1187 Operation Flush the Janes
(New York) -- Four posts ago, we heard about cops on Long Island arresting the patrons of prostitutes. The DA’s election year stunt was called Operation Flush the Johns. Now, the shoe is on the other gender: women who buy counterfeit handbags and other goods in Manhattan’s Chinatown.
Fake Pradas, LVs, Rolexes, etc. are almost as old a come-on commodity as hookers. And connecting with people who want them happens in the same sub rosa ways. A small, highly trained cadre of tourist spotters prowl the crowded sidewalks muttering or whispering to the out of towners, showing pictures of the merchandise, negotiating price and mysteriously producing the handbag or the watch or the perfume or the shoes from... somewhere.
This is illegal in several ways. Forged stuff, some of it really authentic looking. Street peddling without a license. But the part that really sticks in city hall’s craw is the illegals don’t collect and pass along sales tax.
How do you spot a tourist in Chinatown? First step: racial profiling. The typical tourist is white, middle aged, overweight and bug-eyed. Second step: Tourists talk funny. They wear Hawaiian shirts or “I Love NY” tee shirts and straw hats, things real New Yorkers -- even white ones would never use. They amble and gawk. They carry cameras at the ready. Sometimes they have maps. (Usually not, these days. Smart phones have taken over for maps even in Indiana or whichever flyover state these people come from.)
Don’t take this the wrong way. We love flyover people who talk funny, wear funny hats and amble and gawk. If not for them, all of Broadway’s theaters would go dark and LaGuardia Field would be a ghost town.
Tourists with fake Michael Kors or DKNYs are an important component of the local economy. After all, where else can you get a $250 pair of Hudson Jeans for under 50 bucks?
Established merchants on Canal St. are all in a twist about these fakes. Have been for decades. They rightly point out that they have overhead like rent, electricity and the occasional business license that the street peddlers don’t.
But the illegals bring in traffic and that traffic is what keeps the “Golden Dragon Trading and Noodle House” and 500 other businesses in business.
So move over, Johns. Gotta make room for the new influx of Janes at Central Booking.
When the cop comes home after work and the kids ask him what he did today he may soon have to answer “I arrested two women from Cincinnati for possession of a controlled handbag.”
--MURDOCH DIVORCE SHOCKER. Octogenarian Press Baron Sheds China Doll, 44, after 14 year marriage. Was Wendi too old for Rupert?
--You can bet Wendi’s Louis Vuitton bag is not one of the Chinatown knockoffs. She can well afford the real thing. And after the divorce is final, you can bet she’ll still be able to afford the real thing.
--IBM has fired an undisclosed number of workers, most of them offshore. The company stock closed up Thursday by more than
2 ½ Points. Analysts were disappointed, one going as far as saying “they should have canned more people.”
I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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© WJR 2013