So, I've only just come back from Barcelona. It was an amazing city, and I had such a great time. Anyway, this post is not about my trip (I'll have a post up about it in the next few days). This post is about something I saw while in Spain.
It was about 9.30pm and we went into a shopping centre, which was just off a pier. When we came out of the shopping centre about 45 minutes later, the pier was completely transformed. There were hundreds of little white sheets on the floor and on each on there were about 10-15 knock off bags. It was remarkable just how quickly the pier changed. We asked about prices and found that the bags were going for, at most, 30 Euros, and we saw people haggling them down to 10-15 Euros. Even 'genuine' knock offs aren't that cheap.
So we inspected some of the bags. My Grandad made his living out of leather, so my dad knows his leather pretty well. He was inspecting the bags and was shocked to see that some of the bags were genuine leather. I'm no bag expert, but at first glance they could pass as real. Obviously you know they're not after just picking them up and looking inside.
Anyway, we were still inspecting them when the guy behind the 'sheet' grabbed the bag, as did all the other guys there, and within 30 seconds had everything wrapped up and running away.
It was actually a clever thing here. Each of the for corners of the sheet was tied to rope and in the middle, the rope was tied together, and all the guys had to do was pull the rope and the sheet would immediately roll up.
So anyway, we saw why they all immediately legged it: the police had come. But in all honestly, I don't think they cared too much. There was one (gorgeous Spanish) policeman on a motorbike. And he had a bored expression on his face and kinda shrugged his shoulders and drove after them. But he was going really slowly and was dragging his feet on the floor as he was driving. He was actually driving alongside the running guys and could have caught them with very little effort.
This reminded me of a place in Dubai. You get knock off stuff there as well. You go into the market and people take you to an apartment block nearby (very dodgy indeed) and each shop has an apartment there and you walk in and the walls are covered in fake stuff: bags, shoes, jewellery, clothes, pens etc. And again, with a little effort the government/police could close it all down if they wanted to.
So this got me thinking, just how big is the knock off industry? It must be massive, maybe even bigger than the real industries. I mean there are so many knock offs out there and it's obvious from these 2 places I've been to that all their stock comes from the same place. But there has to be a huge organisation behind it. And if it seems so easy to crack down on them locally, surely, by working your way up the ladder, you'd eventually be able to find out who really is behind it.
And if companies like Prada and Chanel, know about all the knock offs, in theory you'd think thats they'd do whatever it takes to get rid of them, so why don't they?