Is Global Shopping too Global?

Posted in Gifts| shopping| Souvenir
There is something special about finding the perfect souvenir for a friend or family member while you’re traveling the globe. Something that has Aunt Jane or Cousin George’s name written all over it.  What is less than special is finding that gift, deciding to spend your limited budget on it, packaging it up, standing in line at a foreign post office for the better part of a day and then spending more money to mail it than the actual gift cost….only to find out that you could have bought it at your local Target at home. Sigh.

This happened multiple times when I did my first round the world trip in 2001/2002.  Ten years later I can still clearly see the hot stuffy, sparse and nearly abandoned post office in Mombassa, Kenya where I had to wait for over an hour (which was odd because I was nearly the only one there) to send a package of beautiful African souvenirs back to my mom in Texas.   I just knew she’d love the rich fabrics and the bold colors of the art pieces I found and I was right. She was so excited to receive them and display them in her home. But it was her off handed comment that killed me. “Oh! I saw that in Marshall’s last week.”
What? How is it possible that the traditional ironwork I found in a swap meet in Johannesburg was sitting on a shelf in a mass retail store in suburban Texas with a neat little price tag tied around its base?

This week my friend gave me a box of Green Tea Kit Kat candies that he picked up for me while he was in Japan. I am not a big chocolate fan, but Green Tea Kit Kats are amazing. I’m currently strategizing how I’m going to ration them out so I don’t eat them all in one sitting.  Aside from being absolutely delicious, they are extra-special because I don’t believe you can get them outside of Japan. It is one of the few things I can’t easily pick up at the corner store…and I like that.

Delicious Green Tea KitKat all the way from Japan

I don’t want to knock the global market place that allows people in one corner of the globe to share their goods and culture with another person across an ocean, but there is something to be said for the the scarcity of some products.  The harder something is to obtain, the more it becomes a treasure worthy of the hunt.

Are there any favorite products from overseas that you can’t get without a plane ticket? What do you think about having a completely global market place?  Leave me a comment and let me know. 

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