Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Flea Market Alphabet

When wandering the aisles at Wolff's Flea Market at the Allstate Arena Rosemont, do you sometimes wonder where you are? Just look down and you will see that we have painted a helpful grid with numbered and lettered spaces. Rows are lettered A through Z, with numbers ranging from 1 to 20ish.
The east section is closer and perpendicular to the building and is called "The Single Letter Rows".
A1 is by the southeast entrance, A2 is south, etc. The "Double Letter Rows" are located in the west lot.

So how do you explain exactly where you are? Just learn the flea market alphabet! For beginners.

C-Charlie or Cat
K- Kangaroo

Oh yeah, if you have any questions, just look for a staff person wearing a chartreuse shirt!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013


August 13, 2013
Too much to read? Just scroll down to the pictures below....

Flea market vendors may find this guide helpful when shopping for merchandise from websites, wholesalers, importers and other sources. While we do not wish to point fingers, the reality is that countless online sites like ebay, and, as well as your locally owned independent store and "a guy you know" provide an unfortunate mixture of legitimate and counterfeit products at "too good to be true" prices.  When obtaining your merchandise, please avoid the counterfeit and trademark infringing items pictured and described below.

These specific iPhone accessories have been chosen for this guide because of their popularity and prevalence online, in independently owned stores, at wholesalers and because of their eventual appearance at the flea market level. As always, realize that we are not legal or trademark experts, nor are we affiliated with Apple.  We are a small business that conducts ongoing counterfeit research via retail stores, wholesalers, news stories, independently owned stores, online manufacturers' websites, expert advice, etc. Trademarks are used for purposes of education and discussion and belong to the individual companies.

You are not allowed to sell counterfeits at Wolff's Flea Market, and will consequently be out hard-earned money, stuck with unsellable stock and possible permanently ejected from our venues.

 Remember that there can be a fine line between no-name generic compatible products and trademark infringing/counterfeit items. Problems arise in 2 different manners:
  1. DILUTED & CONFUSING: A no-name item is packaged or designed to look exactly or almost exactly like the authentic product (color, shape, similar packaging, etc.)  Consumers are led to believe that they are buying the real thing at a cheap price
  2. OUTRIGHT COUNTERFEIT: A no-name item purports to be the authentic item and labels itself using the name and logo of the authentic item.
The pictures below depict how inferior, illegal counterfeits are designed to look identical to authentic items. Do not purchase the counterfeits to resell!





Compare these 2 boxes and you will see that they look almost identical. The box on the left is missing the Apple logo and contains a counterfeit cable. It infringes upon the real packaging design and leads consumers the think they are purchasing the real deal.

LEFT: Counterfeit box-missing logo, but otherwise looks like the real one
MIDDLE: Counterfeit Lightning Cable in a "China Bag"
RIGHT: Authentic box with Apple logo

With no offense intended to our overseas friends, the truth of the matter is that 80% of all counterfeit products are imported from China. Many of these items are not packaged in branded boxes, but come in clear, unlabeled bags. When we see allegedly branded items in these bags, we suspect the merchandise as being fake, since no licensing or authentic product information is present. 
More on packaging and labeling in another guide.
Box of counterfeit Apple chargers in China Bags
Box of counterfeit Lightning Cables in China Bags


Wednesday, August 7, 2013


A flea market is a small business community comprised of even smaller businesses and individual vendors. The vast majority of merchandise sold at flea markets falls into the typical beloved categories:  resale items, antiques, collectibles, vintage items, furniture, weird stuff, crafts, books, jewelry, clothing, accessories, junque, overstock, store returns, produce, gourmet food.

