One of the biggest stories in Maine last week that is tied to the coronavirus outbreak was the sudden shortage of toilet paper in stores throughout the state. People were apparently buying large quantities of paper products, leaving those that didn't immediately go shopping to find another way to acquire the item. But if you spent some time on social media over the weekend, you may have come across some concerning posts. Posts that showed some smaller places offering up rolls of toilet paper for sale and marking the price WAY up. That's called price gouging and it is 100% illegal in Maine.

Shared on Twitter by Ms. Curd, this sign was seen at a business in Portland over the weekend. If you're having a hard time reading the sign, it says $10 dollars PER ROLL of toilet paper. Yes, per roll. The store in question claims that the sign was meant to be taken as dark humor and that the rolls of toilet paper were sold at a regular retail price. While we all may need a laugh or two in times like these, most people who saw the sign didn't think it was terribly funny.

More Price Gouging

That insane markup wasn't relegated to businesses either. An individual passed along a photo of someone in Kennebunkport who was spotted selling maple syrup roadside for market price while simultaneously selling rolls of toilet paper for $5 per roll. These are instances of exactly why price gouging laws were put into place, especially when an "abnormal disruption" of supply is incurred. The laws is explained here.

These examples aren't meant to shame the businesses or individuals that may not have realized the law even existed. Instead, it's a reminder that you should not be drastically overpaying for items you need, especially when supplies seem to running low. Be smart, be diligent and know that we're all in this together.


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