Crises can bring out the worst in people — or maybe they just bring out the worst people. That's certainly been the case with the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, which has been illuminating in the same way as flicking on the light switch in a filthy kitchen — you get a glimpse of the roaches before they scatter.
While much of Florida faces shortages of basic goods such as paper towels and toilet paper, there's been no shortage of hucksters and hoarders stockpiling more supplies than one person could ever need. One recent example is a Florida woman who apparently bought every last package of toilet paper, paper towels, and napkins from a Dollar Tree in Pompano Beach. The video, which went viral this weekend, begins with the woman standing on the curb, loading dozens of boxes of paper products into the back of a black truck with the help of a man standing in the truck's bed. A woman filming the incident narrated as the loading continued.
"Look at this wonderful woman who just told me to f— myself and mind my own f-ing business, who just bought the entire store out of paper towels, toilet paper, so that nobody else can have any. It's really lovely," the woman filming says.
So this woman not only buys out a local Dollar Tree of every single box of paper towels, napkins, and toilet paper so that no one else can buy any, but caps it off with this:— Brian Tyler Cohen (@briantylercohen) March 21, 2020
"Donald Trump! Go Donald Trump!" pic.twitter.com/45u2yIjVdQ
"I hope you're not, like, gonna go sell it to other people. Don't worry, you'll see her on the street corner selling it for double in a minute," the camerawoman adds.
While the hoarder continues loading boxes into the truck, the woman narrating complains that such hoarding shouldn't be allowed. She then accuses the hoarder of being a supporter of President Donald Trump, to which the hoarder replies: "Donald Trump! Go Donald Trump!"
"I knew it! Honey, I knew it! I knew it. I had you pegged right away," the camerawoman says.
Eventually, the attacks get personal.
"So, which street corner should I go to buy from you?" the woman filming asks.
"The one you're a hooker on," the hoarder replies.
When there’s no need to hoard but you just do it anyway to be awful.— Seth Masket (@smotus) March 22, 2020
The video was posted on Twitter, where it's already received nearly 50,000 retweets. Predictably, Twitter users did not take kindly to the hoarder's behavior. Many users criticized the Dollar Tree location for allowing such a large purchase during the crisis. A spokesperson for Dollar Tree tells New Times the company is aware of the incident and says it violated the chain's policy.
"Dollar Tree has had a policy in place for more than a week limiting the quantities on select high-demand products sold per customer. Unfortunately, the policy was not followed in this specific instance and we have addressed [it] with the store team," the spokesperson said in an email.
.@DollarTree, all of your stores are corporate owned.— Denise Shearin (@DeniseShearin) March 21, 2020
Why would you allow a single customer to buy out paper products that you know are in scarce supply & needed by many?
More disgraceful than that customer being so inconsiderate is your store allowing her to be.
Many stores in South Florida, including Publix and Target, have put limits on high-demand items such as hand sanitizer and paper products. Despite growing fears of scarcity fueled by the coronavirus pandemic, store owners say the food supply chain remains strong.
Keep New Times Broward-Palm Beach Free... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering South Florida with no paywalls.