A gift shop may be defined as a small retail outlet that sells souvenirs to tourists who buy them principally as a proof of visit to that place. A gift shop usually sells trivial items like souvenirs, if the place gets tourist traffic, and also some essential items like safety pins, torches, batteries, bottled water, some OTC medicines etc, to cash in on the bad luck of some ill prepared visitor to a new place.
One normally perceives clusters of Gift Shops in and around places frequented by tourists; both literally and psychologically they are positioned to take advantage of the human love of nostalgia, the urge to carry a memory of the place visited back with them. Atop the Empire State Building, close to the Statue of Liberty, near the Taj Mahal or the Eiffel Tower, there is no missing Gift Shops.
The prices of the things sold in gift shops are on the whole marked higher than their standard parallel. This is because the hidden ‘souvenir’ price is part of the actual price of the item sold.
Traditionally Gift Shop items are small and pretty; they may be useful such a as a shot glass with the sketch of the monument painted or stamped on its side, or relatively useless as a tiny model of the structure. Thimbles also made good souvenir items and are sold as delicate hand crafted item pieces. These, however, have been overtaken by tee-shirts or coffee mugs and even key chains. Post cards remain an all time favorite, especially if the place is picturesque like the Taj Mahal or the Niagara Falls.
Indigenous items always find customers who want to carry a piece of the place back with them. Hence masks from Africa, small replicas of the Eiffel Tower in Paris and models of wind mills or wooden clogs in Netherlands always find ready customers.