Best Buy Responds After Selling $43 Bottled Water to Houston Victims

After a Houston-area Best Buy location was spotted price gouging victims of flooding from tropical storm Harvey, the major electronics chain issued an apology for the scornful incident.

The retailer was inundated on social media with complaints after the Houston store in question was selling cases of bottled water for more than $42 (and another brand was offered for $29).

“This was a big mistake on the part of a few employees at one store on Friday,” a Best Buy spokesman said in a statement. “As a company we are focused on helping, not hurting affected people. We’re sorry and it won’t happen again.”

The company tried to explain away the incident as employee error by saying staff priced each case according to an individual bottle and not the wholesale price.

“Not as an excuse but as an explanation, we don’t typically sell cases of water. The mistake was made when employees priced a case of water using the single-bottle price for each bottle in the case,” Best Buy said in the statement to media.

Amid widespread reports of price gouging for things like water, fuel, hotel beds and other necessities, the incident and store were swiftly condemned. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has promised a crackdown on price gouging during and after the storm. There is no word yet on whether his office will be taking action against Best Buy.

The company issued the apology after the original story by freelancer writer Ken Klippenstein went viral on Tuesday afternoon.

Others noted that the apology only happened because of the quick work of social media users and reporters, and that low-level employees would not have put up an unauthorized sign.

After the image of Best Buy’s water prices spread across social media and the news, the company’s stock fell 11 percent, The Raw Story reported.