As Hurricane Harvey bore down on the Lone Star State on Friday, a Texas Best Buy apparently decided potable water was a very precious commodity, reports Mashable, and is now apologizing after charging $42.96 for a 24-pack of bottled water. A 12-pack of Smart Water was selling for $29.98 with a warning there was a "Limited Supply." After a photo of the steep prices at the store in Cypress, Texas, went viral and outraged tweeters pummeled the big-box retailer, a rep issued a mea culpa, calling the pricing "a big mistake" made by an employee. The worker calculated the costs based on the price per individual bottle, which is how Best Buy usually sells its water. The electronics giant was focused "on helping, not hurting" Texans affected by Hurricane Harvey, the rep said. "It won't happen again."
But Best Buy isn't alone. More than 600 complaints of outrageous prices have poured into the Texas Attorney General's office, including stores charging $100 for a case of drinking water, hotels tripling rates, and gas going for $10 a gallon, CBS News reports. "These are things you can't do in Texas," AG Ken Paxton tells CNBC, warning that anyone caught inflating prices faces a $20,000 fine, and up to $250,000 if the victim is 65 or older. Paxton says goods won't run out in a state as large as Texas, even as Harvey continued to ravage the Gulf Coast. (Big pharma's top price-gouger was finally convicted.)