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Store boss flips off coronavirus hoarder asking for $10K toilet paper refund

John Paul Drake describes panic buying at his supermarket in Adelaide, Australia, in this still image from video on Apr. 7, 2020.
John Paul Drake describes panic buying at his supermarket in Adelaide, Australia, in this still image from video on Apr. 7, 2020. JP Drake/YouTube

A grocery store manager in Australia says he flatly refused to give a coronavirus hoarder a refund, after the shopper tried to return more than $10,000 Australian ($8,900 Canadian) worth of toilet paper and other supplies that he’d stockpiled to sell online.

John-Paul Drake, who runs Drakes supermarket in Adelaide, says he gave the customer the middle finger after the man tried to return approximately 5,000 rolls of toilet paper and 150 one-litre bottles of hand sanitizer earlier this month.

READ MORE: ‘Pizza groundhog’ enjoys a slice outside home under coronavirus lockdown

Drake says the man was a profiteer who’d been trying to sell the in-demand items online during the pandemic. He went back for a refund after eBay refused to let him sell the items at a steep markup.

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“I told him that that is the sort of person who is causing the problem in the whole country,” Drake said in a weekly video update posted on YouTube.

Drake told Australia’s ABC News that the shopper used a team of 20 buyers to snap up $10,000 worth of toilet paper when the crisis started.

“In that conversation [he said], ‘my eBay site has been shut down, so we couldn’t profiteer off that,'” Drake told ABC.
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“That is the sort of person that is causing the problem in the whole country,” he added in his video.

Coronavirus around the world: April 16, 2020
Coronavirus around the world: April 16, 2020

Australia went through an intense period of panicked toilet paper-buying in early March, when fears of the COVID-19 were ramping up worldwide.

READ MORE: Toilet paper panic: Fear, fights and memes spreading faster than coronavirus

“We have had some staggering statistics,” Drake said in his video. He says the store sold eight months’ worth of toilet paper in about four weeks, and a year’s supply of flour in nine days.

“If everyone had just bought the things that they’d needed for their immediate short term, we would be fine,” Drake said.

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“The whole world is in the same boat.”

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

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