Sunday, May 20, 2007

Souvenirs: Select with Caution

Panama Canal Museum T-shirt

The San Francisco Chronicle travel section today had a column entitled Show loved ones you care: Spare them from T-shirts, mugs, trinkets, by Eileen Mitchell.

Yes, yes, yes! If you happen upon something that you know is perfect for someone, and you are willing to schlep it around until you get home, then fine - I've certainly done this, and had it work out very well. But massive souvenir-buying probably means you're just adding to other people's clutter - and they might feel obligated to keep the item, even if they don't want it, to avoid hurting your feelings.

Just a little snippet from this well-written article: "When I caught my mother using her Panama Canal T-shirt as a dust cloth, I started wondering. My suspicions were confirmed when I discovered the hand-woven blanket I'd purchase in Quito being used as a blanket for the dog.

I'd spent an hour selecting that blanket, wanting to find just the right colors to match his den, and more time bartering on the price. The I hand-carried it all the way home because it wouldn't fit in my suitcase."

[photo: Panana Canal Museum]

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