People like huffing the smell of the fresh leather in a Louis Vuitton fake purse even more than they like inhaling other drugs. It turns out, knockoff shopaholics have marijuana, heroin, and even cocaine addicts beat! Designer copies are a trillion dollar a year industry, but it’s a business that is also run by shady gangsters, and in some cases, terrorist groups.
In this month’s issue of Time magazine, Gary Jones traveled to Bangkok to see who is really getting offed by knockoffs. As if child labor, illegal prostitution, and gang wars weren’t bad enough byproducts of “Marc Facobs” handbags, John Newton from Interpol (not the band, the police org) warned back in 2005, “North African radical fundamentalist groups in Europe, al-Qaeda and Hizballah all derive income from counterfeiting.” Sheesh!
The problem has become so rampant that a museum opened in Thailand to showcase just how good crooks have become at being bad. From an entire motor scooter, to faux name brand cigarettes, to a ripped off Fred Perry shirt (dang, gangsters got good taste), The Museum of Counterfeit Goods aims to scare people back to spending their money on the real thing. In addition to the threat of terrorism. there’s a threat to even our health. Fake drugs have hit the market and IP investigators can’t even separate them from the real thing, which has resulted in deaths. Experts agree, we’ve to stop the problem where it starts— with the consumer! I’m talking to you, Aunt Mona and your taste for pretend Pradas! OK, I guess I should ditch my Folex watch too. Next time any of us think that fake Tiffany tennis bracelet is a must buy, we have to think of all the other ways we’re paying. Even with designer knockoffs, the price is still too high. [Time]