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COVID-19 and the resulting lockdowns created an unprecedented upheaval in consumers’ daily lives and lifestyles. The purpose of this research was to understand the psychological experience of life under lockdowns and the role of individual difference variables in that experience. Using survey data from U.S. consumers, the research identified two opposite feelings, coexisting: happy camper feeling or unhappy prisoner feeling. Younger, lower income, and less educated consumers felt more like prisoners than campers. Ability to maintain life as usual, and positive pre-pandemic life conditions (health, social network, and job satisfaction) led to happy camper feelings. In contrast, pre-pandemic materialism led to a prisoner-like experience. As we enter the now reopening marketplaces, we should ask: How shall we, as consumers, live our post-COVID lives. The research findings also suggest some directions for future research.


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