Price gouging. The sound of it offends. Price gouging. Unpleasant, isn't it?
When it comes to price gouging, the fastest protection for yourself is, of course, the direction of your purchases. These merchants must be put out of business. Do not buy their products. Everyone has an excuse, so let's keep it simple. Those who make extra profit let alone acceptable profit during a crisis are not nice people. Like vultures, doctors, who sniff increase in their personal luxuries, million-dollar homes in your suffering. It is the one and only focus of these words. Please stop giving them money. It only encourages other boorish behavior. When you do business with someone who does not merely project success, rising into the arena of vomitable excess, known in ancient times as bling, you encourage multiple layers of behavior that is inimical to one or more people. A local health food store is owned by a man who went and bought a Hummer, in urban surroundings. I'd go very hungry indeed if he was the world's only source of some good items, because he will never see the front or back of the dollars in my pocket.
Everyone is entitled to a day's wage for a day's labor. Who gave permission to make it a thousand days' pay for a day's labor?
Do you remember when your local pizza parlor was owned by a man who worked long hard hours and worked his way up a notch or three on the ladder of life? Today, the idea is to get rich without having to actually work that hard or much, with other people doing most of the work and instead of a reasonable profit, any opportunity to gouge is okay because "nobody's going to feel it." Today, you pay more per slice than it costs that pizza parlor to make and bake the whole pie. Without disputing fair health claims that cheese not only clogs the liver and takes many hours to begin to pass or process, the need to suppress greed is how you protect yourself from getting gouged. It's how you protect people that are important to you from being financially damaged again and again, needlessly. What a rare opportunity, for average citizens to have so much power. It's the power of the dollar, dummy. Your dollar. Your power. Stop spending money on nationally-advertised products. Why are you continuing to pay for advertising and insane executive sales packages? This is not about the American worker, who no longer has a piece of the pie that the entrepeneur helps them bring in? Instead of sharing, a supermajority of money is flowing uphill. That's not good for the wealthy, not by any examination of repeated history.
With forty-six million Americans living in sufficient poverty where they work or they don't work and either way have no idea where next month's rent is coming from, it means the food chain itself is being disturbed. You can't have forty-six million hungry people in America and not think that pressure doesn't build. It's mindlessly ignorant of even recent history. In fact, no one has yet seen an exception: when the majority of money rolls uphill, pressure continues to build, and pressure does not go away. Energy does not dissipate into nothing, energy does not and cannot disappear. All pressure, and all energy, always and without exception end up somewhere else. Knowing this in advance empowers you to take advantage of it, to profit from it, to make things better on a mutual basis rather than a stingy, unilateral foundation of activity.
Never before in American history has the consumer had such power. The one thing that makes this power possible and instantly useful, is the advent of our instant communications, across the breadth of a nation.
Stop purchasing nationally-advertised goods. They are a definitive form of price gouging. Those who engage in price-gouging end up costing everyone else just to benefit a tiny few. The people who gouge prices cannot and will not be stopped until you stop them, because you're the only ones who can stop people engaged in price gouging from getting away with such unreasonable profit-taking.
Good humans, decent folk, are unwilling to pay less with so much blood and suffering attached. It just does not compute in the moral mind. The best thing about conscience is that it's usually right. Spend your money locally, thoughtfully. It comes back to you in more ways than one.