After eBay disallowed hand-sanitizer sales, Del Zio switched his operation over to Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace, where new listings are going up every hour. (Craigslist did not respond to a request for comment about whether it was considering any bans on sanitizer sales.) Del Zio said he doesn’t feel moral qualms about charging online buyers 17 times what he paid for a bottle of Purell because he doesn’t consider it to be an essential supply. “I’ve always washed my hands and used hand sanitizer wherever I went,” he said, but added that he doesn’t think sanitizer is going to protect anyone from the coronavirus—you touch your phone and your keys and the subway railings, and you can’t soak your hands in Germ-X all day long. In 2012, after Hurricane Sandy caused gas shortages and power outages on Long Island, Del Zio remembers neighbors paying $25 a gallon for gasoline for their generators. Now he said he knows people who fill up jugs of gasoline every time there’s a particularly gnarly-sounding forecast—both to prepare for their own needs and to sell at a markup. This kind of strategizing is just good sense in general, in his opinion. In any case, he gave some of the sanitizer away to his family and to friends of his elderly mother, who couldn’t get to the store themselves…

Densely populated areas like New York have had trouble keeping hand sanitizer in stock for the past week, so the “For Sale” categories on local Craigslist pages have started to look like super-expensive sanitation-themed yard sales. In New York, single eight-ounce bottles of Purell are listed for as much as $25 apiece. A listing from Brooklyn advertises 78 bottles of industrial sanitizer for $750, while a California man is offering to ship 25 single-ounce bottles to New York for $150—which works out to $6 an ounce. “Fight the COVID-19 with easy [sic] and protect yourself and your love ones [sic],” a listing in Queens reads. It also suggests that the buyer use a contactless form of payment, as cash is a vector of disease.