I don’t mean to sound ungrateful but some gifts really are crap. They are the sort of gift that upon receiving them, instead of joy you’re overcome with a strange sense of confusion about why you are being given such a strange and useless present as a memento of the time somebody you know went to somewhere you didn’t.
You know the gifts I’m talking about. Those presents people bring home for you not because they thought you would like it or that it would look great in your house, but for the simple reason that they thought they ought to bring you something to show they were thinking of you.
Regardless of how piss-weak the tourist attraction is, they always have a gift shop attached. Hell in some places the gift shop is more interesting that the tourist attraction itself.
The gift of giving crap
I am constantly amazed by the inability of gift shop owners to sell anything that somebody might remotely want to buy. Walk into a Giftz-R-Us shop anywhere in the World and you’ll be inundated with cheap, tacky crap that doesn’t even make sense.
You can buy plates made into clocks, lighthouses made into table lamps, place mats featuring scenes from places 1000km away, and t-shirt you would never wear outside of the house. Its almost as if the owners deliberately stock their shops with anything they can find so long as it has nothing to do with the actual place you are at.
Its a bit daft and surely nobody buys any of this stuff? Its like going to the Statue of Liberty to buy a Sydney Opera House snowglobe. No matter where in the world you are, can you always buy a snowglobe regardless of whether it has ever even snowed there.
Every gift shop in the world has magnets, tea towels, postcards, t-shirts, mugs, and glasses with the name of the destination written on them surrounded by some terrible pattern that would make even Redfoo cringe at how hideous it is.
It doesn’t matter where you go, Seaworld or any an airport in Dubai, there is always a glass dolphin with the name of the place written on the base and if you flip it over it will say “Made in China” underneath. Sure, a glass dolphin makes sense at Seaworld, but I don’t even think there’s any water in Dubai.
Another gift shop favourite is the t-shirt that says “My friend/parents/brother went to (insert lame location) and all I got was this crap shirt“. If anybody buys me one of those, it will quickly become a rag I keep in the cupboard in case the toilet develops a leak.
Australian tourist gift shops
In London, seemingly the only thing you can buy is an English flag or something with an English flag on it. It is the same in any major city in the world; street after street lined with gift shops, all selling the same cheap crap made overseas.
Here in Australia, every single gift shop item sells exactly the same stuff with a different name on it for you to take back home to family and friends, and every single item will have been made in China. You can buy authentic Chinese-made kangaroos, authentic Chinese-made boomerangs, authentic Chinese-made didgeridoos and my personal favourite, authentic Chinese-made items in the shape of Australia with the destinations name on it.
Not that Australian tourist destinations are very exciting anyway. Sure we have the Sydney Opera House, the Great Barrier Reef, and the tropics. Aside from that though, every other tourist destination seems to be a tacky giant something… We have a Giant Orange, a Giant Rocking Horse, a Giant Banana, the list goes on. Hell we even have a Giant Ayers Rock; a 1/4 scale model of a rock that looks like the real Ayers Rock, which looks like a rock.
Every single one of these so-called attractions has a gift shop attached to it selling things that are only interesting to people who are dull enough to visit a scale model of a rock and think it was exciting.
I have been guilty of bad gift giving too
When I was younger I visited Paris on a school trip and the only possible gift you could bring home was a model of the Eiffel Tower. So I did. For every single person in my family. I wasn’t the only one either, every person on that trip did the same thing because we felt obliged to. I’m sure that their parents added their poor recreations of the Eiffel Tower to their collection of poor recreations of the Eiffel Tower that other people have given them. I know mine did. I apologise and give you permission to throw it out.
I hate all of this stuff. My fiancée calls them “Knick-Knacks” whereas I just call them shit. Whenever anybody buys one of them for me I will feign thanks but the moment I am out of their sight it will be thrown into our cupboard of shit only to see the light of day again if this person pays us a visit.
If you ever go to a tourist destination and are thinking of bringing me something back, please don’t. I won’t be disappointed, in fact I might just like you that little bit more.