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Tacky Tourist Souvenirs

Sparta danger shirt

A reference from the movie "300" at a Greek tourist tee-shirt shop

When I was in Sicily, I met a fellow traveler who had an on-going contest with his girlfriend.  Whenever they traveled, they had to bring back the most ridiculous tourist junk as a gift for the other.  This is an absolutely brilliant idea!  Tacky tourist stuff is ubiquitous at popular attractions.  It’s an international phenomena; you can find this stuff everywhere!

Moose nugget earrings - $3.95

Growing up in Alaska, I would cringe at the variety of souvenirs made from “mouse nuggets”.  As large as a moose is, their excrement is actually just a pile of 1 inch pellets.  Someone though it would be funny to lacquer a couple and make jewelry out of it and the idea has taken off.  You can get drink swizzles, rings, and key chains too.  People must be buying these assorted “nugget” items because you can always find them in tourist shops.  But just so we’re clear, moose nuggets are poop!

Michelangelo's David light switch plate - $9.99

Hands down the worst inspiration for tacky tourist stuff is Michelangelo’s David!  If you’ve ever been to Florence, you know that you can’t go 2 blocks without seeing this guy on everything from desk clocks to aprons.  And most of it is a little tasteless.  Come on, it’s not like people have never seen a nude statue before!

So what have been your favorite examples of tacky tourist junk?

5 Comments Post a comment
  1. In 2006, I visited the small village of Makrinitsa in the Pelion region of Greece. For some reason – I couldn’t figure out how to connect it with Makrinitsa, Pelion, or Greece – all the souvenir shops had lots of little ceramic pig couples doing various sexual acts. You know, the pigs are talking on the phone while having sex, or eating a pizza while having sex, etc. It was really weird and made no sense!


    March 7, 2012
    • That is bizarre! I’m having a hard time thinking of any regional connection or inside joke that would make those pigs make sense. I have definitely seen the playing cards of ancient vase sex acts on sale in Athens but nothing with pigs.


      March 7, 2012
  2. Hil #

    We agree! We started collecting in 1996, and now have a whole shelf of stuff – which we’ve made into a website. Take a look – We’re amazed at the reaction from around the world – so many closet collectors out there….


    March 20, 2012
  3. Sam Fox #

    Christina– My complaint would have to be all of those T-shirts that have the phrase, ” My, _____ went to _____ and all I got was this lousy shirt” Unoriginal and all made in China


    June 24, 2013

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