You ever notice when you go on vacation all the gift shops you see? There are gift shops everywhere. They usually have all the same kind of stuff that you find in most gift shops around any tourist area. They sell t-shirts, key chains, magnets, hats, jewelry, jackets, figurines, books, postcards. It’s the same kind of stuff you buy around where you live, except one very important difference…it has the name or logo of the area you’re vacationing in.
These shops must do some pretty good business, in some cases visiting tourists are the most important financial contributors to the area. It’s funny how when people go to visit somewhere, they have a need to bring back some proof that, “Yes! I was actually there!”. Most of the time the knick knacks that are brought home find their way back of a closet eventually.
T-shirts are a big seller. They’re usually worn once or twice. Most of the time they end up sitting in the bottom of a drawer or just become a work shirt you wear when you wash your car or paint a room in. I always find it amusing to see tourists wearing a t-shirt of a place they’re visiting at the moment. You’re standing admiring….Niagara Falls, and you see a family wearing Niagara Falls t-shirts or hats! Like they couldn’t wait to put those puppies on as soon as possible.
The biggest criminal place this happens in my experience is Disney World. You can’t help but see, not just kids wearing Mickey Mouse Ears that’s understandable, but adults! It’s as if they’re trying to blend in with the costumed characters strolling around the park.
I’m not a fan of snow globes. They’re too easy to break and the cheap plastic ones usually get ruined over time. Either the water will leak out thru a crack or condensation will wreck it. Occasionally the water can get cloudy. Your left with a half filled muggy snow globe. Not the prettiest thing to display.
Magnets can be fun, but they all end up in the same place…on the fridge. Some have nice pictures of the vacation spot. But I always thought if your buying it for the picture, shouldn’t you have just bought a photograph? Photographs come in all different sizes, not just magnet size. Plus you can hang it anywhere. There are very limited possibilities to where you can display a magnet. Everytime you look at it and try to reminisce, you stare at a magnet holding up the local pizza shop menu.
Coffee mugs are a huge business. You see them everywhere. I know everyone drinks plenty of coffee (all these coffee houses are proof to that). In the mornings I usually see them drinking coffee from Styrofoam or plastic cups. In coffee break rooms, there’s usually mugs lying around…none ever look clean enough to drink out of. I don’t think I ever saw anyone drinking out of a coffee mug, notice the picture on it and said, “Hey, I didn’t know you vacationed in Zimbabwe!”
I remember hearing about one person who had a shot glass collection of all the places he visited. I thought that was pretty clever. Apparently this is a popular solution to the tourist trinket problem. You by one of the same kinds of items everywhere you go. Then you display all of them together and voila you have a microcosm of your vacations on a shelf! Another person did the same only with Christmas ornaments. So once a year the tree would get decorated with all the places the family has gone to.
It would just suck if you went somewhere and couldn’t find one of those things that you vowed to collect. Either they were sold out of it or they didn’t make that particular item for that vacation spot. I would hate to spend my vacation on a never-ending search for a shot glass, just to come up empty handed. I guess if I couldn’t find one I would have to settle for a little mug. And that would throw off the whole collection I have at home.
The best memento I think you can bring back home is a photograph of you standing at the place. It captures a moment in time when you were there. Years later, it will be fun to think back and admire how good you looked back then. Plus it’s evidence of you standing in front of the Great Wall of China or The Golden Gate Bridge or wherever. And trying to take one of those self-portraits, stretch out your arm shots is no good. These aren’t the most flattering pictures and I can’t figure out why people continue to take them.
So you’re faced with the problem of finding someone to take your picture. Don’t you hate that? Having to ask a complete stranger if they could take a picture of you. You try to judge people immediately to see if they look like they can take a good photo. Those people wearing the touristy t-shirts will probably be helpful. It’s only a few seconds to them, but you want to admire this photo years from now, so you have to take your time selecting someone.
That really bites after you get the photo developed and you have your eyes closed or the guy got his thumb over the lens. There goes that idea. Oh well, who says your only supposed to relax on vacation and leave your worries at home.