South Side Grocery Store Accused of Price Gouging During the Coronavirus Pandemic

click to enlarge GOOGLE MAPS / THRIFT T MART
Google Maps / Thrift T Mart
The San Antonio Police Department is investigating a grocery store on San Antonio's South Side for price-gouging, according to KSAT.

In response to KSAT's tweet requesting reports of price-gouging, @reneedward79 tweeted a screenshot from Facebook that showed signs marking increased prices for milk, eggs and bottled water, as well as limits of one unit per person, at the Thrift-T-Mart at the corner of Zarzamora Street and W. Mayfield Boulevard.

Twtiter / reneedward79
Store owner Juan Canedo denied the allegations.

“I see the desperation in people. I see that they’re scared,” he told KSAT. He said wanted to make sure customers had what they needed. “That was very hurtful because all we try to do is take care of our customers.”

Canedo explained that the store was unable to rely on traditional vendors to stock some items and he had to find an alternative to keep business going. The single roll of toilet paper was priced at $3.79 because it's the industrial-sized type you find in public bathrooms. Canedo's attorney claims that the store's retail margins have remained the same.

Texas law punishes offenders who charge “exorbitant” or “excessive” prices during states of nationwide or state-wide emergency, but doesn't designate an exact amount of increase that is unacceptable. Flagrant violations of anti-price gouging laws with regard to bottles of hand-sanitizer, for instance, have resulted in thousands of complaints to attorneys general and consumer protection agencies nationwide.

Canedo has put up handwritten signs apologizing for the inconvenience.

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