I have mixed feelings about plagiarism. Not ethically, per se' because I may have copied someone's Math and English assignments in the pre-google period. (B.G. Before Google). Criticizing 'copy-cats' would make me a hypocrite, but I do believe in intellectual property rights, and more loosely in Trade Marks. How does that saying go?... Plagiarism is the fondest form of flattery? Nah... And as insulting idioms go, we all know the feeling when the new guy starts -- And the smug fucker, (barely out of school), projects airs of superiority, and innate wisdom -- which could not possibly be merited, right?
Born back when there was something called "the school of hard knocks", I was run through the grinder with every attempt, advance, and shift in position. This fo course sucks as much as it evolves stronger character, thicker skin, and better equipped humans. But what of the copycat, who observes and makes a copy without fully understanding how it works? Can this be hazardous? I dreamt last night of inexperienced youthful self-assured snowflakes being ground into a fine powder by those with actual experience, and expertise. Alas, (sigh) above all we seem to stamp-out freshly minted "New Kids" with ZERO experience, and even less grace, while we coddle them as creative 'fresh talent'. They will, "help us connect with our market", we older crew recite. But what do copy-cats, and these un-formed babies have in common? Perhaps they have a desire to play out a fraud, amongst the genuine. Swimming in the pool of doers, where larger sharks lurk until the wee ones, and the fakers slam their heads squarely against the ladder, they should have grasped. Drawing a line between authenticity-and-clones, as with capability-and-clowns, can be a useful skillset. But when the information appears legit, and nothing bounces back in the background check -- Then you have to take a leap of faith when buying that generic brand of cat food, a knock-off toddler toy, or cheap kite-board. The rub is, just how much do you trust the one trillion positive reviews, before you pull the rip-cord, and assume your life will be saved by a Brand "X" Parachute. When drawing a line between inventiveness and copy-cats, it may prove a critical boundary, to assert some rules, before someone gets hurt. ...And so we have laws. Copyright laws, Patent Laws, Import Laws, and Property rights Laws, amongst other's. When Brand "X" makes a Bottle of glass cleaner to look exactly like Windex for the Dollar Store, a trademark boundary is traversed, and the agreed upon norms, and laws which protect brand rights are broken. Owing to a corrosive vortex called the internet, and with ancient US Postal legislations, anyone abroad can copy your product and sell it into your market for less than you can. In fact this is now so simple that what you thought was the "Next Big thing", gets rubbed out by some crap-tastic brand like "Shinoma".
Quick Question: Why even change the name?, why not just make fakes?
When moving two letters around to create a "me too" brand using the same font-type, do the Makers of Shinoma, or Shinano know how close their Product's brand name cuts against the pejorative word for a shoe polish, feces, or a bad TV band?
So there is this brand called Shimano, who have been innovating many industries with intricate machining and blissfully brilliant functionality for nearly 70 years. Then along comes some Chinese knock-off, who moves two vowels around, and begins selling into the US market with, well basically shit.
Have Shimano made crappy devices in the past?, not really, even a bike wrench will tell you that when setting up their worst derailleur, 'Tourney SIS', "it basically needs nothing but lube or occasional cable for a decade or more of riding".
