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If I may tack on one other observation, it's the sad attempts by companies to try to profit from the pandemic while looking altruistic:

https://twitter.com/nkozyra/status/1263106625335734273

It's a weird statement on where modern startup/retail is.






I don't know, what are companies supposed to do, not sell facemasks? That doesn't help either.

It's not that they're [selling facemasks] they're doing so at incredible markup, encouraging and incentivizing sellers to create even more markup.

Should we also be condemning our local gastropub for charging $15 for a burger? Shouldn't they be charging the same as White Castle? People gotta eat after all.

These are customized. I mean, if this were the only company selling facemasks, sure, $15 is a lot. But for somebody who wants to jazz up their facemask, maybe $15 makes sense. I'm not interested in that but maybe somebody is.


$15 is the starting price, affiliates can charge what they like.

If burgers were a thing people could use in a pandemic to reduce transmission and they let affiliates put a design on the bun and upcharge to get a sliver of profit I think this might be a fair analog.

I dunno, I think this is a missed opportunity for some good pr, or at least not look like they're exploiting a crisis even further.


But, again, it's not like this is the only company selling masks. It's not price gouging if there are tons of lower cost alternatives. They're offering an upgraded experience, some people are going to want that, and that's ok.

That's not how economics works.

If I were complaining about price gouging in a hurricane and you came strolling around and told me "hey, that's how economics works" I'd say you missed the point entirely.

In other words, my issue isn't with the mechanics of capitalism.


There's been a lot of press about delivery services gouging restaurants now that a majority of them are being forced to use them.

I did see the other day Chipolte is doing their own delivery service now which is awesome. Not sure why more places ditch Grubhub and Doordash and just have their own in house delivery service. It's so much cheaper than outsourcing to companies who've been gouging restaurants and the consumer.


There will be an equilibrium between these things, and it's not necessarily just “gouging” if delivery services increase prices, given that the actual supply of drivers (as has been reported here before) is strained.

Basically contract delivery services have a premium to begin with, to take the delivery business off your hands. If you have dramatically more orders per day, it can actually make sense to have your own delivery people; especially since your managers have all the time in the world to focus on delivery now that your dine-in is closed or restricted.


Even if you have a high order volume, a delivery service should still have more deliveries near a given destination and be able to improve margins by grouping those together for delivery.

I may be the only person in my apartment complex ordering Chipotle for dinner tonight, but there are going to be several others ordering something.


That is a common assumption for people to make about delivery services, but it is not that correct with prepared food delivery, where it is unlikely that you will line up even two pickups without compromising the freshness/hotness of at least one of the orders; often this is difficult even if both of the pickups are from the same establishment.

Now, unlikely and difficult don't mean impossible but there's more to it than meets the eye.


Chipotle uses DoorDash behind the scenes

There are tons of examples of this (my local car dealership is running a deal on getting your car detailed right now). It seems odd that you picked probably the least egregious example possible, a company selling face masks.

Again, it's not a company selling face masks. If they did that, just said "here's our face masks for sale" it would be great.

Instead, it's a platform that incentivizes affiliates to markup face masks. Like, there's no value add here.




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