However, the heavy presence of expensive smart phones and electronics in the global marketplace has caused the parallel appearance of 3 versions of potential problem merchandise:

  1. Generic components- possibly allowed
  2. Compatible components-possible allowed
  3. Evil, infringing counterfeits-not allowed
Sometimes a very fine line distinguishes between these three version and unfortunately, it is up to us to analyze and determine an item's appropriateness for our market. Sometimes we are able to consult with an individual company to glean quick information, but often we do this the long way

Port of Seattle
Wolff's continually researches the latest products, news and lawsuits and sets parameters for which type of merchandise is allowed or banned. This may change weekly!

Most counterfeits arrive on freight barges from China at ports on the east (New York) or west (California, Washington, Alaska) coasts. If not found and seized by customs at those points in the pipeline, counterfeits eventually work their way into the middle of the country-namely Chicago, which has the third highest presence of counterfeits in the country. We subscribe to Google alerts for many licensed brands in order to predict what items may be coming our way and are hopefully ready with starter information should the item appear at our market.

When I say appear, the item may attempt to trickle in as a single low quality fake. For example, we were ready for the appearance of counterfeit ____ phone cases, and were able to determine which items didn't belong. Those vendors who attempted to sell were quickly evicted.

While we fight counterfeits, our scale is obviously a small dot in the equation. Here are examples of larger scale efforts. Until the sources along the counterfeit pipeline are stopped, fakes will trickle into the country and end up at independently owned stores, mall kiosks, warehouses, ebay, craigslist, pop-up stores, "a guy" and flea markets. I will update this site as more news appears.

  1. US and China working together:
  2. Apple to take back and exchange counterfeit chargers: 
  3. Facebook bans counterfeit sites: 
  4. Google's Trademark and Counterfeit Policy:

Monday, July 8, 2013

Saving Stickman From Counterfeit Products

Born: 9:23am 7/8/2013  Passed: 9:25am 7/8/2013  
Stickman Jones recently met his demise in an experiment gone wrong. Investigators are currently looking into possible deceitful behavior by overseas counterfeiters or simple human error by Wolff's Research Zone Team members. Involved in the incident were one lab gorilla named Charlie, a standby fireman named Tom and a doctor named Jerry.

On Monday, July 8, 2013 at 9:24am CST, Stickman Jones was drawn, placed inside a suspected counterfeit LifeProof iPhone case and pushed off a cutting board platform into approximately 3" of lukewarm water.

All signs pointed to the fact that Mr. Jones did not know how to swim. First of all, he was made of paper and drawn with water soluble marker.

Plus, according to witnesses, just before the push-off, Jones was heard saying, "I can't swim! Hope this case is waterproof!" This statement was either ignored or misunderstood by Lab Gorilla Charlie, who proceeded to push Stickman off the platform. Charlie's only comment after the tragedy was a tearful grunt.

Furthermore, some witnesses claim that an unidentified human hand seemed to have "appeared from nowhere" and forcefully submerged the case  for several seconds. This fact has not been verified, as no photographic evidence exists. As the case chamber filled with water, Stickman's pleas for help apparently went unheard as Firemen Tom and Dr. Jerry stood cluelessly by. Witnesses say that Tom and Jerry "took no action and looked almost statue-like" during the whole ordeal.

Perhaps the outcome for poor Stickman would have been better had he been given the option of a backup oxygen tank. We know he would still be with us today had he been placed in an authentic waterproof LifeProof case.

Attempts to revive Stickman were of no help. He was soaked and had already begun to dissolve by the time he was removed from the case only 1 minute later.

We'll miss you Stickman.  You were a good, brave, doodle. You sacrificed your short life, just to prove that counterfeits are not only inferior, but dangerous.

Counterfeits deceive consumers and contribute to billions of dollars in lost revenue for legitimate companies. Authentic LifeProof cases are high quality, sturdy and "water proof, dirt proof, snow proof and shock proof". This evil counterfeit case indicated poor workmanship, a shoddy seal, and misspellings on the package. It took the life of our dearly departed Stickman. Needless to say, it will not protect your expensive smartphone.

