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0562 Buying Fake Products

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Complete Transcript
Welcome to English as a Second Language Podcast number 562: Buying Fake Products.

This is English as a Second Language Podcast episode 562. I’m your host, Dr. Jeff McQuillan, coming to you from the Center for Educational Development in beautiful Los Angeles, California.

You can support our podcast by going to our website at eslpod.com and becoming a member of ESL Podcast. When you becoming a member, you get a Learning Guide for each of our current episodes that will help you improve your English even faster. If you don’t want to become a member you can send a small donation to support our work.

This episode is called “Buying Fake Products.” Let’s get started.

[start of dialogue]

Lindsay: Look at this designer bag I bought. It was such a steal!

Rafael: Let me see that. You do know that this is an imitation, not the real thing, right?

Lindsay: What do you mean? Of course it’s real.

Rafael: Where did you buy it?

Lindsay: Well, there was a guy on the street selling all of these genuine designer bags. He said he got them straight from the factory, and that’s why he could sell them at such a markdown.

Rafael: The reason he could sell it dirt cheap is because this is a knockoff. I know you’re a sucker for a bargain, but I can’t believe you fell for his line.

Lindsay: How do you know this is a knockoff? Are you an expert on women’s handbags? I still think this is real, and I’m sure I didn’t get ripped off.

Rafael: Whatever you say. As they say, there’s a sucker born every minute!

[end of dialogue]

Lindsay begins the dialogue by saying to Rafael, “Look at this designer bag I bought. It was such a steal!” A “designer” bag or a “designer” anything is something that has a particular label or brand, especially in fashion. When we’re talking about clothing if you said, “Well, that’s a designer dress made by Gucci,” that is a specific company – a specific “designer” (person who creates the piece of clothing, who designs the piece of clothing – the way it looks), and that would be a designer dress. Well, this is a designer bag. She says, “It was such a steal.” “Steal” here means a bargain, something that you got at a very low price. “Steal” has a couple of other very different meanings however; take a look at the Learning Guide for some more explanations of that word.

Rafael says, “Let me see that (give that to me so I can see it).” He says, “You do know that this is an imitation, not the real thing, right?” An “imitation” is a copy, a fake, something that is not original. If you go to Italy you can often see Roman copies of Greek original statues. Of course, the Romans had their own statues that were original, but many times they imitated the Greek statues. Those statues are imitations; they’re not the original of the statue. Well, this is an imitation designer bag; it’s not the real thing. The expression “the real thing” means the original, not a copy, not a fake.

Lindsay says, “What do you mean? Of course it’s real.” She thinks the bag she bought is, in fact, really the real thing. Rafael says, “Where did you buy it?” She says, “Well, there was a guy (a man) on the street selling all of these genuine designer bags.” So, Lindsay was walking down the street and saw a man selling bags that he said were genuine. “Genuine” (genuine) means real, not fake, the same as “the real thing.” The man said these were genuine bags. Well, of course, if you are walking down the street in a big city and someone is selling something to you like, for example, a bag made by Prada or some other designer, you probably should realize that these are not usually genuine; they are, in fact, fakes. They make it and then put the name on it, even though it isn’t the real thing.

Lindsay, however, apparently is not too smart; she says the man said he got them straight from the factory, and that’s why he could sell them at such a markdown. “To get (something) straight from (something or someone)” means directly from. I once bought a new laptop computer online, and I received the computer straight from China – straight from the factory, the place where the computer was made in China. It was sent to me internationally, directly to my house. I got it straight from the factory. Lindsay says that because this person got the bags straight from the factory he could sell them at a markdown. A “markdown” (one word) is a discount, something lower than the regular price.

Rafael says, “The reason (this man) could sell (the bags) dirt cheap is because this is a knockoff.” The expression “dirt (dirt) cheap” means very inexpensive, very cheap, at a very low cost. “Dirt” is what you find on the ground – it is the ground. If you dig down in a garden or dig in the front of your house you will have dirt. That’s the black stuff, typically, unless you live in the North Pole, in which case there is no dirt. But if you live in the North Pole, you probably can’t buy designer bags up there! Anyway, “dirt cheap” means very cheap. The reason he can sell the bags dirt cheap is because they are knockoffs. A “knockoff” (knockoff – one word) is a copy, an imitation; it’s another word for a fake. We usually use the term when we are talking about a physical object. You could also have, for example, a fake excuse or a fake reason for doing something. But if you use the word “knockoff,” you’re referring to an actual physical item, something that someone is selling that they say is original – is genuine, but isn’t.

