Monday, March 16, 2015

Traveling Tidbits - #2

Not a reason for traveling, but of interest to me, was counterfeit goods.  I had heard you could get anything in Thailand on the cheap.  What I found was interesting, and unexpected.

Counterfeit goods are there for the tourists; the locals seem to have no interest.  The places I found them were the tourist driven open air markets.

The first place to look are the random stalls where you can find various products that are made of the same materials, in the same style as the luxury brands.  They will have the appropriate tags as those brands as well.  They are more expensive than you'd normally find for a generic in Thailand, but still cheaper than a generic of that product in the US.  The problem is that they don't look like any specific product made by those luxury brands.  These may be a source of quality goods, if you can identify quality construction.  Some are not as well constructed.  The real question is, 'Will someone notice that Prada doesn't make that exact purse?'

In the same area, there are some stalls, but mostly shops, that specialize in one brand.  They are also selling knockoffs, but they are knocking off specific products.  They're not going to charging trifling prices, but their products are not to be trifled with.  They were very good copies, from what I could tell.  The downside is that they work hard, and they know they have something worth paying for.  For example, I could have gotten them down to $60 per Prada purse or backpack, but only if I bought three.  You can buy a purse for that in the US, but it won't be a good knockoff of a $2,000 purse.  You have to know what you want, but you can get a great deal at these places.

The last matter was the credentials.  I heard you could get anything from an FBI badge to a Harvard diploma at the backpacker's market near the palace.  That is true.  The problem is, I don't know what those things look like.  I can do an internet search, but that's not going to give me all the details of paper weight, and holograms, and such.  I do however know what my state ID looks like, and it's not what their state ID's look like.

I told one salesman that I'm from America, and that's not what my ID looks like.  He asked to see mine.  I didn't have it on me, which is what I told him.  It's also what I'd have have told him if I did.  I explained that my ID flexes though, and he quickly replied that I won't find that feature anywhere here.  He said it's too hard to reproduce.  I thanked him, and moved on without asking the obvious question.

'What's the point in a counterfeit ID that doesn't match the original?'

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