Biggest Ferrari Shirtseller in the World

Thailand is famous for knock-offs. I bought the complete collection of STAR TREK DVDs for less than $100. The cost in the States would have run more than $1000. My guilt was assuaged by the savings, especially since the money went to the copyright holders and not Gene Roddenberry, the creator of STAR TREK.

Throughout the 00s I used the same logic to rationalized my internet sales of F1 merchandise. My website was #1 on Google for Ferrari shirts and various other articles of interest for motorheads. My ranking resulted in a good business, but not so great as the dollar plummeted from 40 baht to 31.

I took risks to increase my profits. I shipped the merchandise from the PO. I kept the shirts at my house. My downfall came from greed. I met with several Italians about producing shirts in the 1000s. They came from Ferrari’s hometown. It was obvious that they were from the sports cars’ investigative arm. I gave them an alias and said that I wasn’t capable of producing wholesale on that scale.

This subterfuge kept them off my trail for several months, but business continued to slip.
A customer in Texas placed several orders, then announced that his credit cards were shot and asked if he could send the money via Western Union. The order was for $500. I needed the money and said yes using my real name.

Stupid, because the customer worked for Quantico LLD a private investigation firm in Bangkok.

A month later a min-van pulled up to my house and 10 police surrounded me on the street.

The Bangkok cops busted me for possession of twenty shirts.

Two farangs supervised the closing of my site and I locked up my house for processing in Bangkok.

I was screwed, for my bank account was wiped out after shipping $5000 worth of merchandise and I began to wonder what spending a week in jail would be like for a dead-broke farang, however the arresting officers never cuffed my wrists or took away my telephone. In fact they stopped on the motorway to order me a #3 dinner from KFC.

At the police station I was put into an A/Ced office. The officers asked if I wanted to watch a movie. I picked out THE GOOD THE BAD AND THE UGLY. Two cops watched it with me and I explained how Clint Eastwood was a bad hero. After process I was taken upstairs to be filmed by the national TV.

Thousands of shirts were piled against the wall. The police colonel said they were mine in Thai. I coughed and said that he must be mistaken. He looked at me and smiled conveying that this was no mistake.

These shirts belonged to someone big, for whom I was taking the fall.

Nothing is more important in Thailand than losing face or ‘nah-sia’.

Another policeman whispered, “Not worry. This only cost you $100.”

I wasn’t used to trusting a cop, but this officer took care of me. I made bail and went home that evening.

Ferrari was safe from the ravages of my website. Thai honor was redeemed and I was out on bail. I went drinking with my Bangkok friend. He was a cop. A good one. They always are when they’re your friends.

And I’ve learned my lesson.

Crime doesn’t pay unless it pays good.

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