Grocery store employees across the nation are going the extra mile to remain open and serve customers during the coronavirus pandemic. However, consumers are being asked to report any incidents of price gouging they may encounter.
From New York to Texas to Kansas and Missouri, authorities are monitoring reports of unscrupulous people taking advantage fo the crisis. That’s led to state attorneys general to step in.
In Missouri, Attorney General Eric Schmitt and the Missouri Grocers Association are working together to protect consumers. State Rep. Dan Shaul, R-Imperial, heads the 1,300-member association. He told the attorney general’s office last week that there will be upward price pressure on some commodities because of increased sales.
“We’re working together to make sure, one, to protect the consumers of the state, to make sure they’re getting a fair deal on their food,” Shaul said. “But also making sure that the businesses in Missouri aren’t subject to frivolous complaints.”
Shaul noted that egg prices are continuing to rise, and he expects some relief next week. He said the aim of the partnership with Schmitt’s office is to provide consumers with food at a reasonable price and to protect retailers from “bad actors.”
“Anytime you have a crisis like this, the majority of the grocery industry in Missouri is acting properly and doing what they can to meet the needs of the citizens of Missouri,” Shaul said.
He said the grocery industry is working tirelessly to serve their communities during the pandemic. Shaul said Missouri’s grocery workers and retailers have answered the call from Missourians for food. But he also agrees with Schmitt’s position that “there are a few bad actors that may cast Missouri’s hardworking grocers in a bad light.”
Gov. Mike Parson said many residents have seen empty grocery store shelves and emphasizes this is a demand issue, a supply one. Missouri’s food supply remains strong, he said, adding that the state’s farmers, ranchers and grocers are working hard to restock shelves quickly.
Consumers who see price gouging at their stores can call Schmitt’s office at (800) 392-8222.