In the area that I live the sale of counterfeit items such as shoes, clothing, and name brand items; Is rampant. Last month on a single day seven stores were shut down for selling counterfeit merchandise illegally. Six of them were clothing stores and one was a book store. This is not uncommon just yesterday a massive “liquidation” place was shut down for selling counterfeit goods.
I don't really know how to feel about the sale of counterfeit items. I do not like that the profits help support criminals but I consider some of the practices done by those selling actual non-counterfeit items to be criminal.
Counterfeit items are made in sweat shops in China. A lot of the non-counterfeit items are also made in sweat shops in China. Many of the mega-stores like Wal-mart and dollar stores sell items made in sweat shops.
Many of the counterfeit items are of inferior quality and unsafe containing deadly amounts of lead or some other toxin. Judging by the many recalls over the last year and the quality of many of the things in the stores that are not counterfeit, I have only slightly less of a chance of encountering those problems not buying counterfeit items.
No sales tax is paid to the government for the counterfeit items. Pretty bad that sales tax is supposed to fund government services and benefit the people. Of course many of the large mega-chains also don't pay sales tax. They are often given millions of dollars of tax payers money in tax cuts and incentives. Making any of the sales tax that is paid pretty much is just paying back the millions of dollars already given them and in some places the sales tax doesn't really go to the government because of tax cuts and the costs imposed on the community by the mega store (no or to little health insurance, inadequate pay, etc.. forcing people to go to the government for aid) .
I don't want counterfeit items. I want my item to be what it is, but really when it comes down to it the counterfeiters aren't much worse than those selling the non-counterfeit items and considering the amount of counterfeiting being done I really have no way to know if the item is or isn't counterfeit. Personally I try to avoid purchasing items from China anyways, for a variety of reasons, unless it is from China town (at least this way I know some Chinese people are actually getting a decent cut), a Hong Kong DVD/VCD, I can't find it made anywhere else or price difference is much too great (I don't mind paying a little extra but can't afford a lot extra).