Ebola: Horrible for People, Great for Business

Dallasites like to shop. We really, really like to shop. So when one of the world's deadliest viruses appears within the confines of our city, we do what comes naturally. We buy things.

Several emergency equipment suppliers say now that sales of hazmat suits were through the roof last week. CNBC reports that Amazon experienced a jump of 131,000 percent for full-body suits, and an 18,000 percent gain for masks, by Wednesday of last week. (The report didn't have actual sales figures.)

Amber Ledo is a spokesperson for SafeCastle, a California-based emergency personal equipment supplier. She says company sales have more than quadrupled in the last week, and many of those items are being shipped to Dallas buyers.

"Some people like to have extra food on hand, say if there's a natural disaster," she says. "And other people like to prepare for situations like if Dallas turns into Liberia. They want to be able to care for themselves and not rely on the government for help."

The most popular items being sold by the company are masks, gloves, coverall suits and decontamination kits. In fact, Ledo says the company has sold out of coverall suits for the moment. They typically service around 9,000 customers annually, and expect to far exceed that number this year.

"I feel like people just feel comfortable and safe knowing that they have what they need if it comes down to it," says Ledo. "They'd rather have their masks now than have wait for something to go on back order."

But we all know how hideous those plastic full body suits can be. The more fashionable conspiracy theorists out there can also buy some accessories, arts, and crafts to get them through the Ebola crisis.

Etsy offers a delectable plethora of Ebola-themed goods: You can sew an Ebola cross-stitch to occupy your time while quarantined. Accessorize your hazmat suit with these lovely earrings. And you can alert the world to your hemorrhagic condition -- while showing off that taut stomach of yours -- with this trendy crop top.

No one does viral epidemics quite like Dallas.

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Emily Mathis

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