Organizers of the Olympic Games in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro are taking a novel, fight-fire-with-fire approach to tackle counterfeit merchandise, a local newspaper reports.
As is often the case at international sporting events, prices of souvenirs at official stores in Rio are high — a pocket replica of the Olympic torch costs $34 in the Olympic Village — unattainable fare for most Brazilians in a country where the average minimum wage is just $270 a month, Brazilian newspaper O Globo notes.
It's the kind of niche that counterfeiters like to exploit. So, Rio 2016 organizers came up with an unusual idea — selling their own "knockoff" goods, the daily reports.
At Sahara, a popular market in the city's downtown area, customers can get almost the exact same products that are available at official stores — but for half the price, O Globo reports. A children's T-shirt that costs $25 at the Megastore on Copacabana beach sells for just $10.80 at the Sahara. The fabric is a bit thinner and the stitching is not quite as good as the Megastore one but the item is not counterfeit. It's an official, Rio 2016-sanctioned garment, albeit one of the Grade B variety, the paper says.
"Is it official?" one French tourist Pascal Le Maurice wonders about the polo shirt he spotted in the Sahara market for $18, O Globo reports. Megastore charges $43 for the same item but both have a hologram sticker proving their authenticity.
"For the quality, the value is very good," the newspaper cites the customer as saying. "I'll take it as a souvenir."