The Man With 17,700 Bottles of Hand Sanitizer Just Donated Them

A Tennessee man had planned to sell his stockpile at marked-up prices online. Now he is under investigation for price gouging.

Comments: 211

  1. My first reaction to this guy when I read about him a couple of days ago was anger. Then I stopped to think: Why is it OK for a pharmaceutical firm to do essentially the same thing but not an individual? I know what my answer is to that, and it does not do the American system any credit.

  2. You're right. All the more reason we need Bernie Sanders.

  3. Epipens and insulin are life and death items as compared to hand sanitizer. What do they cost?

  4. @J.D.L. A big difference is that this guy was arbitraging during a time of national need. Pharmaceutical firms need to be incentivized to develop drugs in the first place.

  5. His comments makes it clear that he had every intention to inflate the value of the items he was going to sell and gouge his customers.

  6. This was the only option after the previous article and every single comment / reaction, and to avoid being a pariah in his community for years to come. Good on him for finally doing the right thing - hopefully they have learned their lesson about opportunistic price gouging during a health crisis.

  7. @Nick yes, but it took an internet pitckfork mob and threat of civil prosecution before he did the right thing. If you read the original article, he felt perfectly entitled to turn his profit. He's only sad that he was caught.

  8. @Nick The only lesson these two have learned is "better to not get caught next time". That is the ONLY thing they are sorry for: that they got caught.

  9. It may be that Mr. Colvin is genuinely remorseful, and now that the products are donated they can be distributed to others. I can understand how Mr. Colvin did not realize that sanitizer would become so much in demand. Others are also hoarding sanitizer, gloves, masks and other products. I hope some will realize how damaging their selfishness is. Unfortunately, a crisis like this virus often brings out the worst in people, not the best.

  10. He will probably use the donation to claim an income tax reduction for a charitable donation or business loss.

  11. I was thinking the exact same thing

  12. IF he’s been filing.

  13. @eileen Oh you mean the way a giant corporation does?

  14. The bigger problem is that there are thousands more online sellers who have even less scruples than this guy. Price gouging laws should be made more flexible to apply to these people, and stores need to limit how much a person can buy.

  15. I was outraged when I first read about this, but as I better understood the situation the target of my anger is now the economic system that allows this to happen. I feel sorry for this guy, he was just doing what so many people are trying do - trying to get by any way they can. Why is Amazon only now concerned with price gouging?

  16. I do feel a degree of sympathy for this man. As the earlier Times article stated; we are a country that has trained its entire populace to place profit above all else. As another commenter states, the US pharmaceutical industry does the same thing. It was a reach to think that years of that indoctrination; and incentivization of such profiteering, that such an episode wasn't bound to happen.

  17. @Kirk Redburne Exactly. It's tempting to cast Mr. Colvin out as a scapegoat for all of capitalism's sins, but is what he did so much worse than those who decided to stockpile crates of the stuff in their own houses, for fear of running out? Selfishness, and fear in a time of trouble. Fear for good reason, by the way: we're collectively very vulnerable and our health care system could become overwhelmed, and provisions seem inadequate. These are systemic problems, the muck of which Colvin and others are trying to hustle their way through. I don't appreciate his choices, but he's just working with what he has. Which is a system working according to it's design, to keep essential resources scarce.

  18. @TR I think it's the difference between ignorance and intent. If you accidentally run someone over it could be vehicular manslaughter. Running them over on purpose is murder. Yeah both result in a loss of life but it's the intent to profit and harm others that we find more reprehensible.

  19. @Kirk Redburne Judging by the tone of most of the comments here, I’m pleased to note that, no, this country has *not* trained its entire populace to place profit above all else.

  20. This man has been doing in small scale what the pharmaceutical industry has been doing in massive scale. Check out the prices of insulin, heart disease medication, hiv medication, or any other critical condition. Insulin retails $300 when it doesn't cost more than a few dollars to produce. There will be in every case less than a handful of companies cornering the market and jacking up prices at the expenseof bankruptcy of ill individuals. To me it makes little sense to go after this single person for doing something at the moment deemed legal and widely practiced in the medical and pharmaceutical supply industry. If we sensibly decide that this practice is not okay, is should also not be okay for pharmaceutical companies and there should be solutions that go beyond sending a guy hate mail.

  21. @Marcello Steal a little and they throw you in jail, steal a lot and they make you king. (Bob Dylan)

  22. Price gouging on medicine is a major peeve of Bernie Sanders.

  23. @Marcello There is a difference between "price-gouging" and high prices. You're complaining about the latter.

  24. This is his only option if he doesn’t want to live in self imposed SOCIAL ISOLATION forever! One’s reputation is a vital attribute.

  25. Definitely the right thing to do. It’s clear that once he realized or was persuaded of how wrong his previous actions were, he was contrite and this led him to donate the supplies. I hope he at least came out even on this product, based on his early sales of it. He’s a young man and clearly realizes how retail works, so his loss on this bet shouldn’t doom his family business. Now haters, please stop hating and let this man and his family move on.

  26. @Diane The episode indeed seems closed, but rightly criticizing Mr. Colvin's actions and intentions from the get go - seeking to profit from materials that materially affect health and public safety - are not "hate", but valid and deserved.

  27. @George S I was referring to the death threats he received.

  28. @Diane The only reason he "realized" he was wrong was because he got caught.

  29. It is like the German official noted in an article yesterday, “There are limits to capitalism.” The market is only the best determinant when each party enters a transaction voluntarily and with equal bargaining power.

  30. He knew exactly what he was doing when he priced these items way beyond their cost. He could have still made a bundle had he priced them reasonably. He only donated after the public outrage and the investigation by Tennessee’s AG. Crocodile tears.

  31. @Judy It's his action that speaks words, compared to all the other vultures who continue to gouge.

  32. Reading about Mr. Colvin inspired me to reread one of my favorite books & movies from long ago: “King Rat” by James Clavell.

