Sunday, May 3, 2009

Fake For You or For Money

I have opened up alot of blogs within the past few years. I find it a very good place to voice my opinions about certain topics. However, I have never experienced blogging in my classes before. I tend to run on tangents alot so bear with me as I try to get to my point across on certain topics.
Taking on the compact challenge or trying to fight consumerism is an especially hard task for me because I am a shopacholic. Also, because I actually work a part-time retail job on the weekends. My home town is in the Bay Area and the store I work for is also located in the Bay Area. Therefore, I commute back to the Bay Area most of my weekends to work. Last week was the first week I began the compact challenge. I must admit, it is quite tempting to buy things when I work.
This week, I want to talk on the concept of counterfeiting. Is the concept of counterfeiting more about trying to imitate or getting something you can't afford or just simply cheating companies? There is a clear difference between taking the easy way to getting something you want versus just plain not willing to pay money for the item. While working in the retail industry, I have come across several cases of counterfeits. Although I work for a corporation that focuses mainly on clothing, we still encounter cases of counterfeits. I know that counterfeits are more popular with more upper class brands and more popular within purses. However, there were several occasions in which customers brought in counterfeit clothing with our brand labels sewn on it. They attempted to return the items or exchange them for our store goods. However, we were able to distinguish their clothes from our own line of clothes so we refused to accept their returns. However, there were cases in which our own employee could not distinguish the counterfeits from our style and line of clothing and accepted the return. Higher level management did not want it to happen again so they actually took the counterfeits and posted them in the break room to warn all other employees not to commit the same tragic mockery.
I feel that the people that were bringing in counterfeits were not trying to fit in or trying to wear imitations of our brand but trying to cheat our company.

Here is an example of a piece of counterfeit clothing:

This piece is an obvious counterfeits to those who are familiar with the brand. The clothing line and lifestyle this brand promotes does not fit with this shirt.

In Decker's article "Knockout of Knockoffs" she explains how counterfeits are popular because people cannot afford the actual item. I want to emphasize on difference between buying counterfeits because one cannot afford them and buying counterfeits because one does not want to pay the price. I don't agree on the fact that once people stop buying counterfeits, it allows room for the brands to lower their prices. I feel that counterfeits are unfair to the retail industry. At the same time, the retail industry should not use counterfeits as their excuse for inflation. Honestly, if the government were to regulate counterfeits with a 100 percent efficiency, the brands would not lower their prices. On top of being a corporation that houses true craftsmanship, the company or brand is also a business in which money will always come first.
In another article from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, they caught people trying to smuggle in shorts with NBA logos and designer jeans. In terms of this case, I feel that these people who make counterfeiting a business is trying to adhere to the people who are unwilling to pay for brand names. These counterfeiting businesses try to cater and feed to those who want the brand names but are not willing to pay for them. I feel that these people are skewing with not only the retail industry but also social status. There is a reason why people wear these designer clothes. It is indeed a status symbol and by buying counterfeits, they are buying a fake status.

Decker, Melissa. "Knockout of Knockoffs" Class Reader
"U.S. Customs and Border Protection in Norfolk, Va. Intercepts Counterfeit Clothing"

By: Carmen Yee Blog Entry #1

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