Burned! Culture Clash over Chinese Funeral Offerings

You can't take it with you -- or can you?  

In traditional Chinese funeral rites, the dearly departed aren't expected to pack lightly for their trip to the next world.  Instead, family and friends send them on with everything they'll need, from traditional money, food, and houses to modern cars and luxury handbags.  The catch?  These items aren't real, they're paper, and they're burned as part of the ceremony.  

The New York Times reports, however, that the owner of a shop on Chinatown's "funeral row" was arrested for selling paper Burberry, Louis Vuitton, and Gucci replicas.  While these companies are understandably protective of their often-imitated intellectual property, a licensing agreement might be more beneficial than an enforcement action for all involved.  If marketers for major brands are excited about the growing Chinese market now, just think of the potential for keeping good customers even after they've passed on.  

Why send potential profits up in smoke?

burning_bags.jpg
(Actually, this photo shows the destruction of real fakes, not paper prints, 
but they do make an impressive bonfire of the vanities.)