Monday, August 20, 2012

The Business of Fake (in Nordstrom Rack)

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Here is something you don't see every day: counterfeit UGGs in... Nordstrom Rack! I spotted these monstrosities on one of my recent trips to the store, tucked away in the shoe clearance section. I quickly alerted the manager but she didn't quite realize the gravity of the situation (she might be trained not to acknowledge HUGE booboos): these are fake $140 winter boots that some unsuspecting shopper may purchase for lack of reliable information. They'd expect the durability, reliability, and quality coming from a relatively high end brand but instead get these for 5 times the price.

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How does this happen?
According to the manager Nordstrom Rack receives 75% of its merchandise from Nordstrom and 25% from third party suppliers. She suspects a shipment was contaminated since buyers don't see the goods until they arrive to the warehouse, but I have a simpler theory: people buy knockoffs on eBay (or another site), go to Nordstrom Rack to purchase the real deal, and return the counterfeit. Cashiers work too quickly to check the returns thoroughly and besides, would any of them think to make the accusation even on account of legitimate suspicion? Unfortunately the "buy real, return fake" phenomenon is more common than you may think, especially in high end department stores like Neiman Marcus and Saks. Here's a real life example.  

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We want your hard earned money but we don't want to deliver!

How to spot the fakes?

Fake UGGs are usually very obvious (with a few exceptions) but the specific characteristics differ among models. Thankfully these counterfeits are easy to spot because they're imitating one of the most popular models, the classic tall.

1. Check the back label: 
Every pair of classic UGGs has an eponymous label attached to the back of the heel: it should be rectangular rather than square-ish and the font must be even.
Left: Authentic! || Right: Fakey McFake Fake
2. Check the lining:
A real UGG lining is ALWAYS made of sheepskin. ALWAYS. The lining of the fakes was made of polyester.

3. Check the sole
There isn't a hard and fast rule here but the general consensus is that the soles must be symmetrical (meaning equal in every respect, from the size and orientation of the design and position of logo) and cleanly cut. In the case of our fake friends above the sun at the top of the sole isn't completely circular and the grooves aren't evenly stamped.

Real UGGs. [image credit]
Readers, have you ever encountered fakes in a trustworthy store? What have you done about it? If not, what are your thoughts on fakes in general?

27 comments:

  1. I can't believe you found that! They are such horrible, blatant rip offs it's ridiculous! I haven't really found this in stores I shop except for the usual like cheap cellphone rip offs.

    ReplyDelete
  2. You have a great eye for fakes! I can't believe at Nordstrom they would have a fake UGG and not know it. Good for you taking it up with the manager. Heather

    ReplyDelete
  3. Wow, good eye! I would never think to check for fakes at a department store and probably wouldn't notice anything askew even if it were right in front of me. Need to be more alert!

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  5. Yikes! I have seen this happen at my local discount stores, people take the tag from a higher end/contemporary designer and stitch it on to a cheap item. I think it was a sweater I came across at Marshalls from Vince that was PILLING badly. I looked at the tag to see 100% acryllic...A $69 sweater at Marshall's from Vince? I didn't say anything to the manager but definitely should have.

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  6. I hate fakes. Knockoffs just tick me off. I always make a big stink about it and ruin everyone's day.

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  27. Nordstrom Rack carries products that were NEVER sold in the main Nordstrom store. They are specifically marketed to the "Rack"....It's how outlet malls work

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