  33. I’m glad he’s donating the supplies, but don’t be fooled by his crocodile tears. When the original interview took place, it was already very clear how serious the outbreak was, and he still showed zero remorse or accountability. He even said in a different interview that he wasn’t sorry for buying all of it in the first place. He’s just sorry now that he realizes that his story didn’t invoke the sympathy for him he thought it would. And we can be angry at him and individuals like him in addition to being angry at pharmaceutical companies and the economic structures that allowed this to happen. Plenty of people could have done the same thing as him and chose not to, so he’s not just an innocent cog in the system.

  34. I have an autoimmune disorder and I could not get hand sanitizer or disinfection wipes anywhere. Perhaps I won't need it, but it would have made me feel safer. When I look at the picture and see the shelves full of items I need, I feel sadness. I know I am not the only one, neither is he. Many others tried to do the same, and still do. He got caught! While I understand but condemn his actions, because they affect me, I also hate the fact that readers thought they have a right to write hate emails and make death threats. While he will be prosecuted -and should be- so should they.

  35. @Bri I am ok with him receiving moderately hateful mail. Sending death threats is just plain wrong.

  36. “It was never my intention to keep necessary medical supplies out of the hands of people who needed them,” he said, crying". It was just my intention to make people pay out the nose for them.

  37. It's good that the Colvins have attempted to take right action following their executing their disgusting plan to disrupt the market for critical supplies in a national emergency. Only time will tell if lessons were actually learned, so a cautious eye toward the brothers' future actions is appropriate. Personally, I support their banishment from e-commerce platforms for an extended period, and a predator warningd on their stores for a period after any return. Their profiteering plan, as well as the initial justifications of their actions following Saturday's publicity, reveal a predatory nature that is not easily changed. Matt Colvin stated clearly that he believes he should be paid for his labor and such, but his labor created nothing and provided no service. All he and his brother did was drive around needlessly to remove items from the normal supply chain in order to divert them for his own financial interests at potentially grave risk to thousands of other individuals. Parasitic is the only word that adequately describes their actions.

  38. I bought Azryromycin in India for $0.96 per three-pack 500MG blister box ($0.32 per pill), no doctor involved in the transaction--although a pharmacist was. Amoxycillin was even less, at $3.91 for a 25-blister pack, 500MG, or only $0.16 per pill. The pricing of prescription drugs in the USA is a racket that goes on every day.

  39. @Francis your playing with fire unless you have a lab to analyze what your taking. The product you are buying is likely cut with all kinds of interesting goodies. The cost of drugs is abhorrent but that doesn't mean you play reckless with your health buying meds from unknown sources.

  40. @Francis good point! Why should this one, small player be penalized for doing the exact same things that big businesses do??? Unless ... are they going to be penalized too? Will we finally get universal, single-payer, NOT FOR PROFIT healthcare?

  41. @Gord You probably don't know that India licenses prescription drug processes from USA, and then manufactures them at a much lower cost, AND supplies to countries all over where they need these drugs. There are no "interesting" additives. Please research before you besmirch. There are millions of people who depend on low-priced medicines from India.

  42. The man provides for his family buying and selling desirable items online. How was he to know that there would be a shortage of these supplies? If people wanted to pay a premium to not leave the house and get the items he had good for both of them. I think people should leave this man alone. He broke no laws.

  43. @Mark “how was he supposed to know?” Really? If he didn’t know, why would he buy them? Do you think his plan was to resell them at market price?

  44. @Mark Except the law of humanity.

  45. He caused the shortage by clearing the shelves in his region!

  46. I feel badly for him. I think what he did is abhorrent and I am glad his items were seized so that others can get these much needed supplies in this critical time, but I couldn’t figure out why he allowed to sell everything back at market price. I would imagine because he bought them within certain communities so they want to redistribute the goods to those same communities. I would then say the state should pay him market value for his items. This man does have a family to support and spent thousands he now can’t recoup, which doesn’t feel right. Plus, I bought two N95 masks directly from 3M on Amazon, and they were gouged at $45 — way above the normal price. So huge companies receive no penalty, but this individual civilian gets his items seized and a cease-and-desist letter AND a fine. It just feels like predatory capitalism is OK for some and not others. Based on the reaction to Mr Colvin’s case, if we societally feel so strongly, gouging in a time of pandemic shouldn’t be legal for anyone, individual or corporation.

  47. If you bought your masks directly from 3M, you should file a price gouging complaint with your state attorney general.

  48. I can only imagine how many other Matt Collins there are trying to make a quick buck on the desperation of those in need during this time. Price gouging should be a federal offense punishable by flogging and stockading in a public square.

  49. @Drew Thousands apparently.

  50. I'm confused, isn't this capitalism? supply and demand?

  51. @Todd in a normally functioning market, it would be. But we are not in a normal market and anti-gouging laws are appropriate here to prevent panic. When people like this buy up all of the available supply, it creates a perception of shortage and causes everyone to rush to the store in a panic. We need to stop people who engage in profiteering during times when people are vulnerable.

  52. It is if you are selling beanie babies or Pokémon cards. Go for it. Not for much needed health supplies. I agree with other commentators who reference the epi pen scandal.

  53. Sellers like him need to ask themselves one question: “Would I sell these products at these prices in person?” If the answer is no, than you are price gouging. Big pharma execs should ask themselves the same question.

  54. I will give Matt a pass. People weren't forced to buy the sanitizer at a high price. It was their choice.

  55. @Scott Franklin If they needed the product and it was no longer on the shelves in their area then they were forced to pay the high price. I don't see how you could see otherwise.

  56. @Scott Franklin it's price gouging, which is, per the article, illegal in his state.

  57. @Scott Franklin it's not a choice when he left nothing on the shelves to choose from.

  58. Glad to hear he was shamed into doing the right thing.

  59. At least his "better angel" helped him to do this, along with a view to mitigate any charges for price gouging. We should all learn a lesson from his actions, and those of many others: we are all in this together, and need to act in ways best positioned to help everyone. We are dependent on the actions of everyone, because the trickle down makes a huge difference.

