It seems that for every pop culture icon, at least 2,374,551 knock-offs enter the market, trying to make a dollar off of the famous name. But some of them are so bad, so laughably terrible, that it's impossible to imagine anyone mistaking them for the real thing.
I mean, there's Groot and then there's Greg. RoboCop and SilverCop. Sonic and... Blue Speed Mouse.
If someone has bought one of these abominations — and I really hope nobody did — it's just because they forgot their friend's birthday and walked into a store 5 minutes before the party, saw a stupid thing on a shelf, and thought it would make a funny joke of a present. That's it. I refuse to believe there's another reason why people would spend money on this stuff. Many just take a picture of these items, send the image to an Instagram account called Ugly Bootlegs, and put it right back. And that's enough.
Here are some of the most absurd pictures Ugly Bootlegs has received so far.
More info: Instagram
The Internet, however, is not helping the authorities to fight the rise of counterfeit goods and other phony products. For example, like Ganda Suthivarakom pointed out in Wirecutter, many shoppers don't realize this, but the majority of listings on Amazon aren't actually for items sold by Amazon itself. They're run by third-party sellers. And even though a lot of third-party sellers are law-abiding merchants, many of them are peddling fakes.
A huge Wall Street Journal investigation in 2019 revealed that Amazon has listed "thousands of banned, unsafe, or mislabeled products," from dangerous children's products to electronics with fake certifications. The Verge said that even Amazon's listings for its own line of goods are "getting hijacked by impostor sellers." Furthermore, CNBC found that the company has shipped expired foods (including baby formula) to customers, highlighting its inability to monitor something as basic as an expiration date.
The sale of counterfeit items represents around 3.3 percent of world trade, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, an international group with 36 member countries (including the US) that provides analysis and policy recommendations. The value of seized goods in the US (if they'd been real) was almost $1.4 billion in 2018, according to data by the US Customs and Border Protection.
But while law enforcement agencies have been reporting carcinogens, bacteria, and waste from both humans and rodents in counterfeit cosmetics, and fake chargers and cheaply-made lithium ion batteries are threatening to damage our electronics, at least we get some really ugly bootlegs we can laugh at.
Note: this post originally had 108 images. It’s been shortened to the top 30 images based on user votes.