The great Charles Dickens once wrote – “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. It was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness. It was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness. it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.” Yet people are hoarding toilet paper and hand-sanitizer.
These words still ring true today. Especially given the current condition of the world. We are living perhaps the best of times, yet have fallen on hardship. A global pandemic has struck the planet. Its populous now lives in fear, afraid of falling ill with the coronavirus. COVID-19 has shown the best in people, as it has shown the worst.
Two brothers in Chattanooga, Tennessee made global headlines last week, through their repulsive acts of of greed. Noah and Mathew Colvin set out on a mission to fill a small truck with as much hand-sanitizer as they could buy. Not to help their fellow humans in times of need, but to line their own pockets. After ridding the states of Tennessee and Kentucky of as much product as they could, depriving the rest of the population of the critical substance – they went online. They began re-selling their hording at astronomical price increases – bottles of Purrell for $70. These actions caused outrage. As a result, both Amazon and Ebay made changes to their online retail websites. The re-sale of hand-sanitizer, surgical masks and other such products were prohibited.
The Colvin brothers now found themselves with a stockpile of 17, 700 bottles of hand-sanitizer and no marketplace left to gouge others. Sometimes karma is swift.
In other areas of the globe, a new phenomenon has arisen. Buying an abundance of toilet paper. Just why people are getting into physical altercations over toilet paper remains unknown. Yet that is rapidly becoming normal behavior. There are numerous videos on social media depicting fights over this new white gold. Sacred toiletries. I myself witnessed two men ready to beat one another over a can of baked beans. Lets be frank; nobody needs a four-year supply of toilet paper. Especially when that stockpile comes during a time of need and prevents others from obtaining a necessity.
It seems whenever a serious issue arises, two types of people emerge. The good – and the bad. Some, like 19-year-old NBA player Zion Williamson, do all they can to help. Others, like the Colvin brothers, seek to profit from the difficulties of others. This is true during any emergency situation.
See also: The 1918 pandemic compared to today
“I am pledging to cover the salaries for all of those Smoothie King Center workers for the next 30 days,” wrote Zion Williamson on Instagram. “This is a small way for me to express my support and appreciation for these wonderful people who have been so great to me and my teammates and hopefully we can all join together to relieve some of the stress and hardship caused by this national health crisis.” Williamson was drafted by the Pelicans last year. An NBA basketball team from New Orleans – a place that knows all too well about disasters and hardships.
The NBA season, as is the case with all sports, has been postponed. Many people depend on sports to earn their livelihood. From hot dog stands to the on-flied photographers and journalist, many people will feel the economic pinch from these shut downs.
The acts of Zion Williamson show a side of humanity that we can all support – those of the Colvin brothers, not so much.