Picture this. You wait by the mailbox for your brand spanking new iPad 2 to arrive. You carefully open the box and breathe in the intoxicating scent of Apple, then plug in the cable, sync your iPad with your iTunes account, and settle back to watch a movie. A few minutes into Despicable Me, the screen goes black. AAHH!!! You pack up your iPad, take it to the Apple store, and find out that it’s not an Apple iPad after all – it’s a KNOCKOFF!!!

It’s not so far-fetched…there are hundreds of iPad knockoffs starting as low as $30 (can I interest you in a HaiPad, an iPed, an ePad, or a WoPad?), and in China there are even counterfeit Apple Stores (and Apple “Stoers”) that blatantly imitate the real thing. Is imitation the sincerest form of flattery, or the theft of a company’s research, engineering, and marketing investments?

I showed my 6YO son (alias SuperBoy) the two photos on the right of Superman and his knockoff, “Specialman.” Yes, Specialman has a cape, boots, and industrial strength protective undergarments, but is he faster than a speeding bullet?! More powerful than a locomotive?! Is he able to leap tall buildings in a single bound?! I think not. He doesn’t even have detachable and interchangeable hands.

I asked Superboy which action figure he’d rather have and after zooming in and looking them up and down, he said he’d rather have the one on the left. Why? “Because he’s bigger and stronger, and he looks more like Superman.” Duh. Maybe it’s just me, but Specialman looks a lot like Rambo.

The Cambridge University Press defines a knockoff as “a cheap copy of a popular product.” Knockoffs are a growing problem…the New York City Council has even considered a law which would result in fines for consumers purchasing knockoff products like “Ronex” watches and “Uggg” boots. Over the last 10 years, imported knockoffs of the LCN 4040 closer have become prevalent. They look very similar to 4040’s, and some of them are even manufactured from cast iron. But are they “just as good”? No way.

In 10 days, two milestones will be celebrated. August 1st is my birthday (coincidentally, my 4º4ºth) – the same day that the 4040 will experience a “re-birth” of sorts. All of the features of the 4040XP will become standard features of the 4040 series, at the standard 4040 price!

I’ll have more information about this change over the next few weeks, but today I have a question for you. Have YOU had an experience with a 4040 knockoff? LCN receives multiple knockoffs back for warranty replacement every month, because in many cases the labels are almost an exact duplicate of the LCN label, but with no company name or address. Customers assume that they’ve got an LCN closer and send it to Princeton, Illinois, only to be told that it’s not an LCN product.

Has this happened to you or someone you know? I want to hear about it! Tell me your story, send a photo, video, or even send me your knockoff! From all of the submissions collected between now and September 15th, I’ll pick my 3 favorites and send each a 4-pack of LCN 4040XP closers! They’re the REAL DEAL!

To learn more, check out the Real Deal page on our website. You can watch a video, download information about the 4040XP and the upcoming changes to the 4040, or register for a free Real Deal hat. Stay tuned…more to come!

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