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Old September 13, 2001, 05:17 AM
Simon Latouche
 
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Default Scavengers And Profiteers On Ebay. Tragedy Is Not For Sale.

I sincerely hope the story that follows will help us recognize a vital distinction between the entrepreneurial spirit and scavenger's smell, between honest profitable business and ugly profiteering.

Simon

----begin story---

EBay Cancels Auctions of Attack-Related Items.

By P.J. HUFFSTUTTER and CHRISTINE FREY, LA TIMES STAFF WRITERS
Online auctioneer EBay Inc. canceled all sales of debris and memorabilia tied to the World Trade Center attack after more than 180 items were put up for bid within hours of the calamity.
Scavengers on Tuesday offered such items as videotape footage of the towers collapsing, photos of the doomed plane slamming into the buildings and colorful promotional posters of a complete New York skyline.
EBay officials said they had expected such auctions to occur, and immediately began searching--and blocking--all sales once news of the tragedy hit. "There have been a number of events, whether the passing of Joe DiMaggio or Charles Schulz, where people have done the same thing," EBay spokesman Kevin Pursglove said. "But clearly, we've never been through a situation like this."
The crisis sparked a morbid shopping spree among some New Yorkers and tourists, who scoured the broken glass and dust-covered concrete that fills the New York financial district.
Darren Jacobs sobbed as he stood down the street from the carcass of the World Trade Center's north tower, where several of his friends worked at a law firm. Rubbing the dust and tears from his eyes, he watched in shock as dozens of people snapped photographs of the devastation and snatched chunks of rubble.
"I didn't understand what they were doing until I asked one man," said Jacobs, 42, a financial analyst. "He told me that he wanted to sell the stuff on EBay. I couldn't believe it. It made me so angry, I slugged him."
The scavenger wasn't alone. At a Duane Reade drugstore in Chinatown north of the financial district, shoppers wanting to capture the sight of the burning buildings rushed to buy cameras. Paperweights and postcards featuring the World Trade Center's twin towers were in hot demand.

---end story---
 


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