Every now and then I come across a news story which really tickles my fancy. This is one of them.
Two men in Sydney are possibly facing jail time over the alleged importation of 185 tonnes of fake washing powder from China.
Unilever Australia is the owner of the OMO washing powder trademark and discovered that retailers in the Sydney metro area were selling 9KG buckets of OMO marked ‘Made In Indonesia’ for 10-15 dollars less than the legitimate OMO made in Australia.
I’m not surprised some unscrupulous traders decided to carry the dodgy product which apparently is not even washing powder and certainly doesn’t follow the OMO mantra of more clean, less suds. Those nasty little two dollar shops are springing up on every corner. The OMO story reminds me of The Hallucinogenic Hallowe’en Lollipop Incident.
My friend Mel and I visited one of those cheapie shops in our local shopping centre last Hallowe’en to buy some Hallowe’en stickers to hand out to the trick or treaters. While there, even though we’d already bought our sweets from the supermarket, we couldn’t resist a jumbo bag of lollipops – 350 lollipops for $1.99 – who couldn’t? Bargains like that don’t come along every day.
As we were preparing our goodie bags I felt duty bound to try the lollipops. I tried a red one. Mel tried a green one. We only sucked them for a moment but they were disgusting, gritty and bitter. I immediately threw mine in the bin but Mel, as it is her wont to crunch instead of suck, had half swallowed hers. After about five minutes she began to see flashing lights and felt hot and cold. She alternated between saying ; “I’m gonna puke” and “Oooh, lights. Pretty.” She recovered shortly afterwards but our teeth were stained red and green respectively, taking three days to wear off, despite brushing at least 45 times.
The lollipops were made in Argentina and said something on the bag like –
preparado con este liquido limpiador-
which I later discovered had something to do with cleaning fluid. We called the cheapie shop and insisted they withdraw the lollipops from sale, thankful we had tried them before handing them out to all the kids in the neighbourhood. We certainly didn’t want to be responsible for the local kids spending the night seeing Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds or developing a fondness for Jefferson Airplane or beanbags and lava lamps.
It just shows you that some people will do anything to make a buck. Lollipops that contain cleaning fluid? Fake washing powder that is so fake it doesn’t even clean your clothes? What I don’t get is that counterfeiting goods would take as much time and effort as manufacturing real ones. So why not just create a legitimate product?
I am intrigued as to how these two men thought they were going to shift 185 tonnes of the stuff. Were they planning to stand on street corners next to a van with blacked out windows, spruiking their wares : “Hey buddy, wanna get your whites whiter and your brights brighter?” Maybe they stopped outside psychiatrists offices, hoping to corner patients with an obsessive cleaning disorder, or maybe they offered the retailers a deal they couldn’t refuse – buy one tonne, get one free.
Fake Rolexes, Chanel sunglasses, Nike shoes, Prada bags, orange juice that may or may not contain oranges, vegetable soup that contains reconstituted vegetables, fake lollipops, fake washing powder. Is anything real anymore? Am I a reactionary for wanting the goods I purchase to actually be what they say they are?
My mother was right when she said a few weeks ago that “life was simpler when all we had to choose from was a box of Sunlight Soap.” Those were the days. Those washing powder bootleggers should be sentenced to ten years hard cleaning detail using their fake Omo that doesn’t clean. Seems only fair.