She was just trying to help.
That’s according to a statement said to be from the woman who was the subject of internet shaming after she was photographed selling toilet paper in the Langley Costco parking lot.
As of Saturday, March 21, the photos, which were posted on social media on Friday, March 13, had been shared 1,600 times, with 28 comments, mostly critical.
A Langley resident who said he was a friend of the woman relayed a statement to Black Press which said the reseller wasn’t trying to profit from the panic buying that has emptied shelves of toilet paper.
“My husband owns two Airbnb homes and we have a subscription off Amazon that we use for different household items,” the statement reads.
“We had an overstock at the house.”
When she saw reports that stores were running out of stock, according to the statement, she decided to sell her excess toilet paper for what she paid for online.
“Not with one negative thought in my head, I gathered up the extra cases of toilet paper and made my way to the store to give it to people at cost, just to make the money I spent on it back.”
There were no intentions of hoarding or doubling any prices,” the statement added.
“[I] simply just had too much. There was no mark up on anything. I meant no wrong by it, my heart was in the right place, there was no hoarding involved and I hope people can still believe there is good in this time of panic.”
Her friend said the woman was overwhelmed by the negative comments online.
“She said it was horrible,” the friend said.
“She deactivated her Facebook and was really hurt by the things people were saying. Talking about robbing her and taking her truck and hitting her and stuff. Just real mean stuff. She has her own business and does very well and just had a baby. She really was just trying to help.”
Neither the woman nor the friend wanted their names published.
Alannah Bergman, who took the pictures, was not convinced by the explanation.
“The only way it would have looked like she’d be trying to help people out is giving it out for free,” Bergman commented.
“Also, she didn’t have a business licence.”
Many shoppers looking for toilet paper have been leaving the Langley Costco and other stores empty-handed as a result of panic buying prompted by the COVID-19 outbreak.
On Sunday, March 8, the Langley Advance Times described how, after two days of trying and failing to find a store with adequate stocks of toilet paper, Peter Latzel got up early to be first in line at the Langley Costco store.
Latzel, who lives near the Surrey-Langley border, said he wasn’t among those who were hoarding out of concern about the COVID-19 virus, but he was being forced to queue up to make sure he had enough for his wife and two kids.
A Costco worker said the store went through its entire stock in a matter of minutes on Saturday, but more had been brought in.
A video of what appeared to be the Langley Costco opening that same morning showed shoppers racing through the aisle to the back of the store where the toilet paper was stacked.
Attempts to profit from the sell-outs are running into some resistance.
On Friday, Amazon blocked the account of a Vancouver couple, Manny Ranga and Violeta Perez, who claimed to have made $100,000 in the past two weeks by mass-purchasing Lysol wipes at Lower Mainland Costco locations, and reselling them online at four times the cost.
“There is no place for price gouging on Amazon,” an Amazon spokesperson said to Black Press Media in an email response. “We are disappointed that bad actors are attempting to artificially raise prices on basic need products during a global health crisis and, in line with our long-standing policy, have recently blocked or removed hundreds of thousands of offers. We continue to actively monitor our store and remove offers that violate our policies.