29 June 2021

Anger after supermarket 'mistakenly' triples price of face masks

| Dominic Giannini
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Face mask prices

Supabarn Kingston was slammed on social media for apparently price-gauging as mask restrictions came into effects. Photo: Reddit.

Angry Canberrans have reacted swiftly after a photo taken at Supabarn Kingston surfaced on social media showing packs of disposable face masks selling for $119.99 – three times the usual Supabarn price.

The picture came to light on the same day masks were made mandatory when out in the ACT community for the first time since the pandemic began.

The price increase seems to have been across the supermarket chain, not just at Kingston. Supabarn took to social media to apologise for the “mistake”.

READ MORE Canberrans told to reconsider interstate travel

“A system error occurred yesterday with the software that we are currently using and the software failed to update the pricing for this product from $119.99 down to $39.99 per pack,” the post said.

“We have already started refunding customers yesterday and today on this product. If you have purchased a pack of 50 masks for $119.99 please come back to our store and get your entitled partial refund.

“Thank you for [your] patience and understanding. We hope you still support local and visit us.”

Chief Minister Andrew Barr has warned Canberrans against panic buying as images of empty toilet paper aisles have begun to resurface.

Toilet paper aisle

That didn’t take long: the toilet paper aisle at Coles Wanniassa an hour after the mask mandate was announced on Sunday. Photo: David Murtagh.

“The supply lines are strong … I remind people that you can get masks, particularly ones that are reusable, from literally dozens of retailers from supermarkets, chemists, department stores, to hardware stores and fashion outlets,” he said.

“As I look around, I see some stylish ones! There are craft mask makers as well, so there is an opportunity to get a mask in a variety of different settings.”

For information on the ACT mask policy, visit ACT Health.

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Mistake – yeah sure! That’s why the single mask price next to it is also similarly high. Same mistake just happened to occur twice. How random?

HiddenDragon7:45 pm 29 Jun 21

These increases would have been off an already high base – masks bought to deal with smoke from the fires of 2019/20 were one tenth the price being asked by the same retailer (not the one mentioned in this story, but another multi-outlet business) after the virus hit later in 2020.

When I worked in Retail if an item was advertised for the wrong price and someone complained, they got it for free.

This is a bit different as the price wasn’t advertised. It was the shelf price. Price gouging caught our pure and simple.

Yep, a mistake alright – a mistake that they got caught price gauging

A systems error? Reminds me of when I worked in Treasury on election night 1983 shredding documents and when Paul Keating wanted to see details about the budget deficit we told him that the computer had lost them.

Baaahahahahahhhh … (cough)garbage!!

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