My colleague, Nathan L. Phipps, wrote an excellent overview of price gouging with regards to the COVID-19 pandemic. I tasked myself with delivering my own take, this one in the form of a song: “Price Gouging Blues.”

Famously, in a landmark 1964 U.S. Supreme Court obscenity case, Justice Potter Stewart avoided the question of clearly defining “obscenity” by stating: “I know it when I see it.” The same can be said about the difficulty in defining price gouging.

What’s a pricing strategist to do? Play it safe when it comes to legal and ethical boundaries. Focus on the customer; focus on long-term value.

Listen to “Price Gouging Blues” here.

The annotated lyrics are below:

No one likes paying high prices
Or seeing goods off the shelf
But when a price increase becomes gouging
You better ask yourself

The Feds throw up their hands
The states can’t agree
When to intervene or when to call
A price hike “ gross disparity

Like Stewart said I know it when I see it
Maybe that’s all we can say
Keep your eye on the horizon
And things will go your way

Let’s get back to basic economics
High price means insufficient supply
It’s signaling a preferable deployment of scarce resources
So other folks can give it a try

But that concept breaks down
With patents and production demands
And what constitutes a fair price increase is subjective
To every child, woman, and man

Like Stewart said I know it when I see it
Maybe that’s all we can say
Keep your eye on the horizon
And things will go your way

Opportunists will scam
But incentives drive platforms to police
And any businesses that want to live to see tomorrow
Should keep their fans from feeling fleeced

So you can hoard sanitizer
Become the next Pharma Bro
But you’re risking seizure, prison, fines, becoming a pariah
With value, you reap what you sow

Like Stewart said I know it when I see it
Maybe that’s all we can say
Keep your eye on the horizon
And things will go your way

Originally published at https://wiglafjournal.com.

Manager at Wiglaf Pricing

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