This morning on the ferry into work I ran into Luciano, an industrious Washington resident who is taking advantage of hand-sanitizer shortages to make some serious cash. Here's a transcript of our chat, which has been edited for clarity and length.
What are you doing?
I'm a single dad and the other day I went to stock up on stuff and I noticed that hand-sanitizer is gone everywhere. I've always been a DIY person and I realized people are charging like $60 for this stuff online. What I made is 80 percent rubbing alcohol, 20 percent aloe vera juice and aloe gel. That's basically it. I didn't put any fragrance in it or anything. I really don't want to price-gouge. I'm charging $10. I know this is $5 more than it is in the store, but it's $50 less than it is online.
Pretty good. I sold about 60 of them yesterday. In all, I've made about $1,000. I was planning on going to Hobby Lobby and getting a bunch more bottles later today.
Are they hassling you on the ferry?
No, because I'm not soliciting. I'm just walking around. If someone wants one and asks, that's fine, but I'm not bothering people.
Have you been on the streets at all?
Yeah, I was in Seattle yesterday. I walked over to 6th Ave and people were scooping them up. I was up in Skagit yesterday, too. And then in Marysville. So I've been moving around, trying to stay on top of it. I see a lot of people basing their information on what's happening in this country and not outside of it, like Iran, China, South Korea. I do have a conspiracy theory that I don't like to share because I don't want people to panic.
What's the theory?
[At this point, Luciano told me his theory, which I was unable to verify and so won't repeat it, but let's just say it has something to do with Chinese ghost villages.]
How do you feel about the Trump administration's response to this?
I did vote for Trump but this time I think he's lying. He lied at the very first presser about the virus and then two days later came back and recanted and said it's more serious. I do think this is going to affect voting. I feel like we're going to find out a lot more in a few weeks that the administration has been lying.
What about the Democrats?
I liked Amy Klobuchar. I thought she was a good speaker. I think the stage might have been too big for her at first but she was always smart, articulate, she always had a plan and she had a lot of experience. I liked her the most.
How do you feel about Bernie Sanders?
I'm not a supporter. My parents ran from Cuba and my grandparents were shot because they opposed Castro and supported Batista so it's really hard for me to support him. But I do believe that our healthcare system is in shambles and it's just going to get worse. We're about a month behind on the data for this virus. There's only one person on this boat with sanitizer on their table and I think we're going to find out that our healthcare system can't handle this.
So do you think you'll end up voting for Trump again?
My 401K has been doing pretty well. I was selling cars, making about $120,000 to $160,000 a year and now I'm switching over to real estate so I should be making between $200,000 and $400,000. So, based on the economy, I would vote for him again. Based on decorum and what he says in public, I probably wouldn't.
Do you think he's racist?
I don't. I know it may seem like that, but I just don't believe it. He's about money.
Where do you get your news?
I do everything international. I don't follow CNN, I follow CNN International. Bloomberg China is one that I follow. Der Spiegel from Germany. And I follow prominent scientists and biotech reporters and as soon as they say something, I go cross-reference it on Google. I've been pretty aggressively following the news on coronavirus. I'm from Florida and I have friends and family there and it's just like waiting for a hurricane. You listen to reports, you look at the map, and then you prepare.
With that, the boat docked up, Luciano and I bumped elbows, and we each headed on our way, me to the office, and him into the city, armed with gloves, a face mask, and $10 bottles of hand sanitizer for sale for anyone who wants it.