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Vancouver couple resells $100K of cleaning products purchased at Costco amid COVID-19 pandemic
VANCOUVER -- Manny Ranga and his wife Violeta Perez are cashing in on cleaning supplies online. The pair were seen going to a Costco in Vancouver on Thursday, filling their truck with boxes of Lysol wipes they said they planned to sell online amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
CTV News Vancouver spoke with Ranga Friday outside his house, just as the couple was about to unload five boxes of Lysol wipes from the trunk of their SUV.
“It’s just a business I’m doing right now,” said Ranga, adding that it had been going on for “probably like three or four weeks."
Across the country, grocery stores have empty shelves where typically shoppers would find cleaning supplies and toilet paper. Long lines to get inside weave through parking lots and stores themselves, as hundreds of people are trying to stock up in case they need to self-isolate or quarantine themselves because of the growing COVID-19 pandemic.
Ranga told CTV News he’s “not the only one” stocking up on supplies for resale. He said he and his wife have three kids who can’t go to their private school because of the novel coronavirus outbreak, so they can’t work and need a way to make an income.
“The government’s not helping us pay our bills,” he said. “Kids can’t go to school, my kids go to private school. I pay $20,000 a year on private school and they’re not returning it.”
He and his wife are developers, and due to the COVID-19 outbreak he says sales have tanked.
“No one wants to go buy houses,” said Ranga. “And if you want to go see a house they want you to wear masks and things like that. It’s a bit out of hand right now.”
The Retail Council of Canda told CTV News “nobody was ready” for the level of panic-buying being seen across the country.
Greg Wilson, the council's director of government relations for B.C. said he wasn't surprised to hear of people reselling cleaning products online.
"There are going to be people that try to take advantage of any difficult situation," Wilson said.
Ranga said the couple has sold about $100,000 worth of supplies, but that they don’t pocket very much. It depends on the client how much they’ll mark up the products.
“If it’s a school and stuff I don’t mark it up that much,” he said.
“You know what’s making, money? The shipping companies,” he added. "Amazon's making money on it too.”
In a news conference on Friday, Premier John Horgan said he was “profoundly disappointed” in people buying and selling products online and called for a “measured response” to the outbreak.
“I think that’s just offensive and most people would bristle on that,” he said. “Let’s be thoughtful and reflect on the consequences of people buying everything. What does that mean for the next person in line that needs that product?”
Ranga told CTV News the company is his wife’s and that he only picks up the supplies. He said they’ve decided to stop selling for now. Perez declined an interview.