Because of the danger that counterfeits pose to friends like Stickman Jones and to your trusty iPhone, LifeProof cases are now banned at Wolff's Flea Markets.

Images and brand names used for the purposes of discussion and education. Trademarks belong to LifeProof. Wolff's Flea Market prohibits the sale of counterfeit products in all categories. Research is ongoing.

For most updated rules and restrictions, please visit

Visit the official LifeProof site.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


This blog post contains excerpts from an article written by Frank S. Murray, Jr. For the full article, please follow the link below.

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, "No type of company or organization has been untouched by counterfeit electronic parts. Even the most reliable of parts sources have discovered counterfeit parts within their inventories."

A United States Senate Armed Services Committee's ("SASC") investigation concluded that "unvetted independent distributors are the source of the overwhelming majority of suspect parts in the defense supply chain.  ...As a result of the two-year SASC investigation, the SASC's Report announced eight key conclusions:

Conclusion 1: China is the dominant source country for counterfeit electronics parts that are infiltrating the defense supply chain. 
 Flea Market Note: Most counterfeits in every consumer category that we encounter are from China.
Conclusion 2: The Chinese government has failed to take steps to stop counterfeiting operations that are carried out openly in that country.
 Flea Market Note: The counterfeit products are shipped to the US, pass through customs and        ultimately end up at independently owned stores, kiosks and flea markets.
Conclusion 3: The Department of Defense lacks knowledge of the scope and impact of counterfeit parts on critical defense systems.
Flea Market Note: To grow our knowledge, we must conduct ongoing research regarding brands, sources, laws, retail and wholesale merchandise differences, consultation with experts.
Conclusion 4: The use of counterfeit electronic parts in defense systems can compromise performance and reliability, risk national security, and endanger the safety of military personnel.
Flea Market Note: Most counterfeit products are cheap, defective, fragile and other-wise short-lived in their usability. Ultimately a waste of the consumer's money.
Conclusion 5: Permitting contractors to recover costs incurred as a result of their own failure to detect counterfeit electronic parts does not encourage the adoption of aggressive counterfeit avoidance and detection programs.
Flea Market Note: We just keep plugging along to learn how to detect counterfeits of all types and quality levels.
Conclusion 6: The defense industry's reliance on unvetted independent distributors to supply electronics parts for critical military applications results in unacceptable risks to national security and the safety of U.S. military personnel.
Flea Market Note: Independent merchandise distributors are local independently owned stores and online and brick and mortar wholesalers who sell a combination of real and counterfeit products.
Conclusion 7: Weaknesses in the testing regime for electronic parts create vulnerabilities that are exploited by counterfeits.
Flea Market Note: Our testing regime includes gathering a "database collection" of both real and counterfeit products and comparing the similarities and differences. We visit and consult at retail stores, websites and other secret locations in order to get the "whole story" about a particular suspicious item. Sometimes it is a "quick tell", sometimes it takes more involved detective work.
Conclusion 8: The defense industry routinely failed to report cases of suspect counterfeit parts, putting the integrity of the defense supply chain at risk.
Flea Market Note: To maintain our integrity as a family-friendly venue for small business entrepreneurs, we adhere to a strict Anti-Counterfeit Policy.

To read more about Wolff's Flea Market's counterfeit policy, go to 
To read other educational articles written by Wolff's, CLICK HERE

Monday, May 13, 2013


Counterfeit iPhone chargers:
Warning: May contain green dots and model number A1265
White & multi-color
Last seen inside an “iP” box, clear wrapper or loosely displayed

Thursday, April 25, 2013

WORLD INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY DAY: There's a Bust for That Counterfeit!

For the most up to date information and full texts of Wolff's Flea Market Merchandise Rules, please visit
Updated 8/28/2013

Who would have thought that my obsessive topic of late actually has its own holiday? April 26, 2013 is World Intellectual Property Day, a day to raise awareness of the ongoing global counterfeiting saga. 

