What you can expect to find in gift shops

Anyone visiting a hospital, a museum or historic site may have noticed those specialty shops which are loaded to the brim with knick knacks, greeting & wish cards and curiosities that generally are not found in ordinary stores

. Some may even sell flowers & balloons, and a limited selection of pre-packaged candies.

Depending on which institution or association they are connected to, the merchandize selection found in gift shops varies widely. Take hospital gift shops, for example; they are stocked with items suitable for every possible occasion. They carry fleecy blankets, stuffed animals and cheerful flower bouquets for when a baby is born and also have a colourful selection of balloons, funky piggy banks, a huge selection of children toys, tasty snacks and last minute birthday gifts, which can be ordered online, picked up in person or delivered to the patient’s room. Hospital visitors, patients and staff appreciate the convenience of gift shops and the assortment of personal care products, reading material, clothing and home decor accents they offer.

Gift shops make a nice addition to any hotel and the classier the establishment, the fancier the gift shop usually is. In many cases, such novelties stores can help extend the hotel’s brand identity and promote regional specialties. This can be maple syrup, artistic creations, china & glassware, aboriginal art, baked goods & jam, jewelry made from locally mined gems, and more. These gifts are in addition to the customary supplies kept on hand to help the traveler who’s running out of necessities like toiletries, shoe polish, sunscreen, over the counter medication, tobacco products, or alcoholic beverages.

It is often surprising to see where gift shops are located. They can also be found in museums, highway restaurants, casinos, airports, zoos, etc. Unless totally specialized, like wineries, breweries, and chocolate or cheese factories who only carry items related to their trade, these gift shops generally offer the same basics in addition to stock that will separate them from one another. The corporate buyers of one shop may decide it is best to sell koala, kangaroo and boomerang decorated keepsakes, while the executives from an amusement park you may find it more beneficial to have their concession stands loaded with Disney toys, beanbag critters, t-shirts, goofy hats, unusual snow globes, postcards, ice cream and other quick snacks.

Tourist destinations are paved with gift shops because vendors know that travelers will buy mementos for themselves or the people at home. Who has not yet received an out of the ordinary picture frame, whimsical figurine, funky scarf, curious ash tray, themed thimble, creative wall plaque, promotional clothing, silly tie, or souvenir teaspoon from a friend or relative returning from a remote vacation? It is almost a tradition they have to follow to show that they were thinking about you while sipping their cold beers or strawberry margaritas.

Exploring a gift shop is fun. You never know what extraordinary treasure you may find and what souvenir you will be taking home. Even if you don’t buy anything, you will certainly see some funky pieces you may talk about for a long time to come.