Black market for road salt

Enterprising Metro Vancouver residents are cashing in – or trying to – on the city's icy street crisis.

The city brought in shipments of road salt this week and offered free pickup of two buckets worth at 10 firehalls across Vancouver.

The move was in response to unseasonably cold weather following a heavy dump of snow. 

The usually balmy winters in Vancouver mean the city is ill equipped to deal with snow removal, and the cold snap left many side roads more like skating rinks than roadways. Indeed, social media lit up with photos of people donning skates and playing hockey on city streets.

Vancouverites lined up by the hundreds to get the free salt, and CTV reported this week that one resident pulled up with a truck and filled garbage bins with the de-icer. Fights even broke out among people scrambling to get their share.

The city ran out of salt within hours, though more was ordered.

More snow is expected this weekend, making salt a hot commodity at hardware stores. Many are reportedly sold out.

But, those who have the product are now selling it on Craigslist for many times its retail value.

One Craigslist ad offered salt for $80 a bag.

There are dozens more ads selling salt that retails for about $5 a bag for $10, all the way up to $200.

It's impossible to tell if people are re-selling the free salt the city has given out, but the move has social media critics blasting the "entrepreneurs" for cashing in on the situation.

"Vancouver economics... wait six hours for free stuff, spend $10 on gas and sell on Craigslist for $50. Nothing but profit!" griped Facebook poster Jerry Willows.

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