Many people are used to the concept of counterfeit goods, whether it be fake Prada handbags, Rolex watches or even smartphones. But in the small Chinese city of Kunming, scammers have gone a step further and faked an entire Apple Store.
The conmen had certainly done their homework and gone to great lengths to recreate the feel of the real thing. It had seemingly authentic signs, wooden benches and even the trademark winding staircase. The staff, too, looked entirely real, wearing blue t-shirts, and the unmistakable staff badges. The store was being used to sell counterfeit Apple goods, such as iphones and ipads.
The scam was rumbled by an American blogger who goes by the name BirdAbroad. She’d visited the store and admits to being taken in at first, as it looked entirely authentic. She believed it to be so convincing that even the staff thought they were truly working for Apple.
She described the store as “a beautiful rip-off” but said there were some things wrong with it: “The stairs were poorly made. The walls hadn’t been painted properly. Apple never writes “Apple Store” on it’s signs, it just puts up the glowing, iconic fruit. The name tags around the necks of the friendly salespeople didn’t actually have names on them – just an Apple logo and the anonymous designation “Staff”.”
The final nail in the coffin came when a simple search on the Apple website relieved no such store in Kunming. It was a fake, a beautiful fake, but according to the blogger, only the best of many such attempts to fake official apple shops in China.