What fool pays retail? The feds! According to the NYT's "Federal Agencies Often Paid Retail for Hurricane Aid".
While it concentrates on what they bought, it also contains the interesting info that just 20 DHS employees had those infamous charge cards with $250,000 limits:
Mr. Orluskie, of the Homeland Security Department, said that far from giving out purchase cards frivolously, FEMA limited them to just 20 employees, who have so far charged about $12 million in hurricane-related expenses.
As for the rest:
...there is a vast quantity of smaller purchases, made by an army of workers dispatched to the storm region, many carrying government credit cards. It was shopping on an epic scale - $66,632.37 for a single sale at a Wal-Mart store in La Place, La.; $129,568.40 spent in 195 trips to Home Depot outlets by workers of the Federal Emergency Management Agency; 3,000 sleeping bags bought from two sporting goods outlets for $60,639.61...
I paid around $200 for a sleeping bag, so that doesn't sound like such a bad price as long as they weren't just blankets with zippers or something.
Auditors will take years to assess the propriety of the spending, and its scale is so great that many purchases are unlikely ever to get close scrutiny. A review of financial records provided by FEMA and four other agencies, however, shows that the government often paid retail prices or more even for items bought in large quantities. At least one transaction appears to have been split up to avoid a ceiling of $250,000 on credit card purchases, a limit already increased a hundredfold for Hurricane Katrina from the usual $2,500.
On their face, the records, detailing $19 million worth of federal government purchase-card spending, reveal no pattern of outlandish spending. But there is often no way to tell whether purchases were necessary or whether the items were ever used. The bulging shopping baskets reflect the rush to meet the needs of desperate victims and the fact that other people's money is easy to spend...
Some eye-catching line items turn out to be understandable when details are known. The flip-flops and underwear were for evacuees, many of whom fled without extra clothing and used public showers for weeks, FEMA says, and Jockey International says it provided the underwear at or under the company's cost. It seems odd that Steve's Christmas Trees, a California company, got nearly $2 million from FEMA for "hurricane relief" - but a call reveals that the company is a well-established supplier of water trucks, portable showers and portable laundry units.