Not only were people buying towels at Walmart, the Wall Street Journal's Tom Gara found that customers were turning violent to buy inexpensive ones.
There's a lesson in behavioural economics in here for the financial economists to pay attention to.
For those who aren't well-heeled, the free market isn't about adding value and improving quality; it's about getting more for less. When the pie is limited, people are triggered to put their own interests first - it's the same in buying towels as it is squeezing onto a subway car.
Regulation doesn't impede creativity, it sets parameters for social engagement. Yes, rules can be too onerous, but that's why we have a legal framework that empowers trained, authorized people to carry out its enforcement.
When you take away the rules, reduce opportunity and push people to compete, you don't get a race to the top, you get a spiral to the bottom. Throw guns into the mix and it gets even worse.