But did you know Saturdays and Sundays are Wolff's Intellectual Property Days, and Mondays through Fridays are Wolff's Intellectual Property Research Days? Seriously. Every day my inbox is filled with assorted articles on counterfeit merchandise seizures from around the world. As I keep up with current trends and share my information, realize that I am not a lawyer and don't pretend to know everything.  However, obsessive topic disorder (if there is such a thing), 3.00 reading glasses, coffee, and a good internet connection keep the research and learning going and going... Out of this research we at Wolff's discuss  a summary of my information and try to make the best decisions possible as to which merchandise is appropriate and legal for sale at our markets. Believe us when we say we want vendors to make money and sell as much as possible, but if it is counterfeit, it must go. Images used for purposes of education and discussion. Trademarks belong to individual companies. Below are lists of a variety of lawsuits and busts. Check back for news and verdict outcomes as they become available.

Bust Photo: 3 Orange County Vendors charged with selling counterfeit goods
I see: Dr. Dre, Louis Vuitton, Perfumes, Jewelry (ICE)
What is Intellectual Property (IP)? According to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) website,
"Intellectual property (IP) refers to creations of the mind: inventions, literary and artistic works, symbols, names, images, and designs used in commerce."
There are two types of IP:
  1. Industrial property: trademarks, inventions, designs - Example: patterns on purses like Coach's CC 
  2. Copyright: literary and artistic works, books, music, paintings, photographs, movies, broadcasts
So, in honor of World Intellectual Property Day, I bring you links to some of the more prominent busts that have occurred in a variety of scenarios and merchandise categories. 

"Approximately $500,000 worth of counterfeit clothing, accessories, DVDs
and CDs seizedat a Winnepeg Store.  (Manitoba RCMP News)
INDEPENDENTLY OWNED STORE BUSTUnfortunately, some stores are a mixed shopping bag. You cannot always trust your local independently owned small store to supply you with authentic wholesale products. These stores can order and import whatever they want, then sell it to you to bring to a flea market. Likewise, we cannot always trust receipts you show us from these types of stores. Maybe we need their receipts?  Fortunately, these same stores can also sell you good products for resale. You must do your own research and know what you are getting.
  1. Chicago Store Bust: 
  6. Felony charged filed:
  7. Independently owned store in a mall:
BIG BOX STORE BUST- It's true, even big box stores are not immune to alleged counterfeit scandals. Litigation outcome is pending.
IMPORTER BUST- Headway is made when importers and middlemen can be caught before the counterfeit items trickle down to streets and stores.

PURSE PARTY BUST - On the surface, purse parties seem to be fun "girls night out", but counterfeits are counterfeits, wherever they are sold.


  1. Big news-NFL shuts down 1500 counterfeit China websites:
  2. Chanel takes action:
  4. Shoes website:
  1. Sold Counterfeit UGG boots on eBay:

  1. Right here in Chicago-Bears, Blackhawks, hats, jerseys:
  2. 2 Men Plead Guilty:
Illegal NFL embroidery machine
(Chicago Sun-Times)
  1. Sold Counterfeit Dr. Dre Headphones on Craiglist:
MALL KIOSK BUST-That's right, you can't always trust the legitimacy of merchandise sold at independently operated mall kiosks. Sorry. And we cannot always trust the receipts you show us.
    Mall Kiosk Bust for Counterfeit Perfume
    (The Enterprise)
  1. Counterfeit phone accessories:
  2. Sold counterfeit perfume:
  3. Notes from the field:  When visiting the local mall, you are sure to find a few counterfeit items for sale in the independently or small-chain operated kiosks. You will find original merchandise as well. How can this be? We don't know! What do you think? Is it the "independently owned store effect"? To date, we have seen the following counterfeits at mall kiosks: all brands of designer purses, Hello Kitty jewelry, Chanel jewelry, counterfeit Apple earbuds, cases, panels, chargers and  cables. 
  4. Counterfeit Apple products:
  5. More on the kiosk bust: Picture:
  1. Customer Broker lawsuit: Coach won $8million award in a case involving a "customs brokerage firm". That's the middle man who gets the counterfeit items past customs and into the hands of the next level. This is a landmark case.
  2. Seized sports jerseys, hat, purses at Los Angeles Airport:
    Selection of Counterfeit Goods seized at LAX (Brittany Muray Photographer)
  2. Sold counterfeit purses, electronics, cosmetics:
  3. Man caught with counterfeit goods in his van pleads guilty: 
WAREHOUSE BUST-All the counterfeit goods that make it past customs need to be stored somewhere.
  1. Apple's exchange program for counterfeit chargers:
  2. Otterbox wins a case:
Take this counterfeit aptitude test. What is your score?

