Monday, March 16, 2020

The guy who hoarded hand sanitizer and wipes is just practicing your beloved capitalism even if it pisses you off.

This guy who has a bunch of hand sanitizers and disinfectant wipes (among other things) that he intended to basically cash-in and make himself rich is being pretty much vilified online since the New York Times wrote about his money-making scheme. Now, he's stuck with all of his product because Amazon, Ebay, and other outlets banned him from price-gouging online. Interesting turn of events, right?

The thing is, I'm seeing another issue at play here. The American dream has shifted, folks, and what it has morphed into is not the same as it was for generations past. Now, Americans of all shapes and colors basically want lives of leisure and play. And play is basically five things: vacation with new experiences, eating good food, having sex, maybe raising kids, and learning/participating in art. That's it. That's what the American dream do that ALL of the time, every day, forever. I gotta actually sounds really nice. Especially if you can accomplish that early and just sail into old age doing that on and on and on forever until you drop dead.

But here's the rub: it takes a ton of money in our modern world to live that life of leisure, especially if you want all the "trimmings." The "trimmings" here are people who buy your groceries for you and stock your fridge, clean your home, and basically do all the crappy work like toilet work and laundry so that you can continue to be on vacation, experiencing music, having sex, doing art, learning, etc. And there are fewer and fewer paths that actually deliver the above to you.

The old mantra of "Pull yourself up by your bootstraps" and "achieve the American dream" by yourself, doesn't work for anyone anymore. All of the good ideas for businesses have been taken. The people who have examples like, "My grandpa was self-made because he saw a need for furnace filters back in the day when they invented furnaces, and he met that need." Well...duh...thanks, Captain Obvious. But those opportunities have long since dried up. If a man were to make furnace filters today, he'd die poor because you can't compete. It takes something like Covid 19 to crush everything to death to create a "need" so that someone like the above guy can actually achieve the American dream. And then everyone accused him of price-gouging, which (to be truthful) is fair but that's just capitalism, and now he's screwed with a bunch of product he's going to have difficulty unloading.

The Covid-19 outbreak is remarkable in so many ways. Yes, it shows the weaknesses and shortcomings of preparedness as well as the fragility of our economic and supply chain. But it is also a fantastic way to see how truly impossible it is for people to get that "American dream" and live a life of leisure where you eat grapes while someone is fanning you in an exotic location while still in possession of your youth. To make the kinds of millions that would facilitate that lifestyle is incredibly difficult and nigh impossible for many folks until an emergency comes along that creates opportunity. In fact, I'd say that true "hand over fist" money-making opportunities might only exist in an emergency these days. During regular (read as normal) times, the most creative people will only improve their financial situation marginally, buy a modest home, and still have to work until 80 to retire. In other words, they work, pay taxes, and die like everyone else. And a lot of the young folk today are saying "I ain't playing that game," even though life is totally going to kick them in the privates and force them to play the game (which is why the new generation is very anxious and depressed). Hell, I don't blame them. If I'd been told their version of the above American dream, I'd be depressed right now too. That's what terrible lies do. They create false expectations that don't meet reality and the only way to make ends meet is to become a crook.

Don't any of us think that the above guy in the picture might have gone a different route with a business if it were easy for him to do so? I'm sure he wouldn't have chosen to hoard a bunch of stuff in a crisis and then sell it for a huge margin if it weren't so obvious that this is exactly how he could make a fortune. If he could make a fortune doing something legit, he WOULD HAVE DONE just that. But there is no easy way to make a fortune that doesn't require a ton of work and a ton of luck (and yes you've got to have both). And people want easy money...that's part of the American dream too. I used to shovel driveways for $5.00 with a foot of snow. Kids these days won't even lift a finger for less than $40, and then they just roll their eyes and groan while setting their phone on the counter. "DDDDOOO I NNNNEEED TO? REALLY? Won't you just give me the money?"

Anyway, you might ask, what do I think of the above guy? I think he's scum and should be caned like they do in Singapore to people that litter. HOWEVER, in this country where every old white man has told me since I was a youngin' that, "Boy, if you know what's good for you, you'll pull yourself up by your bootstraps, stop complaining, and put that nose to the grindstone and makes somethin' of yourself!" I would like to say, "Price-gouging and predatory capitalism is your creation. Let's celebrate this asshole that you created and price gouge you. Let's see how you like it. You made this bed, now sleep in it." In other words, I actually think the guy is in his right and should be allowed to take people for all they are worth. That's how the rules were set, and not by me.

