For anyone who has been to Venice, there are a well known facets to the heavily touristic streets of the city and those are the purse sellers. There they are with their knockoff Guccis, Fendis, D and Gs, and others, waiting to sell these imitations to anyone willing to pay. Sure, they’re a lot cheaper than the real ones and to my eyes, they look pretty much the same. Of course, anyone would be nuts to buy one, since the return policy is less than favorable for the customer and the prices that I overheard being said are not that attractive ($100 for a knockoff?!!)
Probably the crappiest thing in all of this is that the practice is most definitely illegal and the guys hawking the wares bear the brunt of this. I saw what happens when the cops move in to bust these guys while I was there. They quickly scoop up everything and then run like mad. They ran by me very fast the first time and then congregated back in front on a second pass once they found the coast to be clear. After sitting for a bit to catch their breaths, the main pimp came up to check in on them. To be more obvious that he was in charge of it all would have been hard, wearing a Louis Vuitton cap with matching man bag and a very shiny new cellphone.
Beyond these street hustlers there is a darker underground group making all of this possible. Ring leaders run these rackets and most of the guys selling are illegal immigrants or so new to the country that it’s one of the very few forms of work they can get their hands on. So naturally, any haggling that you do with them cuts in to the money that they’re making. So, if you’re going to buy from them, pay the asking rate, seeing as how it’s already cheaper than store. Otherwise, go pay the store price and continue to support the sweatshops that make these big name accessories. Or, as untenable a thought as it may be, just don’t buy them at all.