I´m not sure this section is going to be useful without becoming an enormously long list (which also isn't useful). There are just too many good places for shopping in the world. And what's with the link to an outline article in Sweden? This kind of thing goes in the Buy section of countries and continental sections and regions, but to make one big list here is just too much. Texugo (talk) 12:09, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
- I agree with Texugo I'm afraid - this isn't going to help anyone if it aims to assemble a list of places to shop. The only thing this page could be useful for is perhaps more general shopping tips, e.g. where/when to haggle. I think it needs a more specific purpose than its current remit. --Nick (talk) 16:13, 7 March 2013 (UTC)
- I agree. A big list is pointless.
- I think we might get a useful article here by making it an index to various shopping-related articles such as haggle and duty-free shopping. It should not, in my view, try to replace or incorporate any of those. Pashley (talk) 19:43, 10 March 2013 (UTC)
Getting it home
Thoughts on Souvenirs
There are of course no rules. Well, there are a few rules: the law. Good luck to you if you choose to break them. It's probably illegal to carry fragments of someone's archaeological heritage back to your hometown. And if it isn't, it probably should be. Don't be a jerk.
But within the generally wide latitude of the law and non-jerkhood, there are no rules. You might be the one who really wants to put a jackalope on your wall, to carry around a miniature Eiffel tower on your keychain, and to wear a tee-shirt that says, "I got laid in Chicken, Alaska." You know yourself, or you should, so what follows can best be considered something like a guide to introspection.
The key words to souvenir collection have to be "ethics" and "character." Also, for most of us poor fools, "price."
As we all know, MegaCorporation, LLC, Inc. manufactures plastic stuff on one side of the world and ships it to the other side for sale to tourists whose judgment is impaired by mild cases of heat exhaustion. You have to decide how you feel about that. Nick-nacky kitschy stuff like bobble-head hula dancers can be undeniably fun. You might even want an "I (heart) NY" frisbee or a pet rock with moss that spells out "Vermont." You might as well realize in advance that none of that is going to greatly interest the folks back home, or look very good on the mantle once you get a real job. But if you live three more decades and find it one day when you're digging through your own attic, you might enjoy remembering what a doofus you were when you took that trip. Or your grand-nephew will think that for you when he finds it. But that cute little Machu Picchu snow globe was made in an Asian sweatshop (it probably says so on the bottom, though it won't mention the child labor that was involved), and the person you're giving it to will assume that you got it in the airport on your way out, and you probably paid as much for it as you would've paid for a little bottle of pisco that would've been much more deeply appreciated by anyone whose religious belief and lifestyle choices allow them to enjoy it - besides that, it would've supported the local economy.
With taste there is no argument, but for most people, authentic stuff, even if it's cheap, usually feels better longer. If your personal tastes tend to the tacky, you can still find unique things, something with character: a green glow-in-the-dark Virgin Mary from a random little Catholic church in Vietnam, a Kierkegaard refrigerator magnet from Copenhagen, even a little jar of authentic maple syrup with a maple leaf on the label from Canadia. But if you aspire to a less ironic sort of class, look around a bit, find some locally made cloth, tableware, jewelry (even inexpensive bead necklaces). Maybe some clothing that you can actually wear back home: swanky silk PJs might be nice, or a kimono (I think there is a page to link to for that). If you get a genuine panama hat in Montecristi, wear it without shame, hombre.
Something that you were given can be particularly memorable: if an old man in Bago wants to trade his forty-year-old trilingual copy of the Dhammapada for your glossy Penguin version, for Buddha's sake, take it! The picture that a little Nepalese kid draws in your diary is probably going to be much more precious to you (and less embarrassing) after a few years than all your self-indulgent "reflections."
The ultimate souvenirs are the memories of your trip: the time you got drunk with some friendly strangers in some remote Vietnamese village, the epiphany you had while failing to meditate at a temple in India, the time you thought you were going to die of food poisoning. You can't plan that stuff most of the time, but you can plan to learn to dance salsa in Cali, or to cook Thai food in Chiang Mai. Such immaterial souvenirs definitely impress attractive and interesting members of whatever sex you prefer, in case that is a concern, and they are easy to pack when you move, too. As you get them, you might even make new friends - friendship is the ultimate immaterial souvenir. One of the kids from that Korean family that let you help make kimchi is going to show up at your house in Kansas someday, and then you can show him what a real cheeseburger is.
Back to the merely material, to find good deals, absolutely avoid the tourist shops, especially the ones right next to the airports or on the way out of major attractions. (If you need to be told that, you're probably hopeless, but there are some interesting folks in the world, and we aim to help them all.) Sometimes it's fun to know you're getting ripped off - so you ironic types might enjoy buying black market "jewels" in Myanmar - but there is a consequence to this kind of thing because it incentivizes dishonesty. You can help the local economy, but an ethical tourist would buy from ethical sellers. There's a page about haggling that should get a link here.
- A lot of that is great! I don't know whether it should go here or go in a dedicated Souvenirs article or what. If it were to go here, the text above might have to be split into the various existing sections and the text and the existing article would have to be adapted to each other to match tone and content. It might be a good start for a standalone Souvenirs article, but then again, I don't know if there is enough unique stuff to say about souvenirs versus shopping in general, and I don't know if that's how we want to cover it - it needs discussion.
- One note: though I like most of the examples you've come up with, Cali would be a place to learn salsa, not samba, which is unique to Brazil. Texugo (talk) 11:57, 7 May 2015 (UTC)
- I oppose that. The topics overlap hugely but are not identical & I think "Shopping" reads better. A redirect from Buy would be OK. Pashley (talk) 14:59, 6 June 2015 (UTC)