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


Updated 9/16/13
Before you begin, I will spoil the ending by telling you that for every cool item listed below, there lurks its illegal, counterfeit doppelganger, hoping to lure unsuspecting consumers into an evil web of decadent deceit. I have seen these wretched real-wannabes. In person. Online. At privately owned "licensed" stores. At the mall. In kiosks. At purse parties. At resale shops. At wholesalers. On eBay. Occasionally at big box stores. And, yes, I have even seen counterfeits at Wolff's Flea Market.

What?! Wolff's Flea Market doesn't allow counterfeits! Of course we don't. But you are also not allowed to rob a bank, drive over the speed limit, sell drugs or use child labor to manufacture counterfeit products. Crime happens. Counterfeiting happens. All authorities can do is try to control it and get to the sources to stop its spread. It is a daunting and ongoing task for every agency. We work our wolf-tails off trying to follow trends, educate vendors and keep counterfeits out of our market. We think our open, transparent patrol system works to keep it at bay, but the evil wannabe floats around our bubble? As soon as we know, it must go.

Counterfeiters attempt to cash in on high-end, licensed and designer goods when they create cheap, inferior fakes. As long as manufacturers, importers, wholesalers, a guy, independently owned stores with access to real and fake items exist- and are not stopped at the various "checkpoints" along the way- then counterfeits will exist, remain and attempt to take hold.

According to the April 13, 2013 Crain's Chicago Business article by Brian Dukerschein, Chicago is the number 3 city in the US for the presence and sales of counterfeit luxury goods; preceded by NewYork and Los Angeles. It is all around us here and world-wide. We attempt to be a counterfeit-free bubble in the midst of all this madness. Read our editorial response to this article here:

I am listing brand names for the purposes of education and discussion. Trademarks belong to the individual companies. This list is not fully inclusive and indicates trends we see at our market and other area venues (current as of the last update of this article). While we have not seen all of these items at the market, we are prepared for their possible arrival. We are not legal experts, but conduct ongoing research in all areas of counterfeiting to fight the presence of counterfeits at Wolff's Flea Market.

Wolff's Banned Merchandise Collage
There seems to be nothing changing faster than the technology available to us. Using smart phones and computers, we expect information, tech quality and infinite other concepts to be instantly accessible to us. Part of the joy we feel is that new tech toys are continually introduced to make our lives better, easier, cooler.

I share with you a list of some of the hottest tech items on the market. Designer Handbags have taken a back seat here as I believe that Tech is the number 1 counterfeit category seen at our market.  We have even found designer handbag logos on counterfeit cell cases! Unless noted, authentic versions of the below brands are allowed at the market, but remain strictly monitored and may require documentation.

