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You're Not a "Business Person" When You Stockpile and Price Gouge Toilet Paper. You're Just a Dick.
By Rebel Tipton
I get it. Times are unpredictable and scary. But there is something that never changes: the overwhelming presence of dickish people in the universe.
It isn't abnormal for people to take advantage of widespread distress like natural disasters by buying up essential supplies and selling them to desperate people. Take Hurricane Harvey in 2017. After Texas was slammed by the massive hurricane, grifters traveled to the state to sell cases of water for as much as $99. More recently, Matt Colvin, a Tennessee man, bought nearly 18,000 bottles of hand sanitizer among other sought-out medical supplies in hopes of making big bucks off of supply and demand. But his supply stash in the garage has not moved due to the recent crackdowns on price gouging. The New York Times covered Colvin's story and how his "business" has been affected by policies that require some human decency, insisting that he was not contributing to a larger problem:
"Mr. Colvin does not believe he was price gouging. While he charged $20 on Amazon for two bottles of Purell that retail for $1 each, he said people forget that his price includes his labor, Amazon’s fees and about $10 in shipping. (Alcohol-based sanitizer is pricey to ship because officials consider it a hazardous material.)
Let's break this down. Without the cost of shipping and handling, Colvin would be making an $18 profit. With it, he is still making $8 per sale. If he were to sell all 17,700 units of hand sanitizer in that bundle, he would still make $70,800. As of right now, that number is still zero, but the more concerning zero isn't Colvin's profits, but the zero amount of necessary supplies available to hospitals, schools, and nursing homes are desperately seeking.
If you look up the story, you can find Colvin donning a simple black T-shirt with the phrase "Family Man Family Business". But Colvin is neither of these things. The only thing he and his co-owner brother Noah really are, are major dicks.
It doesn't matter what kind of disaster comes to the door — even the apocalypse —human decency shouldn't be cancelled so you can play pretend business owner.
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