If you come into Manhattan via the Staten Island Ferry, one of the first things you’ll notice is the plethora of street vendors hawking all manner of wares. Many items are counterfeit, especially designer bags. Others are of questionable quality.
The street vendors are part of what give New York its charm, and part of what makes it hard to stomach at times. You see, women are starting to not carry designer bags because anyone carrying one is assumed to have purchased a counterfeit. And while I think the idea of carrying around a prissy pink $700 repository for your $300 in cash is a stupid idea, the purse pattern and fabric, etc., still belongs to the designer who created the damn thing.
You counterfeit things, you should pay. Pirates, regardless of video and music “piracy,” are not counterfeiters; they are thieves and profiteers, taking booty in an honorable expedition. Usually honorable expedition. Counterfeiters are dishonorable liars.
But you can easily identify the illegal guys. Look for the identification tags carried round their necks. Legitimate vendors will have identification and a license to sell stuff on the streets, courtesy New York City. Illegitimate ones don’t, often sell straight out of a box or a briefcase, and very often have a thick foreign accent.
But there’s a deeper fact here. Legitimate vendors, according to one I spoke to, are all military veterans today. This was an idea passed right after 9/11. The theory is that military vets don’t forget their training. They’re great to have in a time of crisis. And if another attack happened, there would be trained men on the street to defend, and to report on exactly what was done by whom. Invaluable information!
I started looking at the vendors after this. Sure enough, every single tag-carrying vendor looked very much like a veteran, primarily from Vietnam. They were serious, not smiling, while the guys with no tags grinned and followed you and exhorted you to buy from them.
I don’t know for sure, but I think there was more to the veteran decision than what was stated. There are so many illegal vendors on the streets that no police force could contain them without spending millions. But the legitimate vendors dislike them intensely. Illegal vendors stay on the same streets as legit vendors. They get to know each other, at least by sight.
If ever the city felt it had to round up the illegal vendors, the legal guys could identify each and every one of them. And all the vendors, legal and otherwise, will work together to prevent new illegals from encroaching on their street.
All in all, though it looks untidy, it’s a nice little system. Except for that counterfeiting thing.
[tags]shopping,new york vendors,couterfeit goods,fake handbags,veterans[/tags]