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May 28th, 2011

Generic Touristy Gift Shop

In my travels throughout this great land, I’ve been in a fair number of gift shops. Often they’ll be located on main streets (Main Street?) in touristy kinds of towns. But here’s the thing: they all tend to sell the same things.

There are the little things like t-shirts, magnets, pens, and mugs. But beyond that there’s a number of home and garden decor items I’ve found present in nearly every shop. Kitschy hand-painted signs with phrases like, “Bless this mess?” Check. Ugly bronze cat and dog sculptures for your garden? Check. Stinky candles? Yes. Potpourri satchels? Of course. At least one item using a variation of the ancient “got milk?” campaign? Naturally!

Almost all of these items have a vaguely country, vaguely Victorian air about them. They feel kind of old, but then something like the construction or font choice (nerd!) just doesn’t seem right.

It’s gotten to the point where I wonder if all of these gift shops are actually owned by Walmart, and they’re just pumping the same items across this nation. I mean, I shouldn’t be able to get the same things in cities as diverse as Clinton, Iowa; Estes Park, Colorado; and Ann Arbor, Michigan. Right? Right.

Posted in Consumer Commentary

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