COVID-19: What Pisses Me Off — Hoarding & Price Gouging To Make Money In This Global Pandemic
What Pisses Me Off! Apr 23, 2020
There’s no denying the global pandemic of COVID-19 has been and continues to be scary. It’s completely okay to feel heightened sense of uncertainty, stress and anxiety. What’s not okay is when we allow that fear to push us into behaviours that lack compassion and kindness. We are going through this state of emergency together and what’s really pissing me off is people who are hoarding and/or purchasing critical supplies and trying to resell them for a profit.
What Pisses Me Off: Hoarding & Price Gouging To Make Money In This Global Pandemic
Seriously, I try not to judge others and how they cope in crisis but when I read news stories about people hoarding essential supplies and/or getting into arguments at stores over toilet paper, it’s hard to not determine a verdict of selfish behaviour. I feel even stronger about people who bought hundreds (or thousands) of dollars worth of cleaning supplies, medical masks, etc. with a plan to re-sell for profit, that to me is remarkably selfish, case closed.
Each time I get an update on above behaviours in the news, I feel a bit hopeless, slightly discouraged by the lack of humanity. To be clear, I’m not talking about the lighter panic buy which may lead you to buy a few extra essentials (especially as we’ve been advised to limit our grocery store trips). My rant is reserved for people buying tons of essentials even after major retailers have spoken out to express they will regularly replenish stock (for example buying two grocery carts full of diapers with no compassion towards that next parent in line who may have run out). It’s also for people who think they are the next big entrepreneur for cleaning out critical supplies to re-sell; please spare us the bragging on your resume because I highly doubt that “business idea” will score you a deal on Shark Tank.
Fortunately, solutions have been put into place for the first issue with some governments and/or retailers setting purchasing limits. In the United Kingdom for example, major grocers Tesco and Sainsbury’s have restricted purchases to a quantity of three for any grocery item. The past two grocery trips I went on in Canada, I was pleased to see signs advising of a limit on cleaning supplies (two toilet papers per household for example).
Some business and/or people trying to profit off the pandemic have also been flagged and/or shut down. Take for example a high-end grocery store Pusateri’s (in Toronto, Ontario) who was blasted in the media on March 26th for charging $30.00 for one pack of Lysol wipes. When light was shown on their price gauging, the store branch quickly issued an apology, said it was a signage error and offered refunds to anyone who purchased at the elevated price. Regardless of whether it was a pricing “typo” or not, damage to their brand has been done; I’m sure I’m not the only Toronto resident that will remember this and avoid purchasing at Pusateri’s long after the pandemic is over.
Another example is a couple in Vancouver, British Columbia that got caught in the act of buying cases upon cases of Lysol wipes at Costco. When speaking to a reporter from The Toronto Star, the couple was bragging about their business venture, describing themselves as “hustlers” and claiming to have made upwards of $30,000 CAD by selling essentials at almost triple their price on Amazon. Fortunately, Amazon caught wind of their “business” removed their listing of Lysol wipes at $89 CAD and disabled their account.
Spending the early part of my career in sales, I understand (and respect) the art of the “hustle” however, taking advantage of supply and demand in a global pandemic does not make you a “hustler,” it makes you someone displaying a lack of humanity. Instead of hitting the gas on behaviours driven by fear, greed and or panic, we can consciously choose to hit the brakes and shift into a supportive gear.
We can slow down, reflect and ensure we treat each other with empathy, compassion and kindness. If you feel a sense of restlessness, and/or uncertainty that’s pushing you to try and panic buy or purchase to turn profit, I challenge you to channel that energy into hustling for humanity instead; support and promote positive initiatives taking place in your community (e.g. making a grocery run for the elderly and/or immune compromised). During this challenging time, it’s extremely important we come together to lift each other up and act in a way that we (and future generations) can be proud of.
Main Image Photo Credit: https://insights.som.yale.edu
Rachna (@mindfullyyours)is a graduate of the Applied Mindfulness Meditation program from the University of Toronto, a certified Educator with two bachelor degrees and a diploma in Art Therapy. She's dedicated to living with a compassionate approach. Committed to helping people integrate Mindfulness...
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