Thursday, March 26, 2020

Profiteering in a Crisis

This morning, these photographs appeared on one of the Hudson community Facebook pages, showing a four-roll package of toilet paper with a sticker showing the price $12.25. The person posting it said it had been found in one of the neighborhood convenience stores in Hudson.

Photo: Facebook
This reminded me of another post on Facebook, from someone who said he worked at ShopRite, reporting that he had witnessed the owners of corner stores in Hudson cleaning out the paper goods aisle at his supermarket to stock their own shelves.

In the second press release from the county today, Columbia County Sheriff David Bartlett made reference to "several incidents of price gouging . . . in the City of Hudson." Tonight, Mayor Kamal Johnson shared this message on his Facebook page:
The vast majority of business owners in Hudson are there whenever the City needs them. They're often among the first to donate or sponsor an event or cause. In the midst of this crisis, some are even risking their own health to provide food or other staples to this community.
Today, unfortunately, I need to call out a few business owners who seem to be taking advantage of this pandemic by engaging in what is known as price gouging. Price gouging is against the law and happens when someone hikes up the price of basic necessities in the midst of an emergency.
People who take unfair advantage of consumers by charging grossly excessive prices for essential consumer goods and services in the midst of an emergency can and should be fined.
Sadly, that seems to be what is happening in our community. It's not fair, it's not right, and most business owners know better.
Consumers who feel they are being price gouged can contact the New York State Attorney General's Office on-line to file a complaint. You can find the form here
It's time to come together as a community, not to take advantage of a bad situation. If we are going to get through this not only will we need all hands on deck, we need everyone to play by the rules.

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