Amazon Seller Matt Colvin for the NY Times


Amazon seller Matt Colvin poses for a portrait with a stock of cleaning and sanitizing supplies outside his garage in Chattanooga, Tenn. Colvin purchased hand sanitizer, masks and cleaning supplies to resell at a markup on Amazon, but he’s now unable to sell them on the marketplace as the online retailer cracks down on price gouging amid COVID-19 concerns.

When the COVID-19 pandemic was in its early states, Matt Colvin saw opportunity. Using his experience predicting consumer purchasing trends, the Amazon.com seller and his brother road-tripped across the Southeast, buying out stocks of hand sanitizer, cleaning supplies and N-95 masks from Wal Marts, grocery stores, and pharmacies to resell online for a profit. When online sales outlets like Amazon and eBay began to crack down on sellers price-gouging for what were deemed essential supplies, Colvin was suddenly left with a stockpile of pandemic safety goods and nowhere to sell them.  Photographed for the New York Times.

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