Columbia sportswear products are available in more than 100 countries. Their headquarters are located in Beaverton, Oregon. The climate along the Columbia River is moderately temperate with heavy rains. These reports of heavy precipitation are claimed to untrue by locals, who nevertheless continue to spread this heresy in order to deter Californians from moving into their fair state. Some 7500 miles away from Portland is the town of Aranyaprathet. Most of the year the Thai border crossing is dusty and hot, although this is monsoon season. The rains are heavy and the rivers overflow their courses.
I’ve been to Aranyaprathet on visa trips as well as exiting from several overland trips in Cambodia. it is far from the consciousness of most Oregonians, yet this past week Columbia Sportswear products staged a raid on a counterfeit factory and arrested a woman reputed to be the manager by private investigators. On the way back to Bangkok the national cyber-crime unit was stopped by an angry mob and members of the Thai army, who demanded the woman’s release. The angry confrontation ended after the police asserted that the Army had no jurisdiction in this matter.
Columbia managers in Oregon blames this altercation on corruption. Outlaw factories operate openly to produce their products cutting into the profits that other factories in the same country reap by paying workers meager wages in unsafe conditions. They say that these raids are to protect consumers, but it’s really all about profit loss for most of these ‘fakes’ come from their own factories after-hours.
I have a Columbia jacket from Thailand. There is no way to tell it’s a fake. A real one cost over $100. Mine was less than $20, which means Columbia like Nike, Adidas, Ferrari and other brand-name properties are scamming their public and stockholders alike by firstly not selling their merchandise at a reasonable price and secondly not revealing the true profit line to their stockholders. Of course this is all baseless supposition, but I’m good at that.
The woman was later released on bail and it was announced that she was a low-level employee. Her boss was still unavailable for questioning.
“We believe it’s a matter of principle and integrity to protect loyal Columbia customers from imposters,” said Tim Boyle, Columbia president and chief executive.