We have been discussing the many facets of creative inspiration versus creative theft and outright theft. My wife and I recently found ourselves face to face with what seemed to us like blatant thievery and I had to bring it to your attention so that you don’t buy the stolen ideas over the original one.
We were walking down Broadway toward Whole Foods to get some nourishing food for our little man when I happened to notice a display of shoes in a shoe store window. I am a fan of vegan accessories including shoes although I try to live as frugally as I can to put aside money for Chaim’s university funding. I was excited because I recognized the shoes from a distance — they were TOMS shoes, a brilliant vegan brand that not only makes simple yet attractive shoes but donates a pair of shoes to a child in need of a pair of shoes. (This is usually in a third world country.)
I pointed out the shoes to Elizabeth and she immediately corrected me. “Those aren’t TOMS shoes,” she said, “The sign says that they are BOBS.” Indeed they were — BOBS shoes by Skechers. We went up to the display window and I stared, dumbfounded. The shoes looked almost exactly like TOMS shoes. Moreover, the font used for the name of the brand was quite similar in the store sign. On top of that, I could not help but remember how there is no such thing as coincidence and the fact that TOMS and BOBS have exactly the same number of letters and have that same vowel sound to them — aww.
On the BOBS sign they boasted about helping people with every purchase and the final nail in the content theft was hammered into their coffin. There is absolutely nothing that BOBS by Skechers does as a shoe line that TOMS didn’t do first. In my online research I have found that BOBS as a shoe line has been around for a couple of years which means that they have been blatantly ripping off Tom’s this entire time and absolutely nothing has been done about it.
If someone opened a pizza place called Papa Juan’s and offered the exact same toppings as Papa John’s, you can bet that it would be a matter of weeks before cease and desist orders would be filed and the Juan restaurant would be buried in the garbage heap of forgettable history. Why do we let the BOBS of the world steal ideas wholesale from TOMS and make a lot of money from the stolen knowledge?