Monday, 16 March 2020

Thinking Ahead Is Not a Strength of Politicians

Politicians are great when it comes to finding things to spend money on. But spending it wisely or for something that's needed is far from given. In Canada, the Province of Ontario unveiled new license plates because -- well, why not? In 2019, premier Doug Ford thought that a change was necessary. His Finance MinisterVic Fedeli said the change was "to drive a new culture throughout Ontario and this branding will signal that change."

Governments can drive change by creating jobs, cutting taxes, investing into healthcare, and countless other ways. For Ontario, home to Canada's capital and largest city, spending money on license plates is the way to go. Not only that, but there would be a change in slogan as well. Instead of "yours to discover," the plates would say "a place to grow." Both slogans are broad and ambiguous; they mean everything and nothing at the same time.

Here's the real problem with the new license plates: they aren't readable at night

It's such a simple yet amusing oversight that people can only expect from government. Who would ever think to test out a license plate on the road to see that people are able to read it. The government finally decided it would revert back to their old license plates for the time being.

Sunday, 15 March 2020

This Poor Coronavirus Businessman Can't Sell 17,700 Bottles of Hand Sanitizer So He's Donating Them

The coronavirus is causing a crazy, irrational response from people. Many are overreacting and hoarding loads of toilet paper and hand sanitizer as if it will somehow keep them safe. Some are going to the extreme lengths to hoard tens of thousands of bottles of hand sanitizer, like Matt Colvin from Tennessee. 

The New York Times recently reported that the poor guy can't find a way to gauge people with the 17,700 bottles of hand sanitizer that he's hoarded now that Amazon and other retailers are cracking down on people like him. 

It's a touchy situation that's led to him receiving death threats as a result of his actions. He's since backed off and now his website says that "The Hand Sanitizer in the NYT story is being donated to a local church and first responders tomorrow." 

Gouging people—but only a little

Perhaps part of the motivation to decide to donate the products comes after his actions attracted the attention of the Tennessee Attorney General's Office which stated that it "has ordered Matt Colvin and Noah Colvin of Hixson, Tennessee to stop buying and selling medical goods and products following reports of possible price gouging while an investigation into their actions is underway." So maybe it wasn't entirely altruism that made him have a change of heart.

But the Colvin brothers weren't trying to rip people off, honest. According to Matt Colvin, "Was I buying them intending to turn a profit off selling them? Yes. But at the same time, I wasn't in a situation where I was trying to rip people off."

The guy was just helping people. Driving across the U.S. to hoard help people gain access to hand sanitizers. In the Times report, he called it a "public service" that his customers were simply compensating him for. 

After all, his critics are probably ignorant to the expensive shipping costs that come with shipping a $2 hand sanitizer. People are paying for the heavy and excruciating labor involved with the Colvin brothers driving around, buying hand sanitizer, and then putting them into packages to ship to their valued customers. 

It sounds like back-breaking work and he probably should be compensated significantly for. Customers were probably getting it at a tremendous discount for the effort he was putting in. He also mentions the expensive Amazon-listing fees which can cost $0.99 per item sold PLUS other fees. It's a miracle how giveJerry on Amazon can offer to sell hand sanitizer for under $7 including shipping!


After all those exhaustive expenses, he said in the Times article that it cost him $16 "to get it to your door." The guy was only making a 25% profit selling the products at $20 on Amazon. Everyone knows the cost of doing business online and shipping products across the country has gotten more and more expensive over the years.

Saturday, 14 March 2020

The Coronavirus Crisis Has Showed Us How Truly Horrible and Selfish People Can Be

While people worry and try to stay safe amid a fast-growing coronavirus crisis, there are plenty of jerks out there looking to profit from it. People aren't really stockpiling toilet paper and hand sanitizer for decades, they're doing it to make a profit.

Just take a look at these two people in Vancouver, B.C.  who just have to do it to survive and so that they can send their kids to private schools costing $20,000 per year. Poor them. These developers who supposedly would be making pretty good salaries somewhere are in danger of running low on money. So obviously, buying $100,000 worth of sanitary products and then re-selling them at inflated prices is the answer. Nothing like screwing over a person who actually, genuinely, needs it.

In one of the most disgusting examples of opportunism, people like Manny Range and Violeta Perez are willing to buy $20 wipes at Costco and then re-sell them for four times the price online, maybe more.

 The one good thing about this story—Amazon didn't allow these scumbags to use its platform to exploit the coronavirus crisis for profit. The company disabled their account and told the CBC that "There is no place for price gouging on Amazon." It's a great example of what a company should do and Amazon is doing a great job of setting the bar. The company's also helping to make coronavirus test kits available for people in Seattle, an area that's been among the hardest hit by COVID-19 in the U.S.

One company that isn't doing its part in the coronavirus crisis—Costco

Costco is an example of a company that's falling well short of its ethical duties here. It's allowing people to load up on supplies in quantities that just aren't justifiable. Unless people are planning to stay locked in their homes for years, they would never need so much toilet paper. And even then—what's left to excrete when you have far more toilet paper than you have food?

The selfishness is appalling:

It wouldn't be difficult for Costco to impose a customer or family limit yet the company doesn't seem to care that it's making the situation worse, not better. They're enabling irrational panic buying and allowing scumbags to profit from the coronavirus crisis in the process. It's led to some looking to Google find ways to try and make their own hand sanitizer:

Important side note—who still doesn't know how to take a screenshot in 2020?

Buying necessities and then gouging people later is not a 'business'

A pitiful argument I've seen in favor of this type of behvaior is that it's okay to do because it's just being smart, no different than running a business. False. Taking advantage of people doesn't make you a shrewd business person. Businesses, at least most of them, exhibit some sort of ethics and they also pay taxes—something these opportunists will probably try to skirt as well. We've already got a glimpse of some of their wonderful behavior already. 

Call it for what it is: people taking advantage of other people. It's one thing to obtain a broken item, fix it, add value, and then sell it for a higher price later. Value's been added along that process. Here, this is only an example of greed and selfishness. Essentials like toilet paper aren't things people can just forgo, and creating a shortage only exacerbates the dire situation that the coronavirus has created.

Half empty bottom line: Buy what you need and have a conscience when you do. Buying in excess means taking away from someone else who may have little recourse but to buy at grossly marked up prices.