A Market Harborough chemist’s has insisted they’re not “ripping off” customers as prices for hand sanitiser rise dramatically.
Mistrys Pharmacy was slammed by a furious local shopper for charging him £30 for a 500ml bottle of hand gel costing them £20.
But the well-established High Street shop in Harborough has fired back as the coronavirus pandemic turns normal life upside down.
Shanti Mistry, who set up the popular chemist’s in 1980, told the Harborough Mail: “We are not ripping anyone off.
“Market Harborough has been very good to me over the years and served me well.
“We will always do our best for our loyal army of customers – especially in these difficult times.”
He spoke after an outraged shopper contacted the Mail to complain.
The angry protester said: “I paid £30 for a 500ml bottle of Senses hand sanitising gel at Mistrys.
“They say it cost them £22 to buy it in.
“Someone is cashing in and it’s not fair.
“I wonder if this is happening elsewhere?”
But Mr Mistry retorted: “I actually paid £20 for this product and was selling it for £30.
“I ordered 50 and they went within a day.
“But take out 20 per cent VAT and I’m making barely a fiver on every one.
“If I wanted to seriously cash in then I’d be charging £40 or £50 a unit not £30.”
The veteran Harborough shopkeeper said he was battling to fulfil rocketing demand for hygiene and cleaning products.
But he said that face value wholesaler “prices are shooting up”.
“I ordered 500 little bottles of gel from a supplier and agreed a price of £3.95 a bottle.
“The next day they refused to send them to me and said they had shot up to £6 each,” said Mr Mistry.
“It’s like something out of the black market.
“We have to make a snap decision whether we are going to buy or not.
“But we are doing our best to provide the people of Market Harborough with a vital service.
“We are going to the cash and carry in Northampton every night to restock as supplies are selling out that fast.”
He stressed local people are still getting a fair deal across the counter as they are “maintaining their normal margins” of profit.
“I’ve been here on the High Street serving local people for 40 years.
“I’m well known in Harborough and we have an excellent reputation to uphold,” said Mr Mistry.
“People have been very civil and understanding in these challenging times.
“We are now being forced to ration certain items – such as restricting shoppers to one packet of paracetamol each.
“But we are here in Market Harborough for the long haul.
“We will continue to do our best for customers who have come to value our service over many years.”