Counterfeit Otterbox cases are
swimming into the Chicago area.
  1. Beats by Dr. Dre - Because of counterfeiting, we never allow this brand to be sold - new/used/real/fake. We are also aware that other high-end headphone brands are on the way from the coasts and beyond. Counterfeit Dr Dre headphones are the most widely seized items at UK customs:
  2. All things related to Apple iPhones - cases, chargers, earbuds, inserts +.
  3. OtterBox smart phone cases-as of 5/26- this brand is banned at our market.
  4. Life Proof smart phone cases
  5. Speck smart phone cases
  6. Samsung accessories
  7. Sony gaming accessories
Due to our policy, we rarely see new counterfeit designer handbags. However, distributers are still selling our vendors bags with "diluted" logos. See the blog post: Oops! Trademark Dilution Explained. Most of the bags we find are onesies or twosies of cheap, used counterfeits found at local resale shops, estate sales, etc. These are also not allowed. Below is a list of commonly counterfeited designer purse brands.
  1. Coach - never allowed - new/used/real/fake/diluted
  2. Louis Vuitton - never allowed - new/used/real/fake/diluted
  3. Gucci- never allowed - new/used/real/fake/diluted
  4. G - brand purses are diluted Coach, Guess or Gucci and not allowed
  5. Burberry - Guess what! You may see Burberry-like plaid items like car seats or scarves for sale at your local big-box store!
  6. Dolce & Gabbana
  7. Prada
  8. Kate Spade
  9. Michael Kors
  10. Tory Burch
Although we rarely see a volume of new counterfeit designer sunglasses (same brands as purses), distributers are still selling our vendors a few styles with "diluted" logos. See the blog post: Oops! Trademark Dilution Explained. As of the writing of this article comparative brands are allowed as long as they do not bear designer logos. For the most part, the sunglasses that claim to be "our version of____" comply with trademarked logo rules. Sometimes the manufacturers get a little too close to the real logo and the vendor must remove a few pairs of diluted styles.  "DG" is also allowed as of the writing of this article. DG is its own brand with a trademark on file with the US Patent Office and no pending litigation that we can find as of the writing of this article. DG is not purporting to be D&G- Dolce & Gabbana. Confused? We swim in a very deep cauldron. What applies to one type of product does not always apply to another. You cannot sell a comparative purse brand.

Certain brands are more prevalent in counterfeit circles. If we see these brands of clothing that are new, we will assume them to be counterfeit and not allow them.

    The North Face Outdoor Gear
  1. True Religion Jeans
  2. Polo Ralph Lauren Shirts
  3. Lacoste Polo Shirts
  4. Northface Jackets - fleece Denali
  5. UGGS boots
  6. Monster -Fox hats, t-shirts and hoodies
  1. New Era - sports caps 
  2. American Needle sports caps
  3. Sports jerseys 
  4. Nike shoes - Air Force 1 and any other new releases
  5. Timberland work boots
  1. Hello Kitty hair accessories and jewelry
  2. Chanel jewelry
    Boo Hiss for these $5 counterfeit
    Chanel earrings at brdfahion wholesale
  3. Tiffany jewelry
  4. Licensed cartoon character accessories
  5. MAC cosmetics
We are often asked about perfume dealers. First of all, realize that perfumes bearing "Compare to" labels are legal and allowed. We believe we have sifted out the obvious counterfeit guys and continue to monitor current vendors, research sources, receipts and consult with experts. You will see only a small handful of perfume vendors at our market who we currently believe (as of this update) to have legitimate documentation about their products' authenticity. We do ask occasional vendors to pack up and leave the market if they do not have appropriate paperwork. This research is ongoing.

CDs and DVDs
New releases, home-made copies, multiple recordings in one copies and otherwise illegal copies are monitored. We have been educated by representatives of the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) and keep a close eye on these products. Occasionally people who clean out homes may have a mixed batch of used items: often home-made recordings. We educate and expect them to remove what doesn't belong.

Vendors, don't despair! Your suppliers also have legitimate, non-infringing, generic items that are acceptable and legal. You just need to do your homework.

Ok, that's all for now. Let's have some flea market fun!

