Buyer Beware

A new measure to fight illegal street vending

Editorial Staff
September 20, 2007

Next step in the fight to bring decorum back to the city? A cube! Those who have walked through Piazza della Repubblica recently could not have missed seeing the big white cube showcasing a host of designer products—from Louis Vuitton bags and wallets to Armani T-shirts, sunglasses and Rolex watches. Those who lingered around long enough quickly discovered that the boxlike kiosk, dubbed in Italian the ‘anti-counterfeit cube’, is intended to raise public awareness about the sale of fraudulent goods.

 

Old news you might say? Quite the contrary. Although a series of municipal initiatives were supposed to address this matter, illegal street vendors continue to flood the market with fraudulent goods. Since the start of 2007, municipal police have confiscated almost 5,000 counterfeit products.

 

With the illegal vending comes violence. Twenty-one policemen have been injured in the past few months, during clashes with illegal street vendors.

 

Nicknamed the ‘Sheriff’ in past weeks due to his months-long safety crusade, safety superintendent Graziano Cioni, continues to believe that this problem can be solved. However, instead of concentrating on the vendors, he has turned his attention to the buyers.

 

The cube, which was built by Aimpes and the Confindustria, aims to deter shoppers from buying illegal goods. Made of white and transparent plexiglass, the cube contains real and fake handbags and other accessories. Curious passersby can learn to distinguish the real and the fake for themselves.

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