Culture

I Took The Bait – Instagram Ads, Fake Sunglasses, and Authenticity

It was on a Sunday morning when I received a text from my brother that Ray-Ban sunglasses were only $9.99 via a promotion on Instagram. Through text we questioned the legitimacy of the authenticity of the product and service. The fact that Instagram was promoting it, seemed legitimate enough to him. That helped win me over. I clicked on the link to the website, and everything looked legit too, the logos, the titles, the vibe. The only questionable moment was the twenty-dollar shipping. That’s usually means international shipping. Alas, by this time I was already convinced and confirming my purchase of three “Ray-Ban” sunglasses, Wayfares of course.After my purchase, I got no email confirmation. Hours passed. I checked my credit card statement online. It wasn’t charged to Ray-Ban or Luxottica but to an Asian company overseas whose name I couldn’t even trace through Google.I felt gypped. Maybe my credit card would be stolen. Crap. But half of this whole thing was my fault for pulling the trigger so fast.

Similar to the Ad I Clicked

In order to redeem myself immediately, I Googled “Ray-Ban” to see what the official home page looks like and see what their online shopping experience feels like.

Yeah, it was nothing like what I just went through. It was like walking into the nicest mall of Beverly Hills compared to shopping in the back alleys of downtown L.A.

To redeem myself, I impulsively bought real Ray-Ban Waferers that cost way more than $9.99. Also, the shipping and two-day delivery were free. Oh yeah, and I got an email confirmation right away.

My knock-offs arrived a few weeks in a smashed cardboard. I decided to do a compare and contrast with the real thing. Again, if you’ve ever been to Santee Alley in downtown L.A. it’s full of the fake stuff that appears real. This process is me just saving myself the trip with these “Fay-Bans” as my wife calls them while shaking her head at me.But I did learn a lot through this process of trying to look good for cheap, a little too cheap:

  • Cheap Thrills Are Fun to Pursue – While shopping for $9.99 Ray-Bans was fun, deep down I knew that this was too good to be true, but I took the bait anyway. Plus, my brother was saying the sale was only for the day. Wrong. Even though these are “cheaper” sunglasses, the quality, the look, the comfort, and gosh, the freakin lenses give me a headache, I ended up paying more in the end about how it made me feel, especially with that $20 shipping. Cheap thrills can be fun, but they don’t last.
    Smashed cardboard box from overseas
    “Fay-Bans” with case, cloth, Luxottica logo
  • Authenticity Is Known Through Experience – Seeing the difference between the real and fake Ray-Bans makes me really appreciate the quality, service and good feeling of wearing an authentic product. But I wouldn’t know that difference until I fully experience holding and wearing them. This allows me to value them and want more things in life to be authentic. When my knock-off sunglasses arrived in the mail, I took a quick glance at them and almost laughed at how much effort went into their production. I also SMH-ed at how I gave up my money so easily for them.
    Individual Bar Code and packaging for authentic product

Case, Cloth, Product Catalog, 100% UV Protection, Quality Feel
Texture of Frame and lenses are fully detailed not just painted
I’m not sure what I’ll do with the Fay-Bans. At this point I don’t know whether to put them in the donation bin or the cosplay bin. I do know, however, that the authentic Ray-Bans are for special occasions and Sunday bests. They deserve to be valued. 

Either way, there’s a time and place for cheap and the good stuff. We’ve all had bargains that we love and bargains that we dispose easily. We’ve also had times where we invest in quality and appreciate the crap out of those things. Maybe the same can be said about people relationships and how authenticity keeps us hanging around for more.

Details Details
The “R” on the fake is bigger, and the logo is farther from the lense
Real: Make and Model +Hand Made, Also Multiple hinges vs one
The look and feel of any kiosk sunglasses just painted and branded
Sharp distinguished features with clean edges

Have you had buyers remorse about something? What’s something you’ve bought that didn’t quite live up to the hype?

When’s a good time to buy cheap versus blow the bank?

Drop a comment! Would love to know your thoughts!

-Marlon
@NerdCoolture