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Eau de toilet

With fake products, as with fake news as explained by British journalist Ian Hislop, “people are more likely to believe a lie if they want it to be true.”

It’s a tester stock, the Lazada seller explained. I’ve heard that explanation before-from the owner of a perfume shop in Parkmall that also sells “tester” stocks.

It’s the real deal – in this case, a genuine CK One, the seller said. Perfume makers release a special batch for promotions and to serve as testers, the seller explained.

The Parkmall shop ran out of it. It was selling at abut P1,800. The actual price of the bottle is P2,500, on sale in Rustans.

CK One is my favorite eau de toilette. But ever since I bought it on sale (and at buy-one-take-two at that) from the Mustafa Centre in Singapore, I couldn’t bring myself to pay full PH price. I bought several bottles that eventually ran out.

When the Parkmall shop couldn’t say when new stocks would be available, I searched for “tester” CK One units on Lazada and found a “Bestseller” for P599. Now, the price itself should make one suspicious, right? How can one sell a P2,500 product for less than a thousand?

We buy genuine tester scents in bulk and then repack them in smaller genuine bottles, I recall the Parkmall vendor explaining to a mother and son pair who was at the stall before me. If it weren’t genuine, maybe it’s just a good copy, I told myself as I added one bottle to my Lazada cart.

TESTER unit, they say. The CK One I bought from Lazada.
TESTER unit, the seller said. The CK One I bought from Lazada.

With fake products, as with fake news as explained by British journalist Ian Hislop, “people are more likely to believe a lie if they want it to be true.”

Who wouldn’t want the possibility of a genuine P599 CK One to be actually true?

Since we couldn’t receive the shipment at home, I had to meet the Lazada delivery man on our way to an event. This meant the initial test of the scent happened in the enclosed space of our car.

There was a hint of CK One. No more than a hint, unfortunately.

Marlen had to ask that all the car windows be open because she couldn’t stand the smell. When we arrived at the event we were headed to, I sprayed myself some more on the sly, hoping the volume would compensate. It didn’t.

What was worse was that I hated the smell more and more as the afternoon went by. It got so bad I thought I faintly smelled of urine.

It was a tester unit, alright. A tester for gullibility.

By Max Limpag

Max is a journalist and blogger based in Cebu City, Philippines. He is co-founder of the journalism start-up InnoPub Media.