  60. Amazon could fix this problem by capping the prices of these items at (or better yet, slightly below) the MSRP. If this seller could only sell for the MSRP, he couldn't price gouge. One might even see an upside that the portion of his supply that he got from a warehousing company was made available to a broader group of people. That said, buying everything off the shelves at the regular retailers has injured the people in the towns where he bought everything. Many of those people might not even be able to shop online (if they're too poor for a credit card or don't have internet). Obviously this kind of behavior needs to be stopped in a pandemic, but I've seen this happen for other hard-to-find consumer package goods. i.e., a product I can typically buy at whole foods that costs $5/package, costs $12/package on Amazon (and this was last year, long before the current state of bare shelves). It's the rotton underbelly of capitalism run wild, and we should legislate to curb this abuse.

  61. Can the people that have all the gloves, disposable wipes, rubbing alcohol, bleach cleansers, and so on please do the same? There are people who were already stretched taking care of previously ill or elderly loved ones, and there are people taking their elderly family members out of care homes and even short term SNFs because of the visitation restrictions and the fear of leaving them in petri dishes. And there are people walking around shopping stores to buy groceries in gloves, but none to buy anywhere now to use when changing sick people’s diapers.

  62. A new verb - to be caught price gouging online will forever be called "Colvinizing." Not a good thing, Matt. You can try to keep telling yourself you've done something good for the market, but you haven't. You've damaged people. Learn your lesson, slink off as quietly as you can, and maybe by this time next year you will have been entirely forgotten except for being "Colvinized."

  63. It is not only hand sanitizer I see in the photo that Matt was stockpiling - I see masks as well. Absolutely criminal. These are products that some patients need use every day regardless of our current state. What Matt did jeopardizes the health and safety of others. He needs to be held accountable to that. Disgusting!

  64. @Larson If you want to see gouging, go to Amazon (USA & Canada), and do a search for 3M N95 (particulate respirators). Normally these items would sell for $ 40.00 - $ 50.00. Now on Amazon, they're selling for $ 125.00 - $ 200.00 dollars.

  65. He should go to jail for acting this way in a serious health crisis. Make an example of this fool. There are more like him out there. People cannot get any hand sanitizers, N-95 masks and body temperature thermometers. They need these things to stay safe and determine if they are potentially infected.

  66. I hope the others who did as he did...follow in suit.

  67. @louisa Keeping dreaming !!He only did it because he was caught and that due to his naivitee and foolishness to go public on a major paper.

  68. This man, as poor as his character is, is actually just exploiting society the same way Wall St. does, just on a much smaller scale. Witness the bankers who will further their impossible wealth in the coming weeks via shorts and puts. Between them, our President and his enablers and supporters, and our ever-more-trashy media, we have a true crisis of decency in this country. We should fix it before the rot overwhelms us.

  69. I imagine he only became concerned when his own family’s lives were threatened. He had no concern that others lives were threatened? I’m not impressed. Just happy the NYTIMES was able to shame him into donating. May he be the first to be outed. Perhaps this will be a start in changing behaviors of corporations/pharmaceuticals that do the same.

  70. Bad look doing this but this crisis has grown by the hour and a few weeks ago few of us were thinking we'd be where we are today. So I tend to believe him that he didn't foresee the kind of desperation we're seeing today for these supplies, even though we keep being told soap's as good as sanitizers. He donated the stuff, no one's been hurt but Colvin with his financial hit. This is not our biggest problem. He made a mistake. Seems like he's learned his lesson, unlike the liar in the WH.

  71. @allseriousnessaside Agreed.

  72. He says he never intended to leave the shelves bare, but that's either a complete lie or completely stupid. Bare shelves are the reason price gouging exists. Basic supply and demand. If any COVID-19 deaths can be directly traced to the unavailability of hand sanitizer and cleaning products in the stores he wiped clean, he should be charged with manslaughter.

  73. @KR exactly right. What would be the point or profit of buying so many if he thought the store would replace them so easily. He knew supplies would be lmited and he could sell to the highest bidder. He's crying and still lying ONLY because he got caught.

  74. The Man Who Cornered the Market With 17,700 Bottles of Hand Sanitizer Gets Caught Red-Handed ....and Then Decides to 'Donate' Them. There, I fixed your headline. Now let's start investigating and prosecuting America's Pharmaceutical Extortion corporations who are extorting sick Americans for the sake of inflated CEO salaries and shareholder profits. The cost of insulin - which was discovered 100 years ago - for Type 1 diabetics has almost doubled over a five-year period. Type 1 diabetics spent about $5,700 a year on the life-saving drug in 2016, up from about $2,900 in 2012, according to a new analysis from the nonprofit Health Care Cost Institute (HCCI). Three manufacturers -- Eli Lilly, Sanofi and Novo Nordisk -- control 99% of the market. America needs serious new oversight and regulation including the outlawing of corporate campaign contributions that buy the silence of the United States Congress and President.

  75. @Socrates I suggest at least one difference is that Mr.. Colvin didn't have lobbyists to wine and dine politicians before he started price gouging, or a 7 figure a year publicist to wordsmith what he was doing to convince people they were getting the product at a bargain price in this time of need.

  76. @Socrates The Pharma companies you mention would probably love to hire Mr. Colvin as director of sales.

  77. Mr. Colvin was just trying to do what Mr. Trump was trying to do with the vaccine.

  78. @Cindy "just"? Hope you're being facetious.

  79. Wow! Greed is now a Family Value!!! Who would have known! In my town, two people on two separate days bought a total of $7K worth of dust masks. One woman paid $60 for 4 dust masks because she desperately needed them to work among her horses. Another woman was offered 4 rolls of TP at $50. My town who thinks it is so community minded had as many wiped out shelves as other places--it has slowed slightly because it is no longer payday. We have too many people here who think they are the universe--forget about community. And has my state or city begun anti hording, anti profiteering messages? Oh no....because they are reactive without data. We need more comprehensive testing to know how and what to do.