Any Internet inducement can advertise similar specifications, with similar weights, and one can even instantly create credibility by buying 10,000 positive comments, with links to all sorts of fake reviews, (thank you social media, you greedy whore). One can pay Yelp, Google, or Fake Book to leverage your new clone brand to the middle top of the food chain, by equal parts mimesis, fraud, & false marketing. I can now buy any fare of junk on Amazon, which look (from a distance) just like the "real thing". Your newly minted clone falls far short of it's performance, and safety threshold, because there is no expectation for function, durability, and authenticity. We perpetuate the fraud with a fake Louis Vuitton, bag, but that of course will only hurt the brand, and not the user. So what of a Bicycle, featuring real Shinoma Parts? Will you love it? Will your new toy bring joy, and many years of fond outings. To induce your online purchase of the latest gadget today, requires a whole new lexicon of promises such as, "Designed in California", "Free Delivery & Free Returns", "Guaranteed Highest Quality", "Just Like the Real Thing", You are possibly purchasing something which will fulfill your wildest dreams. Or, Perhaps you are procuring a total piece of crap which was engineered to imitate, forged from faulty parts, with inferior standards. To the unwitting consumer we have but one caution; Buyer Beware. The makers of fake shit are laughing when they sell you truly crappy stuff. They mock your disposable lifestyle -- Your empty life full of cheap broken shit filling your garage and basement. Tisk tisk for walking out of your local bike shop saying, "C'mon, we can just find one on Amazon/Ebay". If the vendor knocks off something great, can you guarantee it will be even good? When they make something crappy and then move two syllables around: swapping 'ma' for 'no' exchanging 'mano' for 'noma', you go from Shimano to Shinoma, you don't have to present too much to the judge to see that this is about as graceless a grab as they come. But fear not because there IS a sucker born every minute, and they just left the qualified and helpful staff of the local family owned bicycle retailer, to endeavor to buy five bikes through the lifespan of the one they didn't buy today from the local bike shop. Searching their smart-phone while speaking with the salesperson.
"Oh well, He can't tell Shit from Shinoma!", they may mock.
So what could be wrong with saving a little money, If it looks like a duck and sounds like Shimano?, right?
So what's wrong with knock-offs, if they save me money? What's wrong with blatantly copying other people's stuff, and selling stuff under the guise of a conspicuously similar moniker? What harm can come to anyone if the free market will leverage down the cost of similar products cloned from the original? Millions of people get to save when they exchange their soul and freedom for cheap junk, right?. Everyone has one product in their lives which simply has not failed them. They may revere and covet their wallet, money-clip, pocket knife, turntable, camp-stove, hiking boots -- a backpack, chair, press-pot, or an ashtray, as precious... Some things, be they simple inelegant tokens, express innate worth. These are simple intrinsically valuable objects by their quality. Whatever that one coveted object is for you..., The fact remains that you stagger upon a plank above cheap gratifications holding one thing of intrinsic value. You have some things which always produce a smile or cozy satisfaction, but daily you may piss money away upon junk which fleetingly fills only a gap in your own self-worth. A new piece of junk cannot be ascribed to measure against your confidential consumerist void -- Only quality and utility will steady this journey.
Can't tell shit from Shinola: rude slang; To be exceptionally naïve, unworldly, ignorant, or undiscerning.
This definition is concise, and needs nothing added to be wholly understood. Shimano, and SunRace, have built a reputation upon quality products. Whether it is the revered Deore from the 80's or a cogset on your trainer, you know what to expect when you exchange money for parts. Trying to locate the source of fakes, and knock-offs has proven elusive for this article, but the truth is that Shimano and SunRace have been vigilant since the 80's to quash fakery.
Yet for fakes to exist and constantly flow into the consumer eco-system, means that there is indeed a sucker born every minute, and as Tom Waites says, "You just happen to be coming along at the right time".
Our best defense against being bamboozled to buy junk, is of course research, but when the factoids come slamming against the back-side of your LCD screen as dishonest photons, it is best to seek professional help. You are far better served by a dishonest sales-person, than a dishonest internet. The shopkeeper stakes their livelihood upon honest advice and quality, which is innately not the case for the cowardly internet. The internet nearly singlehandedly invented conformation bias. Good luck with an honest opinion there.
So why not case your local camping store, when you want a tent, Peruse your local wine store for a Pinot, and shop your neighborhood bicycle store for a bike? Call a friend for advice on something which they remain passionate about?.. Friends don't let friends buy shit. To shop outside of a wealth of sound opinion is to live outside of the very society which brought you up. The only thing worse than buying junk, is buying it twice from the internet. And the only thing worse than that is to be the dickhead who sold it to you -- And the only thing worse than being that dickhead is being fooled by that dickhead.
Age and Treachery will overcome youth and skill.