"I swear it was an accident," claims convention vendor Gelding Grotto, peeking out from behind his pile of merchandise. "I had absolutely no idea that these weren't real Equestria Girls toys."
Gelding is not the first to be fooled by the latest wave of bootleg horse woman dolls that have been flooding in from the Far East over the last few months.
The answer, according to leading Pony merchandise collectors, is simple. "It's a matter of quality," one authority tells us.
That's not to say that the bootleg merchandise that tricked Gelding is of a superior quality to that of the official product. Quite the contrary. It's because the official Equestria Girls toys are so terrible looking in the first place, that it is simple to make bootleg versions that are just as good, and some would argue, even better than the originals.
Gelding, a 3-year pony fan, could not see any discernible flaws in the Equestria Girls toys that he was selling at a premium at a recent convention. "I mean, I thought their eyes looked pretty messed up, and the head shapes were all wrong, and the Applejack doll looked like she had mouth herpes, but the bootleg versions didn't look any worse!"
Even corporate scouts lurking about the vendor hall did not notice anything amiss at Gelding's table, pausing only a moment to ask him if he had "any more of that really nice Rarity in stock".
"What's worse," Gelding informs us, "is that the fakes got mixed in with the real toys when I was packing. It's going to take me days to figure out which are which!"
Convention heads warn vendors to use caution when purchasing stock from overseas, and provide tips on what to look for to determine if a product is real or not. "Does the product look deformed, poorly thought out, mispackaged, or come with accessories that don't make sense? If so, then yes it is most likely real."