  80. This should serve as warning to all those who attempt to enrich themselves in a time of dire need.

  81. People’s reactions to this man’s actions are horrible. I believe his remorse. When I read the story, my reaction was, he should give his supplies to hospitals, etc. I’m glad to see he donated. Be careful before you let the press do an article on you!

  82. @Laurel Saltzman "Remorse" only after being ostracized and sent death threats. As of the original article he was annoyed at being cut off of Amazon, and worried that he might get stuck with the product, but showed no inclination to resell it at his cost, much less donate it. Indeed, he had already developed an explanation for how what he was doing was really a public service by getting the market to distribute through him the product "to those who needed it most," i.e., who were desperate enough to pay top dollar. Don't waste any tears on him.

  83. @Laurel Saltzman He's probably glad he donated them, too, if only for the tax write-off. Hopefully, this story teaches everyone to only take what they need and save some for others.

  84. @Laurel Saltzman He literally was asked "Are you sorry?" on a television interview, and he said, "No." He only became "remorseful" after the story got bigger and bigger. He's only sorry that he got caught.

  85. Karma strikes again. I hope he has learned a lesson.

  86. I hope the others who have done as he has follow in suit ... but I am not giving him a gold medal ... he knew what he was doing.

  87. All the people arguing it is the same as what pharmaceutical companies are doing, no it is not. IT would be like if a big pharmaceutical company bought up all the cheap medication in Canada and then sold it somewhere else. The problem here is not just the price gouging but removing the products from there regional markets thereby depriving folks of neccessities.

  88. Thank you for publishing this story. The effect of so many communities of not being able to take preventative sanitary measures due to hoarders and price gougers will ripple through the entire world in the form of infection. The cumulative suffering of many will far outweigh the crockodile tears of a single greedy man.

  89. During the entire reporting on what Matt Colvin (and others like him) had done, no one in media focused on the fact that big box stores in particular enabled people like Colvin by letting them buy large quantities of vital products we all need to survive this pandemic. Capitalism meet sociopath. Same thing, different scale. If we give opportunistic predators free reign in our society, they will take full advantage of destroying life for the rest of us.

  90. @Misplaced Modifier I've been berating stores like Costco and large grocery chains for allowing this by contacting their head offices. Perhaps if we all did this the message would sink in.

  91. @Misplaced Modifier Ah, but that would be rationing and anti free market, which is unAmerican.

  92. Hope the churches he donates to don't try to exercise their religious freedom to discriminate when distributing those lifesaving supplies like they do with their adoption agencies.

  93. @Wendy Haugen You cite no evidence that those churches have adoption agencies, much less that they discriminate. And you cite no evidence that religious organizations which do discriminate in adoptions similarly discriminate in provision of emergency aid.

  94. @DLE As long as the items get to the needy without proselytizing and beyond its usual networks, great.

  95. There is no wrath quite like the internet unleashed. At least the supplies are now in the hands of people that most need them.

  96. Glad to see the outcome - this kind of gauging in a time of crisis is nothing short of criminal. It cannot be tolerated.

  97. It's disappointing to see so many people hope to see a downfall of someone who worked within the system we have to better life for him and his family. While I think his behavior is detestable, it's equally detestable to see people hope for the ruining of what seems to be an average person working within legal confines to get a better life for him and his family. Without laws or regulations preventing his actions, it seems that the number one people we should blame is lawmakers (who seem VERY comfortable scapegoating this guy). We live in a capitalist republic (and largely capitalist world). What have you done lately that benefited from this structure while hurting another? As a hint—think about the price and quality of literally everything you buy. What have you done lately to minimize the inequality of capitalism? Calling your representatives, participating in elections, donating to charities, donating your time—these are all options. Outrage at individuals is too often deflection of personal responsibility, you just need to think about it more.

  98. @Steve He intentionally and deliberately horded items during a crisis, with the plan to make others pay him dearly for same when they became scarce. Indeed, people like him help create the scarcity. Unintentional, or unknown, ill effects of our system do not excuse his actions. Its like saying we shouldn't jail someone who knocks off a convenience store, because some guy legally made money in a heinous way.

  99. @Steve He speculated (gambled) with $17K of his own money. If you can't afford to lose, then don't play the game.

  100. @Steve I hear you when you say that this one man is emblematic of a far larger problem; and that we are all part of it. That said, I have zero compunction about berating this guy for his individual behavior and choices. "But everyone else was doing it" is somewhere behind "just following orders" on the list of Feeble Responses That Will Not Get You Off The Hook.

  101. Redemption has to start somewhere. This is a good first step. We have bigger things to worry about than someone who exhibited questionable ethics but then had a change of heart or was coerced into doing what's right. I say that our society should let this be water under the bridge, and a cautionary tale of how not to act in times like these.

  102. @Disillusioned He can redeem himself from a prison cell.

  103. Let’s just hope that the sanitizing supplies end up with those who really need them most and that the spirit of helping one another reaches many hearts.

  104. He knew exactly what he was doing. He knew he could make a big profit for selling something people needed during this time. And he didn’t donate anything by choice, he was forced to donate it.

  105. @David Look, even Mr. Big at the White House had (has?) no clue what was happening. And this nobody gets death threats? Over what? Something people can make at home?

  106. @Richard Scott One can make it at home if one has isopropyl alcohol, which is also being hoarded and hard to find in stores.

  107. This goes on all the time, its called "health care in America", except the Execs never get embarrassed and never cave to public preasure.

  108. I think it is unfair to pick on this little guy when he is just doing what the venture capitalists do when they buy up a firm with a near monopoly on some medical product, like an epipen, and quadruple the price. Or just 'regular' companies who have increased the price of insulin so it is out of reach of many patients. Who goes after them for price gouging? We need universal healthcare and regulation of the pharmaceutical industry.

  109. @Adrian No. The point is not to not go after this guy, but rather to go after the venture capitalists too.

