A new program by the Comune of Venice is slapping leviathan fines on people who buy counterfeit designer goods from those guys with the open-air blanket-bottegas that seem to be at the foot of every bridge. How does a 10000 Euro fine sound for that ratskin Prada-like wallet? Believe it or not, it's possible.
The program is called "Bad Bag", and posters have gone up all over town warning visitors of the new down-side to "brand crimes". It's interesting that the program name is in English. I'm guessing that we anglophones comprise the biggest chunk of the target market.
Venice has long been overrun with ersatz designer goods sellers. I have to admit, I haven't been able to advance a theory on how it is these guys -- largely foreigners -- have been able to operate so freely. Venice is so incredibly finite, so full of dead ends and limited-access campi. It would seem that trapping their quarry would be a fairly low-order military operation for the carabinieri. It must be more complex than I realize.
I've always wondered about the true effectiveness of hyper-criminalizing consumers who buy illegal stuff and services, when the real target is intended to be the sellers. Can anyone think of a case where sellers were, in effect starved out of business? I know it never seems to really shut down prostitution or drug operations.
I hope it works. These bagmen are rough dudes, and are often involved in other crimes in the city. I'll watch to see if this new campaign has the intended effect