In an effort to take advantage of the viral scare, a Tennessee man got in over his head.
As shoppers buy up products in a panic to prep for isolation from the coronavirus, one item that has found itself at a premium in many stores around the country is hand sanitizer. Retailers have had to place purchase limits on the stock of hand sanitizer they have, but even then, some stores are having trouble keeping it. One man, Matt Colvin of Chattanooga, Tennessee, thought he could take advantage of the scramble to sell hand sanitizer at an inflated price through his Amazon storefront, buying around 17,700 bottles from local retailers. This quickly proved to be a mistake.
When word got out about Colvin’s hoard of sanitizer, he was panned across news outlets and social media for hoarding valuable supplies during a pandemic. He received hate mail, death threats, and several threatening knocks to his front door. Additionally, both Amazon and eBay suspended his seller’s licenses, the storage unit he keeps his wares in was cancelled, and local authorities have opened an investigation into him for price gouging.
Update: I spoke with Matt Colvin just now and he said he is exploring ways to donate all the supplies.
We've updated our story. https://t.co/YPeXEot79a
— Jack Nicas (@jacknicas) March 14, 2020
In an interview with the New York Times, Colvin expressed remorse over his actions. “I’ve been buying and selling things for 10 years now. There’s been hot product after hot product. But the thing is, there’s always another one on the shelf,” he said. “When we did this trip, I had no idea that these stores wouldn’t be able to get replenished.” He went on to say that “It was never my intention to keep necessary medical supplies out of the hands of people who needed them. That’s not who I am as a person. And all I’ve been told for the last 48 hours is how much of that person I am.”
In an effort to make amends for his action, Colvin packed up his entire stash of hand sanitzier and antibacterial wipes and donated it to a local church. Volunteers from that church will be taking the supplies door to door and giving them out to whoever needs them.