  110. @Adrian,bla bla bla there we go again. The forest justifies the tree argument never goes anywhere.

  111. @Jerseytime @Anxious. I'm not justifying what he did - it is wrong. I'm just saying that there is a double standard. We should be going after all of this behavior. We DON'T go after the venture capitalists.

  112. To those people who ask rhetorically, what’s the difference between this and what a pharmaceutical company does to medications? The answer is nothing — some of us who support stricter price gouging laws for both pharmaceutical companies and amoral “entrepreneurs”.

  113. Exactly! What about the companies that price gouge with insulin- a truly life saving product!?

  114. @Scott M - Developing a new prescription medicine that gains marketing approval is estimated to cost drugmakers $2.6 billion according to a recent study by Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development and published in the Journal of Health Economics. That's a bit costlier than mixing isopropyl alcohol and aloe vera together.

  115. @Duckkdownn What’s the price tag for bringing a drug to market? The standard answer, based on a study by the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development, is $2.7 billion. But not all experts are convinced that’s the correct total, and a study in JAMA Internal Medicine adds fuel to that fire. The study found that it cost $648 million each to bring 10 cancer drugs to market. Together, the 10 drugs cost a total of $7.2 billion in research and development (R&D) but have earned the manufacturers about $67 billion so far.

  116. I'm so glad to hear that Colvin has donated his stockpile. With the benefit of hindsight, he now sees the situation from a different viewpoint and has worked to make amends for his mistake. The state of TN is also looking into him, which is just and fair. Please remember though that he isn't the only one to have stockpiled life saving medical supplies - in the world, in the US, or even in the NYT article. If stockpilers know that revealing their stockpile will get them death threats, they're just going to keep sitting on their stockpiles instead of donating them like the outcome in this situation. Please internet, let the criminal justice system work to address crimes. Your mob justice is unjust, cruel and unusual, and hurting us all.

  117. @e Stockpiling is when you buy enough to ride out the crisis. He bought enough to last a lifetime. This was profiteering.

  118. Make your own hand sanitizer. 3/4cup alcohol. 1/4 cup aloe vera. I’ve seen alcohol in all the stores I’ve been in. Just saying...

  119. It takes a little while for the gravity of this situation to sink in for some. I'm glad Mr. Colvin came around, even if took removing his reseller service from the marketplace. I hope folks leave him alone now. There's more constructive things for us to do.

  120. I don't support his actions, but how can we blame him? Capitalism induces such behavior. We all seek opportunities. I have checked mortgage rates a few times since things started sinking. If the situation played slightly differently and it turned out to be more of a scare than a reality, many would be lauding his ingenuity. Sure. What he did was immoral, but we reward that in our society. Let him donate the products, which is going to be a significant loss for him, and move on.

  121. Many of us have more N-95 masks than we need. I've read that hospitals are in short supply. I'm reluctant to give mine up (I have a dozen), but of course would do so if they are needed by health care workers. If the situation gets dire, we need for hospitals to send out an announcement that Americans need to turn our N-95 masks in to them.

  122. @Tom N-95 wil not protect you from the virus. Your eyes are just as likely a way for the virus to enter your body. Washing your hands and not touching your face will provide much greater protection. Hospitals are desperate for supplies and their staff are so much more vulnerable. Please donate.

  123. @Sarah DeMun I continue to read mixed messages on this. If I somehow find myself in a place where people are infected with the coronavirus, won't the N-95 mask help protect me? In other words, I'm better off with it, then without it? And if, as you say, the N-95 won't protect me from the virus, then why do health care workers use them?

  124. Hoarders cause a problem in many other respects too. The guy buying 100 rolls of toilet paper, the lady buying 100 cans of beans. If people didn't hoard then there wouldn't be shortages. But that's the nature of humans, they think of their own survival first. I was glad to see stores limiting the number people can purchase because that's the only way to make sure there's enough to go around. Anyone else agree we have too many people on the planet? Worldwide family planning - focus on that next

  125. Hoarders cause a problem in many other respects too. The guy buying 100 rolls of toilet paper, the lady buying 100 cans of beans. If people didn't hoard then there wouldn't be shortages. But that's the nature of humans, they think of their own survival first. I was glad to see stores limiting the number people can purchase because that's the only way to make sure there's enough to go around. Anyone else agree we have too many people on the planet? Worldwide family planning - focus on that next

  126. I was looking for hand sanitizer about two weeks ago. There was none in town so I looked online. The prices were higher than normal on Amazon but one seller amazed me. He had a relatively high price but the shipping was $1000. I kid you not. Anyway, I bought some aloe vera gel in the health food store and mixed it 35/65 with isopropyl alcohol. I have it in a jar but I put it in a little 2 1/2 ounce squeeze tube that I got from REI so I can carry some around with me. The world health organization and the CDC websites both have good information on how to minimize your chances of getting sick with this virus. Tough times bring out the worst in a few but it brings out the best in many more of us. Lots of opportunity for character development out there :-). Guess I better turn off the phone and get busy.

  127. People that take advantage of the panic should be punished Does not need to be in a big scale or for profit. The lack of many products in supermarket because people are buying much more than needed should not be allowed

  128. I think his remorse is only due to the negative consequences that have befallen him. Other wise, he'd probably still be selling the supplies at and exorbitant price.

  129. @Bartman, precisely! The seller has no remorse regarding his behaviour. His only regret is that he was caught in acts born of pure mendacity. I do hope the State of Tennessee extracts a price from him equal to that he was willing to impose on his victims and would-be victims.

  130. Think about this next time someone argues for unfettered free markets and how the government should get out of our lives.

  131. The law looks to the intent of the actor in assessing guilt. In that regard, both the pharmaceutical companies and this clown with the hand cleaner intended to gouge people in need with exorbitant prices. Both are despicable.

