News & Opinion | March 16, 2020 10:03 am

The Man Who Hoarded 17,770 Bottles of Hand Sanitizer Has Donated Them

Matt Colvin was publicly shamed into doing the right thing

Five bottles of hand sanitizer
Bottles of hand sanitizer are a hot commodity in the age of the novel coronavirus.

The coronavirus pandemic hasn’t exactly brought out the best in us. Whether it’s fighting in grocery stores over the last roll of toilet paper or ignoring orders to stay home and hanging out in crowded bars where the disease has a chance to spread even further, the general public hasn’t handled the crisis how we’d hoped. And over the weekend, the New York Times brought us the story of Matt Colvin, a Tennessee man who bought up 17,700 bottles of hand sanitizer so he could sell them for jacked-up prices on Amazon.

After Amazon cracked down on price gouging, he was stuck with a huge stockpile, and in a follow-up article, the Times revealed that Colvin has been publicly shamed into doing the right thing and donating the sanitizer to people who need it. On Sunday, two-thirds of his supply was handed over to volunteers from a local church who will distribute it to people in need in Tennessee, while the other third was taken by the Tennessee attorney general’s office, who will pass it off to their Kentucky counterparts to distribute in that state. (Colvin and his brother also bought up a bunch of hand sanitizer in Kentucky.)

The Tennessee attorney general’s office has also opened an investigation into Colvin, and he has been suspended as a seller on Amazon and eBay as well as evicted by the company he rented a storage unit from. But he insisted to the Times that he’s not a bad guy.

“It was never my intention to keep necessary medical supplies out of the hands of people who needed them,” he said. “That’s not who I am as a person. And all I’ve been told for the last 48 hours is how much of that person I am.”

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