Should you purchase a fake designer product from a street
vendor? The answer to that question isn't simple, but below are some pros and
cons to help you reach your own decision.
Counterfeit goods vary in quality, but some are made by
the same same Italian factories that manufacture designer handbags, belts,
etc., using the same
materials, designs, and techniques.
You'll save money--especially if you're good at bargaining,
since the vu compra don't have fixed prices.
You'll be supporting refugees and other immigrants who subsist on what
they earn as street vendors.
Selling and buying counterfeit goods are illegal, and
you could be fined up to 10,000 euros if the police conduct a sweep and
you're caught with a knock-off. (See our article,
"Fines for Fakes.") This may not
happen often, but if you're the unlucky tourist who gets nailed to set an
example, statistics won't provide much consolation.
As mentioned above, counterfeit products vary in quality. If you can't
tell the difference between leather and plastic, for example, you may discover that your bargain knock-off was
Street vendors obtain their bags through middlemen, and
there's no way of knowing who those middleman are (e.g., the Mafia).
When you purchase a fake from a street vendor, you're
contributing to trademark infringement and tax evasion. (Then again, a
well-heeled native of Italy once told me that "Tax evasion is the Italian