I hate gift shops.
I’ve always found them over-priced and full to the rafters of novelty crap. Sadly the rest of my family LOVES them.
They are drawn to them like moths to a flame and as a result, I spend way too much time in these hellholes.
Any family day out, no matter where we go ends with losing an hour of my life to a shopping experience from hell.
It’s time that I’ll never get back. Knowing what lies ahead turns me into a tightly wound spring and produces a kind of shopping anxiety.
This means that whenever we go somewhere, if it’s got an adjoining gift shop, money’s gonna get spent and I’m going to need a therapy session.
It’s not just gift shops though. Every kind of shop is fodder for my family.
Even a simple grocery shop becomes a painstaking aisle by aisle tour de Sainsbury’s. Ambling aimlessly through the supermarket perusing everything.
My approach to a shopping trip is more of a Formula 1 pitstop tyre change. I get in and get the hell out as quick as I can. I might sometimes (ok always) forget something, but I get it done fast.
On a recent trip to Longleat, the gift shop experience was particularly extreme.
If you’ve never been there before it’s a beautiful English stately home with a safari park attached to it. It’s a wonderful day out and I can’t recommend it highly enough.
My advice would be to avoid the multiple gift shops at all costs!
At least 4 were open on the day we went. I mean, come on Longleat, do you really need that many?
As soon as we entered I was asked the dreaded question ‘can I have this?’
This conversation was followed by me explaining that everything that they were asking for was either overpriced or something that they already had at home etc, etc. etc
It’s the same conversation every time in every shop. They disagree frequently but I’m always proved right in the end…
If they’re allowed to buy something, they’re told to pick something for a few pounds. But this always descends into the most painful lapping of the shop whilst something gets chosen, put down, picked up again. Followed by the question of ‘if I get this can I also get this?’
Last week on a holiday to Cornwall we went away with the kid’s cousins and discovered a local toyshop. The kids were in heaven. The adults were pretty close to a breakdown by the time we left.
Time actually stood still, I have no idea how long we were in there. They ran around like lunatics picking everything up off the shelves.
At one point I discovered my daughter raving to a musical Hey Duggee stick toy (stick, stick, stick, stick, sticky, sticky, stick, stick – If you know, you know!) It just went on and on…
Then, after several laps of the shop my son left with a very suspect comedy poo, whilst the rest left with an assortment of novelty crap that will likely get forgotten about or lost in a few days.
The kids were absolutely overjoyed with their loot, but all the adults left a little bit older, wearier and sadder.
We’re not alone parents everywhere are supporting the high street against their will. You would think that we’d have learnt to avoid these shops at all costs by now, but alas we continue the gift shop dance.
The poo was pretty good though!