Phobia or safe precautions? No matter where the truth lies, a series of new or refurbished products flooded the Lebanese market during the COVID-19 lockdown, products not to say gadgets that were made available at exorbitant prices, just to appease the mental anxious state of many Lebanese.
The period following the 2005 events, a similar frenzy for security products found a demanding market in Lebanon, from bomb detecting antennas that were sold for thousand of dollars to car mirrors and other thermo cameras, without ever exposing a single case. Simply it’s the business of providing peace of mind.
1. Nano Spray Gun
Used in women salons to steam hair, it became a must in several shops and restaurants, priced between LBP 130,000 and 200,000 excluding refills.
2. Face Shield
The hero product after the masks and gloves, it is a replica of a hospital surgical mask but made of sponge, cheap plastic and rubber. It became quickly popular for its unique look and more comfortable for people who wear glasses. It was banned in hospitals for being not efficient. Sold between LBP 15,000 and 30,000.
3. Disinfection Tunnel
Initially designed for being a metal detector booth at the entrance of hotels and governmental buildings, it is now redesigned to spray liquids on customers before entering a grocery store or shop. It has no drainage system as water is constantly leaking around it. Its price varies depending on tunnel length and required features (with or without lights, matt, etc…) In fact, they wouldn’t give me a price unless i call them. Go ahead, free publicity.
4. Forehead Thermometer
Seen from far it looks like someone shooting another person but showed mercy and let him go. Initially this device is for checking the temperature inside a brick oven, sold between $3-5 on AliExpress the demand skyrocketed in Lebanon and is currently sold between LBP 100,000 and 150,000.
They even changed the digital screen display image to show Body Temp, which doesn’t show up on the device itself.
5. Safety Overall
Just a regular full body one-time use overall, usually used for painting or other industrial tasks. It now includes the option of custom design or adding your company name. Price starts at LBP 50,000 per piece.
6. Car Sanitizing Service
This service flourished at a time when car cleaning services at gas stations were not allowed to operate. One could sanitize the interior of his car without washing the exterior. This service ranges between LBP 5,000 and 10,000.
7. Sanitized Fruits and Vegetables
Yes, some shops are providing a service to deliver regular fruits and vegetables to your doorstep. Sold as being sanitized from any potential infection by foreign field workers, not to be racist. No precise cost for this service, it’s lost among the daily price increase or embedded in the price of each item.
8. Money Sterilizing Booth
The latest in terms of “innovation” a fiberglass box open from both sides, where the purchaser puts the cash inside, it gets sprayed and the seller picks it up from the other side. So far only one company is selling it at a price of LBP 180,000.
9. Streets Sanitization
Used occasionally by local municipalities to prevent mosquitoes in early spring, these mobile trucks are currently used to spray markets, stores and other public places. Mainly used in Lebanon, this high exposure public technique didn’t prove any efficiency in countering the virus. Cost of service is LBP 200,000 per hour.
Not Arnold but another industrial level product being sold now for household use; the seller even makes it more tempting by communicating technical terms like “contains hydrogen peroxide”, and reassuring words like “peace of mind” and ends up giving you a free sprayer with every purchase. Price varies between LBP 70,000 and 120,000.
New products will certainly see the light as the year rolls on in preparation for next winter, items that will respond to the need of every business and individual. Nowadays, fear sells more than sex.
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