  132. Cynically speaking, this was a last opportunity act to avoid prosecution taken in desperation and shame. On a scale of morally corrupt far more dubious than the missteps of Felicity Huffman & Lori Loughlin of Varsity Blues. He's ashamed he got caught, that's all, after portraying himself as a victim and family man and wants it to go away. Amazon & eBay were right in revoking Colvin's trusted vendor status and license to kill.

  133. @wd funderburk I agree; don't feel sorry for him at all.

  134. Its hard to feel sorry for a guy who intended to make money on the misery of others, but with that said he should not be harassed by anyone. As others have said, this stuff goes on all the time. and what this story shows is that companies and governments know it and choose to do absolutely nothing about it. Try buying medications, or tickets for a sold out concert or game, buying a hot toy around Christmas time. I guess it’s somewhat comforting to know that at least when many lives are in danger the government and law enforcement will make a stand against predatory capitalism.

  135. Parasitic profiteering...They knew what they were doing...Profit above everything else is where this country has gone wrong...Their “sin” of greed did not go unnoticed and I do hope the appropriate amount of retribution is applied...

  136. He’s being held accountable, are the pharmaceutical companies?

  137. @Emily What do the pharmaceutical companies have to do with this seller choosing to hoard needed supplies during a health emergency? What exactly is your point here? Right is right, wrong is wrong. He did something illegal and now should deal with the consequences. BTW, I am NOT a fan of big pharma but I'm tired of the "what about" arguments that are a constant with conservatives.

  138. Why does Amazon continue with risking scams to honest, trusting customers with use of third party sellers? I've had questionable purchase experiences, including pasting labels over information on supplements, odd ways of paying, and difficulty returning products that were the wrong item, and more. I've become suspect of even goods marked "Prime" because I've gotten messages that say I can only return for gift card credit, and of course ending with the "Was this helpful?" question, or Do Not Reply message. Amazon is no longer my go-to or first stop shopping venue. They are becoming too scary and disrespectful shoppers everywhere.

  139. @Linda Collins Thomas, MSW Two years, Amazon free. It can be done.

  140. And yet I see ad after ad for hand sanitizer and masks online, at above average prices, , even found on the NYTimes article right here If hospitals are worried about running out of masks, why is it ok for them to be advertised and sold online?

  141. @mt You're probably seeing the ads for these things because you've been searching for them on line. Google keeps this information and is feeding you ads for the products you've been searching. Haven't you noticed that after you do searches on line, relevant ads start popping up? Nothing to do with the NYT, and everything to do with Google and other search engines.

  142. Great example of what's wrong with the world. Not sure why anyone would want to give this thoughtless, reckless and ignorant behavior a pass. Capitalism is not a perfect system and it certainly shouldn't be used to justify his actions as expected or normal in any way.

  143. His actions are right in line with capitalism. There is nothing inconsistent here with the mainstream view of economic policy in our country. This is late-stage capitalism at its finest. As a society we can do far, far better.

  144. I hope the attorneys general continue the investigation of his behavior, a functioning country relies on laws not churchy sentimental babble. Is a robber cleared of his guilt if caught and quickly unloads the loot? People can’t seem to think straight anymore. Or are we getting used to living in a lawless country by now?

  145. Pharmaceutical companies price gouge us every single day and we accept it. Direct your anger at the corporate monsters. They affect many more lives.

  146. To all hoarding: You have all the hand sanitizers which means I have none which makes me more dangerous to you as a potential virus carrier.

  147. Crocodile tears! He wanted a pay day and now he's getting what he deserves. Just not what he expected.

  148. Good glory, please get the word out that soap and water is more effective!

  149. @Guy Walker Yes, but not always available. Soap and water isn't portable, last time I looked.

  150. @LauraF My contribution here was not to imply that water can be found everywhere. My intention was to bring attention to the fact that soap and water is THE BEST means of cleaning off the virus. Nowhere did I specify anything but a preferential direction for those looking for it. Folks, please use soap and water when available. Hand sanitizers DO NOT totally remove the virus from your body, but soap and water does. The one thing I would advise against is snark during these dangerous times.

  151. We can and rightfully should be angry about this, but threatening his life? We really need to get a grip on how we deal with our anger. Dialing it to 11 is becoming normal, and it isn't. Someone is ready to profit from that anger, especially in cyber-world.

  152. Meanwhile, for American hospitals and insurance companies, price-gouging is a business model.

  153. He donated it all to help people. He has genuine remorse in my opinion.

  154. @Carol Sorsoleil i think he donated it to avoid getting in trouble with the law.

  155. @Carol Sorsoleil I agree.

  156. @Carol Sorsoleil Remorse by force.

  157. He was an is a despicable person for doing what he did with the expectation of making a buck. But how about those among us who clean out store shelves of T.P., cleaning supplies, food, etc.? Hoarding in the time of shortage is also a crime.

  158. @David Kannas It's very much the same, except in the case of antiseptic supplies, it could mean life and death for people with compromised immune systems, cancer patients, and diabetic.

  159. It's unfortunate that people had to resort to death threats and banging on his door, but I have no sympathy for the man. He knew exactly what he was doing when he stockpiled all those items, leaving none for others who needed them. And he knew what he was doing when he sold them at ridiculous prices, taking advantage of people's fear and desperation. "That's not who I am as a person" ? Yes it is, or you would not have done this in the first place. And just like I wouldn't buy your overpriced items, I'm not buying your forced remorse and crocodile tears....

  160. Well, I guess if he had just stored them on the Cayman Islands, he would be hailed as a great businessman. Honestly, we have .01% hoarding vast amounts of wealth they could never use, and we villainize this guy for hand sanitizer. He's a two bit player in the game of capitalism.

  161. He knew he was buying up medical supplies. He knew this is something hospitals and patients actually need to save lives. And he bought them up anyway, and charged inflated prices anyway. And then he cried crocodile tears to the times, thinking he was going to get sympathy? This man is the very definition of narcissist. The only reason he donated them is because he's being attacked. And if anyone deserved it, it's him. He should be prosecuted. Jail time is the very least of what he deserves.