Capitalism just sucks, and yes I will continue to play the game. But it especially sucks when it's hypocritical. No one likes a hypocrite. I honestly don't understand how more people don't see how hypocritical our entire system is. Sigh.

Have a nice Monday!


  1. That guy lacks values and morals, but you're right, it was his right to do that. Maybe he can sell it to his neighbors since his area is probably like everyone else's - you can't find that stuff in the stores right now.
    Anymore, real estate is about the only way to make it big. Or work eighty hours a week and climb to the top of the corporate ladder like my brother did.

  2. I hate people who do that stuff. A lot of it is really commonplace, like people who buy a bunch of concert tickets online and then resell them. Or someone who gets the inside scoop that a store is putting out a new box of a certain toy and buys it up right away before anyone else can even see it and then puts it for sale at a higher price on Amazon/eBay. But those are minor irritations because you don't need concerts and toys really, whereas in a pandemic hand sanitizers are fairly important, as are water, toilet paper, and other essentials. It's one thing if you're going to actually use all that (or think you are) vs buying it just to gouge desperate people. But then a lot of people are probably jealous they didn't think of it first.

    There was one time when I hoarded something. It was like 9-10 years ago and I was taking Prevacid for acid reflux. One day I went to the store and it was all out. I went to another store and another, same thing. I went online but no one was really saying anything about why there was a shortage, though of course enterprising souls on Amazon were charging like 3x the store price for a 14-day supply.

    So the next day I went out and drove to Grand Blanc, which is just south of Flint. They still had Prevacid in stock at most stores so I bought a whole ton of it. Basically I wound up with enough for the next 3 years. (They did eventually start restocking Prevacid and even a store generic version.) But the difference between me and that guy or that "Pharma Bro" guy overcharging people for medicine is that I only hoarded it for my use, not to resell, and I did wind up using all of it except some that I gave to my mom.

    Maybe I should be caned for that, but if you've had a really bad acid reflux attack then you don't want to be without your medicine or taking some ineffective junk. I'm just saying.

    1. To clarify, if the world was run by me and by MY rules, I'd cane people who price gouge during a crisis. But because the world is not ruled by me or my rules, but by "capitalists" who have "splained" to me ad nauseum about the whole "pull yourself up by your bootstraps," and I have accepted their "wisdom" and "played their game," I think caning is out of the question. As amoral as it is, I'm arguing that price gougers should be celebrated. As in "fuck it" our society is horribly broken and dystopian anyway, let's build statues to these future "job creators," because all you wise old white men that came before me have said, "This is the way."

    2. And basically, Pat, I'm also saying that I love to shove what people are dishing out to me straight down their throats. "Oh you like capitalism!? Here's a triple helping. No you don't want it? Too bad...lets shove it down your throat! Mmm good, right?"

    3. that's all well and good until you have to pay $50 for a roll of TP lol

  3. I do seem to recall that California passed an anti-gouging law when a state of emergency is declared. I don't think that guy is in CA, though.

    I'm all for socialism. Have been for a while.

  4. You said it , cant agree more.
    Take it from an old timer, Karma is a big Bitca though.

  5. So way back when I worked at Toys R Us, we had this group of "collectors" who were at our doors every morning at opening. They would race through the store so that they could grab whatever hot collectible item had been stocked overnight.
    But, see, they weren't really collectors. They didn't keep any of the stuff and would routinely bring back bags and bags of action figures and hot wheels after the specific pieces had reached saturation point.
    I kind of hated them.

    One morning, this guy was getting Star Wars figures... Well, he was getting one figure in particular, because it was -the- hot figure at the time. We were standing on the aisle in front of the action figures, and he was holding it in his hand. It was the only one we had in the store, which is what we were talking about, because he was trying to convince me to go break open more cases of figures so he could get more of them.
    At any rate, while we were talking, a mom walked up with her son -- he was probably about eight -- and asked if we had that figure. The guy held it up and said, "I'm getting the last one."
    She asked if there was any way he would part with it because her son really wanted that figure.
    He said, "Sure, let me pay for it, then I'll sell it to you."

    He went with them out to the parking lot after he paid his $6 and sold it to her for $30.

    It made me sick.