Rafael says, “I know you’re a sucker for a bargain, but I can’t believe you fell for his line.” A couple of expressions there: first “to be a sucker for (something)” means to be a person who likes something very much, and because they like it so much they can be easily fooled – easily tricked into thinking that you’re getting this thing, even though it isn’t real, even though normal people would not necessarily think it’s real. “To be a sucker for” can also mean you like something very much, or when you are presented with this thing you can’t resist. For example, I’m a sucker for new technology. If there’s some new thing out there – new device, I need to have it. I want to have it; I’m a sucker for those sorts of things. Lindsay is a sucker for a bargain. A “bargain” is same as a “steal,” it’s a very good price on something. Rafael says he can’t believe Lindsay fell for the man’s line. “To fall for (something)” means to be fooled by someone, or to be tricked by something. Men often fall for women who are beautiful and smile at them and laugh at their jokes. Here, “to fall for” would mean to fall in love, but generally it means to be tricked. I’m not saying that falling in love is the same as being fooled, though wise men say only fools fall in love. I think I should write a song about that! Anyway, Rafael says that Lindsay fell for this man’s line. The word “line” here means something that someone said to you usually to trick you, to fool you, to get you to believe something that isn’t true. “Line” has lots of different meanings in English however; look at the Learning Guide for some more explanations.

So Lindsay says, “How do you know this (bag) is a knockoff? Are you an expert on women’s handbags? I think this is real, and I’m sure I didn’t get ripped off.” “To get ripped (ripped) off” means to get cheated, to have lost money because you were tricked or fooled. Rafael says, “Whatever you say.” This is an informal phrase used when you don’t believe what the other person is saying, but you do not want to continue arguing or fighting about it. He says, “As they say, there’s a sucker born every minute!” “As they say” is a way of saying this is a common expression, this is a common saying. And there is a common expression, a common saying in English “there’s a sucker born every minute.” A “sucker” is someone who is easily fooled – is easily tricked. “There’s a sucker born every minute” means there are lots of people who are suckers – who are easily tricked. This expression is usually “attributed to,” people usually say it was first said by, the person who founded, or started, one of the first circuses in the United States, a man by the name of P.T. Barnum. A “circus” is a performance where you have animals and people doing interesting tricks. P.T. Barnum’s circus is still around in the United States; you can still go see it. Now it’s called Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey’s Circus. I used to see it every year when I was a child.

Now let’s listen to the dialogue, this time at a normal speed.

[start of dialogue]

Lindsay: Look at this designer bag I bought. It was such a steal!

Rafael: Let me see that. You do know that this is an imitation, not the real thing, right?

Lindsay: What do you mean? Of course it’s real.

Rafael: Where did you buy it?

Lindsay: Well, there was a guy on the street selling all of these genuine designer bags. He said he got them straight from the factory, and that’s why he could sell them at such a markdown.

Rafael: The reason he could sell it dirt cheap is because this is a knockoff. I know you’re a sucker for a bargain, but I can’t believe you fell for his line.

Lindsay: How do you know this is a knockoff? Are you an expert on women’s handbags? I still think this is real, and I’m sure I didn’t get ripped off.

Rafael: Whatever you say. As they say, there’s a sucker born every minute!

[end of dialogue]

Don’t fall for one of the imitation English podcasts out there; get the real thing, with the genuine scripts written by our own Dr. Lucy Tse.

From Los Angeles, California, I’m Jeff McQuillan. Thank you for listening. Come back and listen to us next time on ESL Podcast.

English as a Second Language Podcast is written and produced by Dr. Lucy Tse, hosted by Dr. Jeff McQuillan, copyright 2010 by the Center for Educational Development.

Glossary
designer – with a particular label or brand, especially in fashion

* Why would you pay $200 for a pair of designer jeans when regular jeans cost just $25?

steal – a bargain; something that offers very good value for a small amount of money; something that was sold at a very low price

* At just $55 each night, getting a room at this four-star hotel is a steal!

imitation – a copy; fake; not an original

* Chantrelle doesn’t have enough money to buy a fur coat, so she bought an imitation fur coat instead

the real thing – an original; not a copy or a fake; what something actually claims to be

* I know that a lot of websites are lying when they say they’ll help you become a millionaire in just a few weeks, but this one is the real thing!

genuine – real; not fake; original

* Is that a genuine diamond ring, or is it cubic zirconium?

straight from – directly from; without any intermediary or middleman

* Mark says he heard it straight from the CEO: we’re all getting a 5% raise this year.

markdown – discount; a reduction from the normal selling price

* At the end of the winter, you can find great markdowns on winter jackets in most department stores.

