4 Ways You Didn't Realize Online Stores Are Screwing You

#2. Clothing Brands Sell "Discounted" Low-Quality Knockoffs of Their Own Clothes

Anyone who spends a significant amount of time shopping online has experienced that magical moment when you find a coveted product at an inexplicably discounted price and whip out your credit card so fast that your monitor is pulverized by the sonic boom. If what you're buying is clothes, you probably found the offer at one of those offshoot sites where the big brands regularly shave hundreds of dollars off their regular prices, seemingly out of the kindness of their hearts.

Saks Fifth Avenue
Sure, she's a little skinny, but "Rag & Bone" seems a bit mean.

However, these discounts are usually bullshit. While the dress above is labeled at a 62 percent discount, bringing your mouse up to the price box elicits a pop-up that says, "The strikethrough price reflects the regular price at which we've normally sold that item ..." which makes sense, but pay attention to this part: "... or, if we have not previously sold an item, the price at which that item (or a comparable item) is normally sold in the market."

Translated into non-bullshit English, this basically means: "This item kinda looks like a much more expensive and higher quality one that we sell at the real store, so we're just going to pretend it's discounted, even though it's an extremely cheap imitation." Of course, you only realize that after your impulse buy has arrived and you get toxic rashes from touching the fabric. Some brands even distinguish their self-knockoffs through a small mark most people will miss -- like Banana Republic, which puts three dots on the tag of the shittier version.

"Which represents three more than the number of fucks we give."

And yes, we know outlet stores have been selling low-quality rejects from the main stores for decades, but there's a big difference when it's online: You can't reach out to touch the dress and realize it's actually made of cellophane. You're going by a picture that looks just like the real thing. It's much easier to see that something is off when you're standing in a shady, non-air-conditioned store with a sales clerk who smells of hash, as opposed to browsing through a perfectly functional website. Is it too much to ask that they make the sites look as shitty as the clothes?

#1. Urban Outfitters Steals Designs Online and Plasters Them on Their Products

Last May, stumbling upon the Urban Outfitters website in a drunken spontaneous shopping spree that would soon be regretted might have landed you on the page for this "Bambam Geo Bodycon," which sounds like the name of a Transformer, but is actually a skirt:

Urban Outfitters
"Shit ... we meant to put that in scare quotes."

We know where your eyesight immediately landed: Yes, the nice geometrical pattern on the skirt, which for $60 better damn well include a fully stocked mini-fridge sewn inside. But despite its hypnotic appeal, buying that item from Urban Outfitters would have contributed only to extending the unsurprising phenomenon of stealing on the Internet to the real world. Why? Because Urban Outfitters outright ripped off that design.

via dailydot.com
They were basically caught lying out of their asses.

The same exact design was originally created by artist James Soares, who sells clothes and other stuff on the site Society6. When a loyal commenter notified him about Urban Outfitters' skirt last May, he promptly sent a complaint. The company claimed it was an innocent accident, since the product was actually made by some of those lawless Australians, which theoretically gets them off the hook ... if it wasn't for the fact that they've been caught doing this before. And before that:

via huffingtonpost.com

And before that:

via hyperallergic.com
They also stole this poor man's sense of irony.

So if you've ever uploaded a photo of your face online, don't be surprised if it turns up on an "original" Urban Outfitters piece of clothing. If you're lucky, you may even end up decorating a model's butt.

The third part of XJ's epic science-fiction novel is out now on Amazon. The first $0.99 novella can be found here, with Part 2 out here. Or leave a review and get a free copy! Poke him on Twitter and follow him on Facebook.

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