The Royal Mint said last week that one in 50 pound coins you come across could be fake. This really hit home that bogus goods are seeping into everyday consumerism.
Earlier this year Channel 4’s Dispatches programme reported that companies are losing a fortune in revenue and brand credibility to counterfeiters. Much of the goods were imported, getting past the under-resourced customs agents. Some cases can be potentially lethal with the increased exposure of counterfeit drugs (I’m not thinking Viagra).
An Adidas fraud officer was filmed as he discovered luminous Chelsea football jerseys in an Asian street market two weeks before the shirt had been launched in London. Fake chicken eggs (yes, with yellow yokes) are apparently going down a storm in certain parts of China too poor to rear chickens – they actually manufactured one for the cameras. Product from Colgate to Channel was shown to be within the fraudsters’ varied capability.
The crux of the Dispatches’ argument was that if you employ developing countries to manufacture for you, then you can expect those countries to be imitating you as well. Especially if you leave and set up [a cheaper] shop elsewhere – highly likely as cost was the motivator that took you there in the first place.
Imitation is said to be the largest form of flattery but I doubt the Mint or Versace et al would agree here.