A man named Matt Colvin has become the face of coronavirus opportunism after submitting to an interview and photoshoot with the New York Times about his attempts to hoard hand sanitizer during a pandemic. It’s not clear why Colvin chose to expose himself like this, but in the interview he says he’s been unable to sell the sanitizer because eBay and Amazon recently shut down price gouging sellers of essential supplies for battling viruses. Boo hoo. Maybe he thought this interview would help him move the product, but it’s actually just moved the Internet against him.
Colvin and his brother Noah worked say they read the writing on the wall and decided to team up. After the first death in the U.S. was announced, they cleared out every store in Chattanooga of hand sanitizer and wipes, then drove about 1,300 miles across Tennessee and Kentucky for the next three days, hitting up the smaller stores in rural areas, places where it’s even harder for people to get what they need. He then posted 300 bottles of hand sanitizer for sale on Amazon between $8 and $70 each and immediately sold them all.
The day after that, Amazon pulled his sales and he’s real sad about it. The internet’s not:
Can't find hand sanitizer? Matt Colvin has 17,700 bottles of it.— Jack Nicas (@jacknicas) March 14, 2020
He emptied stores across Tennessee, hoping to profit. Then Amazon pulled his listings for price gouging.
Now he's one of likely thousands of Amazon sellers sitting on stockpiles. My story:https://t.co/YPeXEot79a
People are calling Colvin the worst kind of person, the sort who attempts to profit off their neighbors in times of need:
Colvin drove around to dollar stores in POOR, RURAL TOWNS & took away access to safety & health for 1000s of poor people. Yet sees himself as the victim of this story. The arrogant selfishness is hard to fathom. Until one looks to the WH where the prototype is on display. https://t.co/c5PZankhwL— Victoria Brownworth ☣ #FlattenTheCurve #StayInNow (@VABVOX) March 14, 2020
This is why some teachers couldn’t find these products for their classrooms and many schools don’t provide it for them.— BeachinIt (@cayman2016) March 14, 2020
if you’re a “matt colvin” type, hoarding supplies in the hopes of price gouging your neighbors, please also go on the news to tell us your side of things. don’t forget to use your full name and make sure the cameras get lots of shots of the front of your house— shawn on the farm (@shawnonfarm) March 14, 2020
This f*cking asshole drove around small towns and bought up all their hand sanitizers and now he can’t sell them because Amazon and EBay said no. That’s EXACTLY what he (and others like him) gets. https://t.co/FeS5yKztHD— Perma-Bitchfaced and Unbothered (@OverlySarcasmic) March 14, 2020
Though some people want to be fair to Colvin by saying that he is basically doing what he’s been taught to do by American culture:
Hey as long as we’re going after profiteering Amazon sellers for hoarding and price gouging, can we talk health insurance companies or no.— s.e. smith (@sesmith) March 14, 2020
An interesting side-effect of our weird capitalism is that Amazon and eBay can swiftly crack down on hand sanitizer price gouging but we are told there's nothing to be done about $500/month insulin or $700 epi-pens. https://t.co/cibzQArNPF— Erik Hinton (@erikhinton) March 14, 2020
Colvin has defended himself by saying he was trying to do something good, telling the NYT, “I honestly feel like it’s a public service. I’m being paid for my public service.”
But it’s not! It’s, in fact, illegal, as many people have been warning online:
How to report price gouging:— 😉 (@WonderMention) March 14, 2020
If you see places price gouging, contact your district attorneys office. They need to be held accountable.— ✨ soular life ✨ (@Soularlife) March 14, 2020
In yet another shameless act of price gouging, a hardware store in New York is selling bottles of hand sanitizer for $109 dollars a pop.— Paul Joseph Watson (@PrisonPlanet) March 10, 2020
Colvin’s being paid for what he’s done all right. Now he can’t sell the product and has said he’s considering donating it. After all this, even donating the sanitizer might not clear Colvin’s name. Chattanooga is gonna seem like a real small town for that family this month.
Update: The Tennessee State Attorney General’s office has seized one-third of Colvin’s stash to redistribute to those in need. According to reports, the remaining two-thirds went to a local church.
After the NYT article about Matt Colvin — guy who amassed 17k+ bottles of hand sanitizer — the Tennessee AG shut him down & has been going to his storage units to facilitate the "donation" of the items to local community groups and first responders. 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼pic.twitter.com/RuHIt3F39F— Minh Ngo (@minhtngo) March 15, 2020