Looky Looky men a blessing or curse?

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Fines for buying from 'looky looky' men in Barcelona

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!



  1. To be honest I now actually avoid going to some areas of costa towns now for dinner unless pressured by friends that come over on holiday as I really cannot handle the constant interruptions these people bring.

    In some areas they appear to have a conveyor belt system where one comes along then 3 minutes later another, 3 minutes later another etc. etc. etc. until you see the same face again! Some of them going as far as putting their wares in the middle of the table while right as in the middle of your dinner. One of the things I also don’t like about some of these people are their tactics. If there is a child in the company and they approach the table, you tell the vendor no but they then fix on the child who of course likes the coloured flashing lights or whatever they have and they use that as a ploy to get you to buy rather than you having to turn the child down.

    These people are selling goods that other businesses in town have to pay taxes to do, many of those businesses struggle to make a living and handle the costs that silly bureaucracy adds yet they allow these illegals to sell their goods fairly much unrestricted most of the year.

  2. Something I never mentioned was that there are many of these looky looky men whose illegal goods appear to consist of hashish, I don’t know how many times I have walked past one of these people leaning against a wall or post in La Carihuela and Benalmadena hissing ‘chocolate’ when walking past them, if they sell it here I am sure it is the same all along the coast!

  3. Sadly they are modern Slaves, but do not seem to realise. They are brought over by the Mr Big and have to earn a minimum amount per day for their accommodation and food. They are never able to earn enough to gain their freedom. Slavery was abolished a long time ago, according to Politicians, but it is still alive and well everywhere.


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