RECENTLY it was revealed that during 2015, the authorities seized counterfeit goods which they estimated as having a street value of over €100 million so no-one can really guess how much of this fake stuff is circulating around Spain at the moment.
In some ways, it could be argued that the guys involved in selling this material on the streets add a bit of colour and fun with their cheeky grins and shouts of looky looky and bling bling, and that by selling this stuff they are actually being kept away from more serious crimes or from straight-forward begging.
On the coast, there seem to be three different types of seller, the sub Saharan Africans offering ‘real’ fake items, be they sunglasses, watches, bags, dvds and the like, the Orientals who seem to favour widgets, lighters and such, and North Africans who are happy to offer carpets and even kitchen knives.
Whilst haggling over prices after a few drinks may be great fun for tourists, there is a much darker side to what is going on. A number of the sellers are clearly illegal immigrants, illegally selling illegal items on the street. Somewhere there will be a ‘Mr Big’ who supplies the goods and collects the money from the street vendors.
Many large companies are losing vast amounts of profit and their product is being devalued, the government is not receiving the tax that it should, and those who purchase the goods often find them shoddy and they either don’t work or fall to pieces.
Restaurants seem to have a problem, should they allow these guys into their establishments hassling diners or are they scared of being singled out for bad treatment by a number of these gentlemen who can be quite intimidating in a group.
One restaurant in Guadalmina has a sign outside which basically says that they call the police for anyone who tries to sell illegal goods to their clients, although in fairness they also have a sign that says that they are Spanish, conservative, catholic and if you don’t like that don’t bother coming in!