It seems like nothing really says that it's time to rejoin civilization quite like a run on all those things we need to make ourselves feel better about how we look after a year of near isolation.

The latest news tells us that rates of COVID-19 vaccinations are continuing to climb, and with that news the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has said that vaccinated Americans can skip the physical distancing along with the masks (in most settings).

That news has also sent Rockford area folks (along with people all over the United States) out to grab things that maybe weren't such a necessity during the height of the pandemic. Buying/hoarding things like hand sanitizer, alcohol, toilet paper, and cleaning supplies in bulk is on the way out, while grabbing things to make ourselves more presentable to the rest of humanity is definitely in.

The Wall Street Journal reports that "deodorant, teeth whitener and condoms are in high demand. Sales of perfume, nail polish, swimsuits, sunscreen, tuxedos, luggage and alarm clocks are climbing fast, according to companies that make these products and large retailers."

Could it be that some of us totally let ourselves go during the lockdowns and are now afraid of frightening our fellow citizenry with our stunning lack of hygiene, yellowed smile, and lack of signature fragrance?

In a nutshell, yes.

I was curious to see if the Wall Street Journal's report, which covered buying activities in larger metropolitan areas than we have here, meant that the personal grooming buying spree reached all the way to the Rockford area. So, I called a few of the big retailers here in Rockford that sell things like deodorants, teeth whiteners, and the other aforementioned stuff to see if they've noticed a change in buying habits.

Out of the 5 calls I made, I talked to four real people and got stuck in automated-operator hell on the fifth call. The bottom line is that all of the things I mentioned earlier about being in demand are also in big demand here in the Rockford area.

I was told by two stores that razors and shaving cream are also big on the must-have lists, and so is sunscreen and partyware (think paper plates and plastic silverware). Haircare products are also being grabbed up at a pace we haven't seen for well over a year.

Let's get out there and get groomed, Rockford!

Goosebumps and other bodily reactions, explained