June 30, 2010

Beware when buying fakes in Europe

Lest you get stung like this poor tourist…

The proliferation of fake handbags is not just in Asia, as a recent visitor to Venice just found out – after getting fined 1,000 euros for buying a fake Louis Vuitton.

I visited Rome with a girlfriend a few years ago and we made the grave mistake of looking at (and picking up) a bunch of fake Louis Vuitton and Gucci handbags to have a better look. Yes, we were interested in purchasing, but decided against these particular ones. Oh no we didn’t, thought the vendor who had recently arrived from Morocco to make his fortune in fakery. “I make you special deal!”

We said no thanks and proceeded to move on down the street only to have him follow us, loudly expounding the handbag’s merits. We walked a little faster. So did he. We split up. I ducked into a clothing store and quickly hid myself behind a rack as far from the front window as possible. My friend dashed off in another direction. By this time the desperate vendor had his entire fake handbag collection wrapped in a sheet and was walking the streets of Rome like Father Christmas, except not as jolly. Suffice to say we lost him.

Unfortunately a woman in Venice this week wasn’t quite as lucky. The Telegraph reports that a 65-year old tourist from Austria was pinged with a 1,000 euro fine in a summer crackdown to run the fakers out of town. They have police officers using high-powered binoculars who spotted her buying a €7 Louis Vuitton purse and down they came to nab her. Mayor Francesco Calzavara wants to stop the demand for these bags and I suggest with this sort of drastic fine, he just might.

You’ve been warned!

About Megan Singleton

Megan

Megan Singleton is a travel writer, blogger and radio correspondent. She's been gallivanting around the world telling stories for the last 16 years and has her suitcase always half packed (or half un-packed!) Follow along on Facebook or Twitter and sign up for monthly newsletters if you want to keep up with the journey!

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