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What About This…? 1.7.2016

By Wayne William Cipriano

I was listening to the radio on my way into town the other day. I heard a commercial that really made me laugh.

It was difficult to understand exactly who paid for the commercial but it was all about the purchase of counterfeit goods. The thrust of the commercial was not the immorality of helping a counterfeiter steal prof­its from a legitimate manufacturer but a warning as to who the coun­terfeiter might be and what their ill-gotten gains might finance. The warning specifically mentioned gangs that use counterfeit goods profits to support illegal behavior like drug trafficking.

We all know that counterfeits are everywhere from aircraft repair parts to baseball caps, some much more important than others.

For some reason, counterfeit purses jumped into my mind, possibly because Rosalie was speaking about them recently. I could not get the image of a bunch of biker gang members or street gang homeboys in a mall parking lot surrounded by piles of knock-off Gucci purses as they try to flog them to some unsuspecting suburban matrons.

Of course, counterfeit medical supplies especially drugs, automotive repair parts, food products can be a lot more dangerous than fake purses or shoes. If I am in a hospital, or a car driving down the interstate, or eating at a restaurant, I want all the products used to be the real thing. And, I hope there are regulatory bodies that assure that such is the case. However, I understand that there are some goods sold purely on the basis of snob appeal.

A very expensive Rolex wristwatch that is counterfeit and sold for $50 looks right and will keep time for a while. Not as accurately as a Rolex? Maybe not, but if it is accuracy that you want go to a local retailer and pick up a battery-powered quartz watch for $25, or go to the a discount store and get one for a buck.

Shoes, purses, jewelry might be better made and last longer or shine brighter but for the most part paying $500 for a pair of shoes or a purse is difficult to justify on the basis of merchandise quality. Once a product serves the purpose for which it was produced and does so for a reasonable amount of time, spending multiples of the purchase price to own a similar product with an impressive label provides all the snob appeal counterfeiters need to thrive.

It used to be a joke when someone dressed so haphazardly that the labels of their clothes showed. (Remember the price tag hanging on Minnie Pearl’s hat?). Nowadays, people are often walking billboards for the manufacturers of their apparel.

You have to use a little common sense when you go down the counterfeit road. To save a few bucks (and to impress our neighbors) I wrote the word “Rolex” on my wrist with a magic marker and “Aire Jordan” on some US Keds tennis shoes I bought for the grandkids. We got a lot of looks, but I am afraid there was more pity than envy involved.

When I went Christmas shopping this year I stepped up to the Outlaw Motorcycle Gang parking Lot Sale-a-thon. Now, anybody who laughs at what I bought for family there, will have to discuss the quality of merchandise with Skull or Crusher or Rat Man!