Monday, April 15, 2013


Wolff's Flea Market response is to Brian Dukerschein’s April 13 article, "Counterfeit Luxury Goods Invade Chicago". (In order to read the full Crain's article, you will need to register for free at

My name is Sharon Wolff. I am Creative Media and Merchandise Consultant for Wolff’s Flea Market, Chicago area. Our family-owned outdoor market has operated at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont since 1991. We also operate an indoor market in Palatine.

I am writing to several Crain's staff in response to the aforementioned article with the intent that this message be read and understood by many in the Chicago community.

Wolff's Counterfeit Cartoon
First, realize that not all flea markets tolerate counterfeit products. Wolff’s public stance is that counterfeit merchandise is never allowed. We work diligently to create a legitimate, family friendly venue for antiques, collectibles, bargain shopping, resale and new merchandise.  We have been told that given regulations and reputation, counterfeit vendors avoid us.

I have personally addressed and educated other flea market owners at the National Flea Market Association Conference regarding the issues of counterfeiting. Opinions stated in this commentary reflect the views of Wolff’s Flea Market. We are not legal experts. Ongoing product research is an independent venture that has resulted in the development of working procedures to combat counterfeiting at Wolff’s flea Markets.

Please refer our website, rules and several Wolff's Flea Market Blog articles written by me that attest to the fact that we take this issue very seriously.

Wolff’s Flea Market is wholly aware that categorical counterfeiting is a worldwide problem. We imagine an infinite amount of imported and locally manufactured counterfeit products that cycle the economy after bypassing numerous checkpoints (customs, ports, websites, alleged licensed wholesalers, a guy, etc.) along the way before trickling down to potential all-you-can eat buffets at local flea markets. We recognize that there are many agencies and authorities assigned to this task. In reality, not everything is intercepted or seized. It then becomes our responsibility to look for it at the flea market...

For us, as soon as we know, it must go. We closely monitor merchandise, and enforce strict procedures for our “Prevention-Identification & Intervention-Education-Research-Counterfeits-Everywhere” (PIERCE) Program. Research is an ongoing race and parameters of analysis are ever changing as counterfeiters attempt to “improve” upon their never-ending chain of products. I study current trends, commonly counterfeited brands, seizures, arrests, read books, subscribe to brand name news and counterfeit alerts. I consult designers, investigators, experts and visit retail stores, wholesalers, online sites and more. I write informative detailed reports. We have a growing list of specific brands that are never allowed to be sold at our markets.

It is critically important to realize what I encounter during “Research Trips” to privately owned “authorized” stores, wholesalers, kiosks and pop-up stores at malls. These ventures activate my “Merchandise Patrol” mentality. Sadly, while intending to study legitimate products, I CONSISTENTLY FIND COUNTERFEITS ALONGSIDE THE REAL ITEMS. Wolff’s recognizes that counterfeits are prevalent and unchecked in a variety of the above places. Even big box stores are not immune to the problem of counterfeiting or the occasional presence of unlicensed product.

At our flea market, we do our best to keep counterfeit merchandise out. However, as long as it enters the country, as long as fakes are created and re-created, as long as it is accessible, our job will not end. Nor will the jobs of any authorities on all levels. We get it, we are with you in this battle, so please do not generalize that all flea markets are havens for counterfeit merchandise.

Beyond the fight, one of our primary goals is to educate our vendors. As a special education teacher for 8 years I understand that people acquire information in different ways. I teach our full-time merchandise patrol staff and vendors using a combination of written materials, sample merchandise (real and counterfeit), and many photo examples. Once educated, we hope to believe that vendors will be able to make appropriate decisions regarding their sources and products. 99% of our vendors are agreeable and open to frank, honest learning and communication. They must learn the realistic legal dangers to themselves for selling counterfeits. I also create and distribute pictorial educational reports and news articles of arrests. If a vendor purposely chooses to bring counterfeit products to the market at a future time, then he or she is immediately and permanently ejected.

Pounding the pavement, fighting counterfeits, one item at a time.