- Amid panic shopping and resulting empty grocery store shelves, some people have taken to Kijiji to resell some in-demand items.
- Bottles of hand sanitizer and boxes of face masks are going for anywhere between $20 and $200.
- But the Retail Council of Canada tells MTL Blog that there are no supply shortages.
These days, browsing Kijiji Montreal might bring up some surprising results. Local residents are selling masks and hand sanitizer at exorbitant prices, taking advantage of the coronavirus pandemic and ensuing panic shopping. For between $20 to $200 dollars, Montrealers can purchase these products that normally cost a few bucks.
As the panic about COVID-19 in Montreal continues to spread, people have been hoarding supplies in anticipation of a possible quarantine. Quebec Premier François Legault emphasizes that there are currently no supply shortages, though.
Empty shelves are only a result of a spike in demand.
Mayor Valérie Plante, meanwhile, has asked the public to remain calm.
In Japan, the government has made reselling masks a punishable offence. Those caught can be fined up to 1 million Yen (CAD$13,022), be sent to prison for a year, or both.
Here, we have no such law, leading to a rush of resale attempts.
For an additional $150, you can purchase this pack of medical masks.
A case of 12 travel-sized hand sanitizers will run you $70 on Kijiji.
Regularly-priced travel-sized hand sanitizers are only $1.97 at Walmart.
If you require a larger size hand sanitizer product, let's say for your office or home, and can't find anything in-store, you could (but shouldn't) purchase this one-litre bottle of Purell for $75.
A similar one-litre container for Purell is currently for sale for just $11.99 on the Staples Canada online store.
For those who are more economically conscious, two one-litre bottles off Zytec brand hand sanitizer will run you $50.
One vendor of a $100 pack of face masks tells MTL Blog that "I'm providing a quality product in high demand and don't work for free. I got bills to pay."
But Colin Asuncion, Marketing Manager for the Retail Council of Canada, explains that, despite the panic, Canada's supply chain remains operational and secure.
There are no supply shortages, so it's unclear why people are stocking up on items like toilet paper, he continued.
As for the online resale phenomenon, Asuncion told us that though it might not be ethical, people are free to act as they want.
We have also reached out to Santé Montréal for comment on online resales but have yet to receive a response.
More information on recommended hygienic measures and COVID-19 symptoms is available on the government of Canada's website.