  162. To the seller of the sanitizer. If you are reading this, dont be too hard on yourself. It makes sense in light of what you do for a living (buying things to sell on Ebay and Amazon for a profit). It was definitely poor judgement,but I dont think you are the monster they are trying to make you out to be. It seems like you just didnt think that one through. And, as others havevsaid, big corporations and pharma companies do it every day. Just learn from it and move on. Dont let these people ruin your life. You know your own heart. I hope that helps.

  163. And that folks is how you run a health care system. Find a need and gouge them for as much profits as you can possibly squeeze because as we all know in our capitalistic world the stock price is king.

  164. This fellow was a small-time guy doing small-time harm. Mostly selling stuff people don't really need (Hey, just wash your hands). This was not a case of $600 epi-pens or $300 insulin. Any of you commenters out there plan to buy into the stock market when it totally tanks?

  165. he and many others should still be investigated and prosecuted for this behavior. it truly is criminal.

  166. Justice is a beautiful thing.

  167. Good. He knew exactly what he was doing, and he was proud of it. From the Times' article on Mr Colvin: "These sellers call it retail arbitrage...The bargain hunters look for anything they can sell at a sharp markup." So yes, Matt, you exploited a situation to make a huge profit, then bragged about it TO THE NY TIMES, and now you're seeing the repercussions of your actions. I hope he's punished to the fullest extent of the law and loses everything he has. There's absolutely no justifying this behavior.

  168. Actually, he might be happy he has not been arrested ... If this is not profiteering in dire circumstances, then I do not know what it is ...

  169. To give an interview and to showcase his underlying greed for gain while stating that he feels that his actions are a kind of public service he’s being paid for and not to anticipate the obvious reaction of his victims in such a crisis is either naive or simply stupid. Of course, any hate mail or death threat to him and his family is condemnable, and they need now the support of their local community to protect them. Such a protection by their neighbors might show him that his actions weren’t plain „retail arbitrage“ or fixing “inefficiencies in the marketplace” and that more compassionate humans exists because he acted just like a profiteer. And now to excuse himself by saying “It was never my intention to keep necessary medical supplies out of the hands of people who needed them” is the best evidence that he lacks any understanding of his wrongdoing. He will have plenty of time to cogitate about his misdoings now that he spoiled his way of income for a short time profit.

  170. A good example of Tragedy of the Commons, and one that I will use during class discussions about Garrett Hardin's seminal paper on resource consumption and human behavior.

  171. Are the pharmaceutical companies under investigation for price gouging? You might find this man's business tactics distasteful, but the drug companies have been doing it regularly for years.

  172. And yet for every repulsive, greedy and irresponsible Matt Colvin there are more people like the unnamed lady at Rite Aid in Coronado, California, who helped my very elderly parents check out their purchases yesterday. They were bewildered at the total lack of the items of the kind hoarded by the despicable Colvin, and she asked to see the rest of their unfulfilled shopping list. She then helped them outside and led them to her car, where she gave them four of her own last eight rolls of toilet paper. She told them it was her gift to her own departed grandparents. I am so grateful to her. I've heard that there is a blood shortage happening, and I'll be calling the Red Cross this morning to set an appointment to give blood in her honor, so some poor sick soul can benefit from her extraordinary kindness to two people I love very much. You can choose to reach out and pay it forward, like the Rite Aid Princess, or you can snatch and selfishly prey on others, like Colvin. I know who I'd rather be in quarantine with.

  173. @Shar Thanks for posting that, it really lifted my spirits!

  174. @Shar Such an amazing story of power of compassion and empathy. Thank you for sharing. I hope you and your family stay healthy.

  175. @Shar Such an amazing story of the power of compassion and empathy. Thank you for sharing. I hope you and your family stay healthy.

  176. In the 1980s it was stated by a fictional but all too prescient character, Gordon Gecko, "Greed, for lack of a better word, is good." That has been the governing mantra of the American psyche ever since. From Martin Schkreli to Bernard Madoff to these two profiteers, the worship of unbridled capitalism reveals itself again and again at the cost of all human decency.

  177. Shame is a powerful motivator.

  178. @Rick When one is caught.

  179. @Rick - Except he probably can't feel shame. What he felt is more likely fear.

  180. In times past when there has been an catastrophe the american people have always pulled together to help each other through bad times. Of course, we had leaders that brought out the better angels in people with leadership. In the age of trump we just have rampant greed and self interest, hate mongering and fear.

  181. For everyone heaping scorn on this guy and calling for him to be severely punished.... maybe try reserving some of your scorn for more deserving targets? Like... The US health insurance industry. I pay $500 a month to not be able to access any insurance benefits until I have spent $6000 out of pocket? $12,000 a year to NOT get any healthcare? The 1%. Frantically taking advantage of the stock market drops to buy up ALL of the recently devalued stocks against its eventual recovery, while the rest of us see our 401Ks dwindle to nothing. The do-nothing Senate. Voting down a bill to guarantee paid sick leave for all workers? In the middle of a pandemic when many people cannot work due to self-isolation? Pit all of that (and more) against one man trying to support his family. Save your outrage for the bigger injustices.

  182. @K.P. I have plenty of scorn for everyone who deserves it. If people had long ago heaped some scorn on Trump and the others you mention, we wouldn't have these problems now. I'm not a Barney Fife fan, but I keep hearing him say, "Nip it in the bud!"

  183. What this man did is unconscionable, but surely he is not the only one who has done this. I have often thought that shame, in our culture, is misplaced. We place it upon people for things such as having a child out of wedlock (less so now, but historically this is one reason). We have historically shamed people for loving a person of the same sex. We shame people for their bodily appearance, and say it is "for their own good" so they are "motivated to change". I'm sure each of us can come up with at least 10 more examples. We need to stop shaming people for their personal characteristics, and we need to START shaming people for this kind of greedy, antisocial, evil, behavior. People like this are one example. He and his ilk should be held up to public ridicule, and should be shamed (not death threats). Although he did the right thing by donating the goods, there needs to be legislation by which the goods could be confiscated and given to the hospitals and other organizations that need them. His ill-gotten gains should be heavily taxed. Oh -- and this goes for the pharmaceuticals who gouge patients for critical medications, and for the war profiteers. Let's make Profiteer once more an insult.

