4 weeks on hand meaning units built today were sold last month. Nothing is on sale, everything is full MSRP.
Many US manufacturers shut down production. Imported brands were not coming into the country because those factories shut down as well.
Our factory complex shut down for one week at the end of March to install social distancing measures on the factory lines. We allowed factory workers to take voluntary leaves of absences if they were in an "at risk" population, cared for a family member who was "at risk" or had child care issues due to school and daycare closures. This resulted in a reduction in production with some lines shutting down and the workers being loaned out to other lines to keep the factories running.
We've resumed full production and now have mandatory overtime. Our first shift ran from 6 am to 2:30 pm and our second shift ran from 3:30 pm to midnight. We'd make about 1100 units a day (550/shift).
To meet demand and increase production, first shift now runs from 5:30 am to 3:00 pm and second shift runs from 4:00 pm to 1:30 am. We now make over 700 units per shift if we run well. We've even been required to work several Saturdays.
I have to be at work around 3 pm to set up for my shift. I live nearly an hour away, so my daily commute begins at 2 pm and ends at 2:30 am, literally a 12½ hour work day. I get to bed after 3 am, wake up around 11 am, eat lunch, make my lunch to take to work, and then leave for work. My entertainment is watching the midday news and an episode of the People's Court (they are doing it by video with people in their homes).
The company even cancelled our annual shutdown vacation week. We are limited in the amount of people who can be on vacation at any one time. They even increased everyone's pay during the pandemic and gave us a $50 weekly bonus if you were at work for every minute of your scheduled shift (the bonus ended this past month).
So, bottom line, my pay increased, but my ability to spend money and free time have vanished.
And for you people who complain about having to wear a mask for a quick trip to the store or restaurant, we have to wear a mask at all times in the hot, humid Kentucky factory only taking it off for our half hour lunch break (8:30-9 pm for me). Yeah, I put on a mask at 2:45 pm and take it off at about 1:40 am everyday and have been wearing a mask since the end of March. Yes, I am tired of wearing a mask, but I'm even more tired hearing about people who complain about having to wear if when they go to Walmart for a 30 minute shopping trip.