San Francisco Uber driver distributing filter masks to passengers

How is this “gouging”? He didn’t have to offer the masks. If you dont want to buy it, dont buy it. If the price is too high, he wont sell any and he’ll reduce the price.

A bottle of water on a hot summer day that costs $0.02 and sells for $2. That’s gouging.


Price gouging? No more than a $5 coffee or a $12 cocktail at a bar is price gouging or the guys who charge you $25 to help you with tire chains. “Here’s a thing. You could buy it somewhere else for less if you planned ahead, or choose to do without. I am providing this for you in a way that’s convenient to you. Pay me more. Or don’t.”


Contrary to popular belief, no one actually needs coffee or alcohol to live.

Breathable air on the other hand…

I’m not saying the driver in question is automatically a bad person for his or her opportunism, but by ‘upcharging’ for the “convenience,” he or she is totally being opportunistic.




Is… is this a joke? I honestly can’t tell.

In case you’re serious: selling something for more than the usual cost during a disaster is the definition of price gouging. The whole point is that most stores are sold out so selling them for 5 bucks when they’d normally be ~2 is price gouging.

The difference is that this is an emergency situation. You’re free to upcharge for a coke. In fact, you can retain your inflated coke prices during a disaster if they were present before the disaster.

What is illegal is to drastically increase the price of a nessecity during an emergency. Raising the price more than 10% is illegal:


Is this a joke? I honestly can’t tell.

Your alternative is: he doesn’t sell the airmask. Yes, what a simple solution.

$5 is not a lot of money. His entrepreneurial actions are the equivalent of selling high-priced water on a hot day, or umbrellas when it’s raining.

If you don’t like it, you go drive your Uber for $7/hour and you sell your masks at cost.

No it is not. If it were, the occupant of the Uber would not be getting in the car in the first place. You cannot compare actual price-gouging of gas stations to the Uber driver.

And that’s good that you cite the law, so that you can more easily realize that, legally and factually, you are incorrect.

Is this a joke? I honestly can’t tell.

How did the customer make it to the Uber without the mask in the first place?
How did the customer expect to “survive” without the mask after arriving at his destination, assuming the Uber driver did not happen to be selling masks?

What is illegal is to drastically increase the price of a necessity during an emergency.

I agree. I just don’t agree that selling singleton masks as a sideline in an Uber when the air is occluded is the same as a gas station hiking the price sky-high during a natural disaster.

I’m not sure how else I can make it clear to you that selling masks at a 5x markup during an emergency is price gouging - I linked to a source showing that marking up more than 10% is illegal during an emergency, so I’m going to stop trying. Please leave me alone.

Anti-gouging statutes are, functionally, pro-hoarding statutes. Hoarding keeps stuff in the hands of people that aren’t using it. I, for one – in an emergency, would rather put $300 of gas on my credit card if it’s going for $20/gallon than do without gasoline at all. Odds are, in fact, I’d probably only buy three or four gallons, not a full tank, but if there’s a supply uncertainty and no price increase to go with it (often well more than 10%), you all but guarantee hoarding. This is bad.

Before I even read the rest of that long-winded, needlessly condescending defense of some total stranger’s opportunism; do you live in the Bay Area?


No one needs potable water to live either. Contaminated water will almost certainly not kill you immediately.


Mustard Gas and Phosgene are both breathable, in the literal “this is a gas you can inhale into your lungs” sense. But I wouldn’t recommend that, either.


As someone who is actually directly impacted by this, I can say that the air quality isn’t quite as bad as all that.

But it still ain’t ‘good’, and people are getting sick.

Bottom line:

Opportunism in the face of a health emergency is not a sign of a decent human being IMO… and that opinion about isn’t about to change, no matter how anyone else feels about it.


I vote for you to be the canary.



I don’t but remember what Seattle was like just a few months ago. It was goddamn unhealthy to be outside and if I wasn’t an idiot I would have got my self a mask as I walk about three miles as part of my commute.




And I remember how sick both my daughter and I got last year the week after the wine country fires.

You bet your bippy I was more proactive this time around; we’ve both been wearing masks whenever we go outdoors.

I’m just very keen to know if the gentleposter who came at me like he has some sort of personal vested interest in the welfare of the aforementioned Uber driver is actually living locally in an area that’s badly impacted by all the smoke and ash.


I had family left homeless by those fires. I’m very glad you’re staying safe, and any other of our NoCal members.


Thanks; that’s most appreciated. I’m sorry about your folks.


Thank you. Everyone made it out alive; that’s the important thing.