dirt cheap – extremely inexpensive; at a very low cost

* If they’re selling a car dirt cheap, there’s probably something wrong with it.

knockoff – a copy; an imitation; something that is being presented as if it were real or original, but it really isn’t, especially in fashion

* Is that a Gucci handbag, or is it a knockoff?

a sucker for (something) – a person who likes something very much and can easily be tricked into thinking that he or she is getting that thing even when it isn’t real, or can easily be convinced to buy something

* Heather is a sucker for new technology and it’s really easy for salespeople to get her to buy new things.

bargain – a good deal; something that offers very good value for a small amount of money; something that was sold at a very low price

* The grocery store is selling mangos for just $0.20 each – what a bargain!

to fall for – to be tricked by someone or something

* Edgar is used to having girls fall for his smooth talk and compliments, but he’s not a very nice person.

line – something that someone says, usually to trick another person or to get another person to do what one wants that person to do

* For years, Kryzstoff has been making money by using the same line, telling people that his brother has been arrested unfairly and he needs their money to help set him free.

ripped off – cheated; having lost money because one was tricked

* We were ripped off by a taxi driver who charged $30 for a ride that normally costs just $7.50.

whatever you say – an informal phrase used when one does not believe what another person is saying, but doesn’t want to continue arguing about it

* - That’s why I think the Republicans should win the next elections.

* - Whatever you say. Let’s change the subject. We’ll never agree.

there’s a sucker born every minute – an informal phrase meaning that many people can be tricked very easily

* You actually believed him when he said he would pay you back? There’s a sucker born every minute. He never pays anyone back when he borrows money.

Comprehension Questions
1. Which of these would be the real thing?
a) An imitation bag.
b) A genuine bag.
c) A knockoff bag.

2. Which of these would be a steal?
a) A designer item.
b) A bargain.
c) A rip-off.

Answers at bottom.

What Else Does It Mean?
steal

The word “steal,” in this podcast, means a bargain, or something that has a low price and offers very good value for a small amount of money: “We paid just $100,000 for this beautiful home. What a steal!” Or, “Enya is really good at finding steals online.” As a verb, “to steal” means to rob, or to take something that belongs to someone else without his or her permission: “Have you ever stolen anything from a store?” Or, “She called the police to report that someone had stolen her laptop.” The phrase “to steal (one’s) heart” means to make someone fall in love with oneself: “Ellery stole her heart, but then treated her very badly and she swore she’d never fall in love again.”

line

In this podcast, the word “line” means something that someone says, usually to trick another person or to get another person to do what one wants that person to do: “Did you believe that old line about his needing to go to his grandmother’s funeral? He uses that excuse at least once a year.” The phrase “hook, line, and sinker” is used to emphasize that someone was tricked by something without any idea it was a trick: “She had everyone fooled, hook, line, and sinker.” The phrase “to walk a fine line” means to find the difficult balance between two things: “As a high-powered attorney, she walks a fine line between confidence and arrogance.” Finally, the phrase “to draw the line” means to set a limit: “Normally Quentin tolerates it when his employees arrive late, but he drew the line with Martin, who didn’t come to work until 3:00 p.m.”

Culture Note
People make and sell many types of “counterfeit” (fake; false; imitation) products, trying to “cash in on” (profit from; make money on) the success of well-known “brands” (the name under which a particular company’s products are sold). Most of these counterfeit products are sold by people who try to “pass them off as” (make other people believe something that isn’t true) the real thing.

Many “consumer goods” (things that are sold to individuals, not businesses) are counterfeit. For example, if you walk down the streets of a large city, you may be met by people who offer to sell you designer “handbags” (purses) or watches for very low prices. The low price should be a “clue” (a hint; information that leads one to the truth) that these goods are counterfeit and not genuine.

Sometimes the U.S. government has “raids” (events where police try to take illegal goods away from criminals) to “seize” (take by force) counterfeit goods so that they cannot be sold. However, the people who sell those counterfeit goods are rarely punished, and many of the manufacturers are in other countries. The U.S. government is currently fighting against eBay and similar websites that allow people to sell counterfeit goods.

Finally, many criminals make counterfeit “currency” (money), printing “large bills” ($50 or $100 bills) and using them to buy things. The United States tries to “counter” (work against) counterfeit currency in two ways. First, it tries to make U.S. currency very difficult to counterfeit, for example by printing the money on special paper with special “inks” (colored liquid used for printing). Second, it tries to identify and “imprison” (put in jail) people who counterfeit currency.

Comprehension Answers
1 - b

2 - b