Is This Price Gouging?

2000 watt camping generators are advertised at Aldi for about $150.  That got me thinking about ways to evade price gouging laws in Gulf Coast states.  Rather than speculate, I sent the following email to Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum via his website:


This is not a complaint.  I hope you can assist me with an example I want to do in the Economics 100 class I teach at Rhodes College.  Recently, 2000-watt camping generators have been advertised at a Memphis Aldi for $150.  Suppose I purchased their stock of generators at the retail price and then advertised them in Florida newspapers for $1000 each for the next several months.  If Florida is hit by a hurricane, I would then mark down the generators to $750 each—a 25% discount compared to my original $1000 per generator asking price.  Would I run afoul of Florida’s price gouging laws by offering the generators at a 25% discount relative to my original asking price?  Thank you for your time and consideration.

Kindest regards,

Art Carden
Assistant Professor of Economics and Business
Rhodes College
Memphis, TN

Cross-posted at Division of Labour.  I’ll blog his office’s response if they will give me permission.

Art Carden is a Research Fellow at the Independent Institute in Oakland, California, Associate Professor of Economics and Business at Rhodes College.
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