Matt Colvin isn't exactly feeling the love. In early March—with the coronavirus spreading across America—he bought out hand-sanitizer bottles and antibacterial-wipes in small stores across Tennessee and part of Kentucky, then resold them for a hefty profit on Amazon. "It was crazy money," he tells the New York Times. But now Amazon has pulled his listings over price gouging linked to the coronavirus, and he's stuck with 17,700 bottles of hand sanitizer. "It's been a huge amount of whiplash," Colvin says. "From being in a situation where what I've got coming and going could potentially put my family in a really good place financially to 'What the heck am I going to do with all of this?'" Meanwhile, the rest of the world is desperately seeking those very products.
And Colvin's not alone. Amazon says it has yanked hundreds of thousands of similar listings, while eBay and Walmart are also targeting price hikes on coronavirus supplies. As for Colvin's profits, a snapshot: He bought 2,000 packs of masks for $3.50 each, and resold the packs for $40 to $50 apiece. Twitter isn't treating the Tennessee man kindly ("the arrogant selfishness is hard to fathom," says one user) and the state attorney general's office says it is investigating. But Colvin, already making six figures reselling on Amazon, claims he was doing "a public service" by making the products more widely available. Would he say he's sorry? "No, I do not think that I would," he tells WRCB. But now, with all this attention, he says he'll donate the hand sanitizer to a local church. (Read more coronavirus stories.)