MOOG: I was waiting in a local McDonalds car park recently to meet a guy who had bought some things from me on eBay. He finally arrives 40 minutes late in a bright pink polo shirt and Ray Ban sunglasses. It turns out that he doesn’t have enough money to pay for the items but wants me to give them to him anyway because he is “only” $40 short.
You can imagine how impressed I was. At this point an old guy in a Subaru rolls into the car park. Once it had rolled out of distance Polo Shirt says to me “Did you see his fake wheels? Why would anyone do that?” He then went on to mock the car, and then eventually referred to the driver as a “Cheap _ _ _ _” (I’ll let you fill in the letters yourself. HINT: It starts with a ‘C’ and finishes with a ‘T’)
We walk inside McDonalds where Polo Shirt is going to try and use his bank card to get some extra money out. He leaves me sitting at the table with his bag, car keys and sunglasses. A minute or so later Polo Shirt is back to let me know that his bank card doesn’t work and to prove it “…you can even call my bank bro”
Right on cue the old guy in the Subaru from earlier is finished going through the drive-though and heads off into the street. Polo Shirt says “Seriously what a _ _ _ _ “.
I don’t say a word but he continues. “Those fake wheel companies - they rip off the design, the colour and the shape. They rip off everything and then people buy them to try and look cool. Seriously only cheap _ _ _ _ would buy them.”.
Now I don’t necessarily disagree with the ripping off part, and I don’t necessarily agree either, and it’s all due to my recent purchase of a dishmop from the $2 shop (more on that a few paragraphs down) but right now there’s a important question to ask.
So I ask “If you feel so strongly about buying genuine items, what makes you think its OK to wear fake Ray Bans?”
He shoots back at me “These aren’t fake bro” and I say “There is no RB etched in the glass, the code on the arms is painted instead of etched in and there is no inscription under the nose piece. Which means you paid $2 for these instead of $200 so what’s with that?”
He laughs “Ah its totally different mate”
“How is it different?” I probe.
He lights up a cigarette and takes a long drag then says “They’re just glasses and fake wheels are dangerous. Everyone has these sunglasses”
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I try to explain the point, “Yeah but they rip off the design, the colour and the shape. They rip off everything and then according to you only cheap people trying to look cool would buy them, which in this case it true because you’ve turned up to buy something that you won on eBay, and you don’t even have enough money to pay for it.. Meanwhile you’re crapping on about buying genuine items while you’re wearing something that is clearly fake.”
He laughs and says “but it’s totally different”
And there it is. At this very moment he’s proven that he’s so ill defined in his values that he cannot see a difference between buying fake wheels and buying fake sunglasses. Both of which have ripped off a well-known design which has then been remanufactured to sell to people who have decided not to fork out for the real thing. Lets face it: Trying to promote the virtues of buying genuine items, while wearing fake Ray Bans is an embarrassment.
By now you may be thinking “ah but the fake wheels are poor quality and I saw a photo on the Internet and they were broken at the hub”. Whether this is true or not is irrelevant. Maybe they are crap. Maybe they are not and I’m not going to make any claims either way because that’s not what this is all about. (Most importantly your wheels should be fit for purpose - and I'm sure most wheels are capable of taking on a Maccas drive through) No, this is about making claims of superiority because of your authenticity, while you are actually using fake products in the hope that nobody will catch you out as a hypocrite. It’s incredibly sad and elitist. Can you imagine laughing at someone in the street because they have a cheaper pair of socks than you? Or because they can't afford the more expensive organic fruit? It’s just absurd. So why is it accepted within our 'scene' with wheels?
Of course I don't like people and companies getting ripped off. I don't like inventors and designers losing income because someone has stolen their designs. But I'm not going to go around insulting people who for whatever reason didn't buy the 'original'. We all want the best parts for our cars and everyone would love the latest $10,000 wheels from Japan, but the simple fact is, some people would rather spend that money on other things like.... um, rent and food?
If you are going to claim that copied designs are evil then please empty your house of everything you own that has been inspired or ripped off another design. To do this you will probably have to undertake a very long and extensive university doctorate in design studies, patent law and literature so you can actually be somewhat educated about how the design world works and how designs are shared and stolen within industries. Once you’ve done all of this, I’ll tell you now that you probably won’t have anything left.
If you really want to remain authentic in your belongings you’ll need to remove the airbags from your car which were ripped off from Mercedes original plans and also remove your seatbelts. While you’re at it Alfred Buchi would not be very happy that you are using a ripped off version of his original design of the turbocharger and we probably should all donate 10% of our weekly wages to Renault who popularised turbo technology in WW1 fighter plan engines. Actually, you’ll need to sell your whole car. You’ll need to throw away your Jeans of course and your shoes. In fact you will have to start your own fashion label creating clothes that have not been inspired by anyone else ever before. You may have seen some items like this on the catwalk before and laughed, and now you know what was going on. These people used to insult people with fake wheels and now they are designing clothes as therapy.
The problem is, that I have no idea what items I own are copies of other products and which ones have their own patent. And that’s why I won’t call you out if you have fake wheels because I have a fake dish mop at home so I have no right to insult any readers here with fake wheels. This dishmop looked just like the expensive one and being that they probably both clean dishes the same I bought the cheaper one. There I’ve confessed.
I did some research online into the guy who designed this dishmop (turns out he has designed heaps of stuff like parking meters and cameras and was born in the Netherlands in the 1940s) and sure enough my no frills version from the $2 shop is a direct copy. I am the proud owner of a fake dish mop which is an utter rip off of a more expensive design. Haters gonna hate. My apologies but I just had no idea. I’ve got a feeling the old guy in the Subaru also had no idea that his wheels were somehow not cool enough for the JDM kids. Most people who are not in the “scene” would have no idea. All they would see is a cheaper price tag – just like me and my dish mop.
So next time you insult someone for buying something that it not the real deal, have a good think about yourself first and make sure you’ve never purchased anything that has been inspired by any another design. Make sure you have never pirated any music or software. And make sure you are completely naked because any item of clothing you are wearing at the time will most definitely be inspired by something else.
Now if you’ll excuse me – I have some dish washing to do.
A version of this article originally appeared in issue #4 of the MCM Magazine. You can download all issues of the magazine here: DOWNLOAD MAGAZINE