Netizens have defended a retail store caught selling overpriced masks after the reseller apologised.
According to Must Share News, 3 Stars, a Nee Soon retail store, was called out on Feb 8 by PAP MP Louis Ng after he paid the store a visit in order to confirm complaints by Nee Soon residents of masks being sold at unreasonably high prices. Mr Ng found the reports to be true, and posted a photo of himself holding a box of masks with the price of S$138 clearly written on it. In his post, he said, “Anyone can sell masks but no one should be profiteering. Retailers profiteering from the situation will be taken to task. MTI has been alerted and they will investigate.”
Among the comments directed at Mr Ng, one netizen by the name of Shannon Lim said, “It’s not a public servant’s place to tell private citizens what they can sell private property for. Nobody is forcing anyone to buy these masks.” Mr Lim explained that in order for Singapore to have a strong economy, “businesses must be allowed to make bad, potentially disastrous decisions.”
However, after cooperating with investigations conducted by the Ministry of Trade and Industry, 3 Stars issued an apology.
According to straitstimes.com, the retailer was able to show MTI proof that suppliers abroad have, in fact, increased the prices of face masks. Thus, though MTI said that it would monitor 3 Stars, it did not take further action.
Despite this, not all netizens sided with Mr Ng and the MTI. Two netizens in particular, took to the comments section of a Facebook post by Must Share News to voice out their side of the argument.
After a 2-week investigation, the Nee Soon retailer has apologised and lowered the price of its face masks.
One individual by the name of Kim Min expressed her uncertainty over who really deserves the blame–the shop or the shop’s suppliers. The other netizen, by the name of Panner Selvam asked, “If demand exceeds supply then is the retailer allowed to raise prices?” before using an analogy likening 3 Star’s situation to a coffee shop being allowed to raise its prices if the cost of operations went up.
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