Capitalism: What can’t it do?
An image of a Best Buy store in Houston selling packs of water for upwards of $40 went viral in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. The company apologized, blaming it on a few employees at the store and claiming it was all a big “misunderstanding.”
Wrong, Best Buy. We understand exactly what you’re doing. This is the store where a TV you can get at Walmart or Amazon for $100 costs $450. The fact is that $42 at Best Buy is practically free. Those blue polo shirts must be really expensive.
But Best Buy wasn’t the only business to get caught gouging the victims of one of the worst natural disasters in U.S. history. The Texas attorney general says there have been hundreds of complaints about the skyrocketing prices of gas, hotels, food and more. (Our own Ball Aerospace and Oskar Blues teamed up to ship 88,000 cans of fresh water to the relief effort this week, by the way.)
Price gouging victims of natural disasters is a pretty terrible thing. Good thing it’s only happened this one time. Oh wait, that’s right, it happens all time. After Hurricanes Rita, Katrina, Sandy and more, attorney general offices in states affected by the storms were inundated with phone calls. Extorting victims goes back as far as the explosion of Mt. Vesuvius, when Pompeiian’s were charged double for leeches, wine and other old remedies.
Patriots like Fox News’ John Stossel say prices of necessary goods should rise during natural disasters because price changes indicate to consumers what they should spend their money on. Easy for him to say, he has a supply of corn stored up in that bushy mustache that’d last him the duration of any natural disaster. Little scamp.
At the zoo
When perusing the news this week (the odd news headlines, to be clear), we couldn’t help but notice the high number of traffic incidents involving wildlife this week. And one in a pool. For those of us here in Colorado, encountering a deer on the highway (or a badger at a university campus) might not seem so rare. But for the big-city folk who witnessed these events, it was a sign that even the animals are discombobulated in these uncertain times.
On Monday, cowboys with lassos helped corral a wayward bull on a busy interstate near Trenton, New Jersey. Neither the bull nor any people were injured.
A young doe took California Highway Patrol officers by surprise early Tuesday when it walked in front of their car on the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. After snapping a photo and making some dad jokes on Twitter, the officers watched as the deer strode back into the woods on Treasure Island.
A woman traveling with two goats in Vermont fell asleep at the wheel, drifting into the median and getting stuck on the guardrail. Luckily neither she nor the goats were harmed. It remains unclear why the goats were in the car.
Although not involving traffic, authorities also found an alligator in a motel pool on the Jersey Shore while conducting a raid looking for armed robbers. It turns out the alligator was featured in a rap video being filmed at the motel. Now, it’s safe in a nearby zoo.
If only we could confine President Trump and his administration so easily.