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Do You Buy Stolen Property?
Don't be too quick to say no. You do if you're a woman who carries a counterfeit handbag. Now, the day I pay hundreds of dollars for some piece of nylon crap that says Prada on my back is probably the day I start believing in god and get strapped to an elevated cot.

That said, I'm always shocked when women I know -- especially writer women who value their copyrights -- give the big middle finger to Miuccia Prada's or Dolce and Gabbana's by buying cheap counterfeits of their bags.

Sure, handbags by these people cost several arms and five legs in the store. And it's these designers' right to sell their work for as high a price as they can get. You don't like it, don't buy it. But, in the future, do think twice about stealing it. Here's an excerpt from an article in the Maine Times by Giselle Goodman:

Many people who knowingly buy fake bags don't know much about the dark side of their purchase.

"Most people think its a victimless crime," said Michelle Moore, media spokeswoman for the IACC. "They think it's the big brand that suffers. The bigger problem is they don't see what they do as giving money to support something they would never give money to support."

Meaning, studies done by the IACC have tracked the money brought in by counterfeiters to drug rings, terrorism groups and sweat shops.

"It does seem like a Catch 22," she said. "There is such a demand, everybody wants (the latest handbag). But there's no reason why, as a society, that we need to value materialism over what is right."

Of course, the hilarious thing to me about wearing Louis Vuitton and the rest is that it doesn't scream "I have style" or "I'm rich" as much as it screams "I'M A LABEL WHORE!" and "I don't have self-esteem, I have 'I bought really expensive goods'-esteem." Oh yeah, and then there's "As a consumer, I'm really a pushover."

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Posted by aalkon at August 9, 2006 10:58 AM

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It always amazes me how willfully ignorant some people can be. If that new hot bag that's got a waiting list at Neiman's is being sold on the street for 1/5 the price by a guy who assures you that it's a "factory overrun" he gets from a "reliable dealer who has a contract with all of the factories" it doesn't take a PhD to conclude that it's COUNTERFEIT. Or there are the people who are proud of their fake bags (or Rolex watches) that they "can't tell from the real thing". Umm, honey, that's ILLEGAL.

There are so many convincing fakes on e-bay these days that there's a whole cottage industry springing up around authenticating bags from photos. Even recently had some fake Balenciagas for sale (so did Costco, but they pulled them as soon as they were alerted that the bags were probably very good fakes).

Posted by: deja pseu at August 9, 2006 7:20 AM

My wife and I were in Barcelona a few years back, and she needed a bag to carry some extra stuff home. We were walking through an area where African immigrants sold these bags, and my wife made the mistake of thinking that if she offered a price so low that they of course would be insulted and walk away. Within minutes she was mobbed by at least a dozen of the dealers, all wanting to offer her a deal. It looked like the pigeons in St Mark's Square when you throw them popcorn! It actually kinda scared (sorry Crid) me because I was thinking she was going to get her purse stolen or lose her passport. They followed us for blocks, until we got back to the hotel, where the doormen shoo'd them all away.

Posted by: eric at August 9, 2006 11:08 AM

My sis-in-law buys the fake bags (yes, she knows they're fake, but I'm not about to start a ruckus over purses. Oh, and my mother-in-law goes for them too, and they already have enough trouble with me being Catholic) and when I told her that for Christmas I'd like a purse, I made sure to tell her I just wanted a functional black purse, nothing expensive, and I didn't want a counterfeit as everyone would know it's a fake and they'd think I was the kind of person who had to have a fake Coach bag.

I see these fakes everywhere in NYC, and was kind of concerned that these fakes were pushing out the low-end, non-designer, non-counterfeit purses. But, wonder-of-wonders, Nine West sells purses - and so big I could fit two Dickens in hardcover insider. Perfect. Maybe one day, when I've got money to waste, I'll buy a real Coach bag on 5th Ave, but for now I'll keep my nondescript purse.

Posted by: meep at August 10, 2006 4:20 AM

Hey Amy - thanks for taking an excerpt from my story and publishing it on your site. Through this story I became a Phooey Vuitton officionado. That is, I can see a fake coming a mile away. And I have to say, from when I wrote this article, up until now, I have yet to see a real one.

Cheers and happy new year to you and your readers.
Giselle Goodman
Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram

Posted by: Giselle at December 26, 2006 11:47 AM

Thanks for dropping by. Pretty disgusting, the proliferation of fakes. You've yet to see a real one? Scary. Creepy.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at December 26, 2006 1:48 PM

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