We’ve all been there – our parents go on some exotic trip, leaving us with a crazy aunt, only to return with a measly t-shirt.

It’s the dreaded souvenir. 

It’s true. My parents traveled. A lot. My t-shirt collection was bigger than my closet. Most featured cats, lying in hammocks with the location lazily scrolled beneath the snoozing kitty.

Crap. Total crap.

But now, as I travel as an adult, searching for little tokens of my journey for my family, I can’t help but notice how utterly crappy the selection is.

Sorry, mom and dad.

Recently, I traveled to New York City. It was awesome. But I missed my niece’s birthday party. (I know, I’m a terrible aunt.) So, I wanted to get her something extra special from the city. So somewhere on the 82nd floor of the Empire State Building, I perused the gift shop.

Crap. All of it. And it’s all overpriced.

Are souvenirs a conspiracy to get us to drop a ton of money on a size-of-your-palm guerrilla? (Get it? Empire State Building? King Kong? He was everywhere.) Or on an “I Love NY” t-shirt that I could probably find anywhere?

We wound up getting my niece a jewelry box. A tiny one. It can probably fit one pair of stud earrings.

My sister looked at me like, “What the hell is she going to do with this?”

It’s crap. I have failed my adorable niece.

Maybe one day, when she’s older, she’ll realize the struggles we face as adults: Souvenirs are expected. But a total waste of time.