  184. I'm sorry, ignorance is no excuse anymore. I'm getting tired of people apologizing after the fact. Apologies are meaningless...he was chasing the almighty dollar and he did it knowingly.

  185. Mr. Colvin is pleading ignorance over his actions while crying, no less. But his “pricing” suggests that he knew exactly what he was doing.

  186. Come on, grifting is not for the small guy. Recommendations for a better business model here: Market yourself as a "decentralized personal virology risk reduction empowerment thought leader." Wear black turtlenecks. Get some VC money, donate to the appropriate PACs and lawmakers. Join a country club that is well connected to the real levers of power; I've heard that one exists somewhere but I'm not really into golf so do your own research there. Hire an investment banker to facilitate your public offering. Put all the other virology risk reduction firms out of business. Buy a private island. Then you can monopolize. Don't they teach this stuff in b-school anymore?

  187. "he didn’t realize the gravity of the coronavirus outbreak or the severe shortage of sanitizer and wipes." So why have 17,700 Bottles?

  188. The real story is how people overreact - death threats? Seriously?

  189. @Richard Scott He may have caused someone to get ill and die by hoarding much-needed antiseptic supplies. It's not an over-reaction. It's a reality check on this moron.

  190. @LauraF If a wipe is the difference between life and death, we are all goners.

  191. While I agree what he did was selfish and a sad commentary on the concept of community, isn't the same practiced by pharmaceutical and insurance companies with immunity?

  192. @jak My sentiments exactly. When corporations do it, it's called capitalism. America at its most two-faced.

  193. Why is anyone surprised at the Colvins' behavior? We have been worshipping at the altar of free market capitalism since the beginning of the Union. Maybe we can collect some eggs from all the chickens coming home to roost.

  194. Republicans are suddenly in favor of “job-killing regulations” when they are the ones being deprived of some thing they want. They don’t think twice about it when it is the poor people who can’t afford basic necessities like healthcare. When it comes to health insurance they’re all in favor of profiteering.

  195. His arrogant and planned behavior with his brother they both need jail time and now. Every hurricane or illness we have GOP like this who think they are above the law. By doing nothing we are saying see you next horrible disaster. Lock them up for a long time.

  196. Huge tax write off. Shrewd.

  197. And how is this different from Trump offering a pile of money to the lab in Germany for EXCLUSIVE access to a vaccine for the virus? Exactly the same deal. But from the Trumpites---not an ounce of outrage on that one. I guess it's okay if you get the vaccine (or the hand-sanitizer) but it's an outrage if somebody else buys it up and you don't get it.

  198. I have zero sympathy for this man. He’s lying through his teeth and the harsh blowback he’s getting is exactly what he deserves.

  199. @Bob Hawthorne How do YOU know that he's lying?

  200. @ Michael J Cartwright Pretty simple. I applied the common sense litmus test. In the midst of a global pandemic this man hoards products that could prevent disease or death for thousands upon thousands of people, then jacks up the price significantly. Then only after he’s caught, miraculously appears to have something in his chest resembling a heart. I plead my case.

  201. I can't wait to see this jerk locked up. The crime was already committed so "donating" price-gouged products at this point will do him no good.

  202. These are jerks, sure. But what about big pharma?? Jacked up drug priced always. And I suspect an untold story about their lobbying efforts with Trump that has interfered with getting timely COVID tests online. Where are other countries getting their testing kits?

  203. Thank you for your service. Not!

  204. There are price gouging laws??? Both Federal and State price gouging laws??? Not that I approve of Mr Colvin's...uhhh...specualtive spirit...and excuse me foe being, once again, the last to know, but could any of these laws be helpful to consumers in the offensive against oil companies?...big Pharma and US Healthcare Industries???...etc. Mr Colvin, un-samaritanlike as he may be is very, very, small potatoes.

  205. What will his next opportunistic effort be? A GoFundMe page to recoup the losses on all the products he snatched up?

  206. Disgusting? Yes. Reprehensible? Certainly. Un-American? Hardly. Where this country used to look to the White House for moral leadership, we now have a Presidential-Industrial Complex at the helm. Leave this guy alone, we've got bigger fish to fry.

  207. @Michael Stevens If people hadn't left Trump alone all these years, we wouldn't have the problem we have now. Call these people out every time you run into them. Shame is a good thing.

  208. This buy is the small potatoes version of Martin Shkreli. And this is who we are - the almighty capitalist spirit. But even the pharma bro Shrkeli is serving some time in prison.

  209. Mr. Colvin was able to stockpile these needed supplies because numerous stores allowed him to clear off their shelves rather than rationing to their local customers during a time of urgent need. The Times ought to send reporters on the same road-trip that he took with his U-Haul and investigate why this was allowed to happen in community after community. Were there kickbacks?

  210. He's displayed all the instincts of an American pharmaceutical/health care executive. I am surprised he hasn't been recruited yet.

  211. I think Amazon and eBay can learn from this and start capping prices to stop third party vendors from price gouging. I read the original article from the 14th where Mr. Colvin is saying he is selling each hand sanitzer between $8-$70. There is a clear difference between selling a $1 item for $3 for profit but charging people up to $70 is morally disgusting. Although people are out here purchasing these items for such prices and that is of course their choice to do so, the consumer virtually has no other option when he/she can't find them anywhere else. It's ethically irresponsible to profit off of of people at a time like these. I feel no sympathy for Mr. Colvin feeling remorseful when he knew exactly what he was doing charging people $8-$70 for an individual hand sanitzer. Mr. Colvin realized once he could make a pretty penny because of supply and demand, he got greedy. Mr. Colvin is free to make his living however he wants but there is a sense of responsibility that comes with all of this and in this case, his greed got the better of him.