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Soviet-style empty shelves. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, File)

Corona Economics

‘No hoarding’: Ashley Moody’s plea to Floridians, retailers

Hoarding leads to price gouging, and Moody’s office wants that to stop.

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare supply chain flaws in the economy, and consumers often respond by clearing shelves of stock.

Attorney General Ashley Moody warned against this practice Wednesday, urging retailers to continue to impose per-item caps on what consumers can buy.

Many do so already.

The state’s chief law enforcement officer, in a conference call with the Florida Retail Federation, thanked those who comply with the policy and urged others to start.

The call followed a letter to FRF members Tuesday urging rationing to maintain a “constant, reliable supply” of high-demand items, including but not limited to toilet paper and cleaning products.

Moody, in an extended statement from her office, summed up the gravity of this effort.

“We are aggressively fighting price gouging and asking Florida retailers to help us in this battle. One way we prevent outrageous price increases is by preventing the purchase of excessive amounts of essential commodities, which can temporarily clear retail shelves and provide unscrupulous individuals with the opportunity to sell for astronomical prices the large quantities of high-demand products they may be allowed to purchase,” Moody said.

“I am grateful that many Florida retailers have already put per customer limits in place, but as the state remains under a stay-at-home order, we need everyone to join us in the fight so Floridians can access essential commodities they need to stay healthy during this pandemic,” Moody added.

“Consumers also play an important role in this effort. Please think about your fellow Floridians and be mindful that your community neighbors will also need these products. We must work together to get through these challenging times,” Moody asserted.

Some retailers, with panic buying having been replaced with budget consciousness, have had to amend return policies.

A week ago, Costco said they wouldn’t take back bulk buys from shoppers with second thoughts about purchases.

Written By

A.G. Gancarski has been a correspondent for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." He can be reached at AG@FloridaPolitics.com

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