Best Buy says a case of bottled water being sold for $42.96 near Houston – a region hit by the strongest hurricane in more than a decade, Hurricane Harvey – was a mistake.
A photo showing the bottles at the Cypress store was shared by Ken Klippenstein on Twitter Tuesday:
Klippenstein, a Madison-based reporter, wrote about how it was one of the many reported examples of price-gouging happening following Hurricane Harvey.
His photo and story got the attention of just about everyone, mainly for negative reasons, prompting Best Buy to issue a statement Wednesday morning.
"This was clearly a mistake on the part of a few employees at a single store on Friday, Aug. 25. We feel terrible about this because, as a company, we are focused on helping, not hurting people affected by this terrible event," it reads.
The statement goes on to offer an explanation: the store doesn't regularly sell full cases, and there's no such pricing option built into the system. So the employees priced the entire case based on the cost of a single bottle multiplied by the number of bottles in a case (24).
That resulted in "a number that is far, far higher than a normal price for a case of water," Best Buy says.
This was a possibility a few Twitter users pointed out.
So if a single bottle is normally $1.79, the store appears to have priced the case of 24 as $1.79x24 – which equals $42.96.
Either way, Best Buy says: "We are all deeply sorry that we gave anyone even the momentary impression that we were trying to take advantage of the situation."
The retailer, by the way, has closed 29 stores in Texas due to Harvey, the Business Journals reported.