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Thursday, March 15, 2018

Hospital Gift Shop Finds

Over the last six months, I've spent a lot of time in hospitals.  Thankfully, not as a patient...more like I've been in hospitals visiting patients.

I'll tell you something.  I don't know a single person in the world who absolutely loves to be in the hospital - well, unless you happen to work in a hospital.  And even then, it might be a moot point.  Let's face it, they can be pretty depressing places to be.  You are surrounded by people who are sick and/or injured and you feel a bit helpless in feeling as though you can't help them.  Also, the food is notoriously bad.  I know that when I was in the hospital as a patient, I wanted to leave as soon as possible, but knew that I had to wait until I felt better before I could.

But I will say this.  As depressing a place as hospitals can be, there are some cool things about them too.  Babies are born in hospitals every day, and sick and injured people do recover and get to go back home. 

And there is one place that is found in most hospitals that I absolutely love.  In fact, when I was a kid, I walked by the town hospital after school and it would be the place where I would hang out for a few minutes each time I got my allowance.  



Yes, I admit it.  I spent part of my childhood hanging around the hospital gift shop.  And why not?  Hospital gift shops contain so many treasures and goodies inside of them.  Each gift shop contains items that are designed to help brighten the spirits of the patients that are recovering inside.  And even if you weren't a patient inside the hospital, there were still a lot of fun things to purchase inside.

Believe me.  From the time I was six until the time I was nineteen, the hospital gift shop was a place where I found some of the coolest things ever. 

Here were just a few of the treasures that I bought from hospital gift shops.



Naturally, you all know that I am a comic book geek.  I make absolutely zero apologies about it.  But did you know that at least 10% of my whole collection of comic books came from hospital gift shops?  It's true!  I still remember the first time I found out that our hospital gift shop sold comic books.  I had just lost my first baby teeth (the two front teeth came out the same day), and my mom took me to the hospital gift shop on her way to visit someone there.  When I saw a copy of Jughead Jones Digest #51 (how crazy is it that I remember that), I used my tooth fairy money to buy that book!  Still have it too!



Hospital gift shops were also the best place to purchase birthday cards, believe it or not.  Sure, most of the cards that they had to offer were "Get Well Soon" cards, but there were also birthday cards available - in case one was unlucky enough to celebrate their birthday in the hospital.  They were relatively inexpensive too, so at least I didn't have to spend too much money on them.



Sometimes I'd grab a snack from the hospital gift shop after school because after studying the times tables, doing an art project in class, and conjugating every French verb ever created, I needed a sugar rush to boost my energy until dinner.  My snack of choice was a Cadbury Rum and Butter bar and a can of Dr. Pepper or C-Plus Orange Soda.  Oh, I wish they would bring those chocolate bars back!



I also managed to find some amazing toys when I went shopping at the hospital gift shop.  There were lots of activity books available at the store, which included word searches, crossword puzzles, and my personal favourite - Yes and Know books.  You know those books where the answers are written in invisible ink and you had to use the special pen to uncover them?  Do they still make those?  I really enjoyed them back in the day.



I also recall buying some of those alphabet and number fridge magnets from the store when I was a small kid, as well as building blocks, a small pick-up-sticks game, and a small wooden village playset.  Who needed a fancy toy store like Woolworth's or Toys R Us when you had a whole gift shop filled with goodies?  And given that Toys R Us is on the verge of closing up shop for good this year, hospital gift shops suddenly don't look like a bad option for gift giving.



And of course there are lots of stuffed toys and onesies to purchase for those new moms who just gave birth to new children.  Believe me, some of the stuff in those stores are not only beautifully made, but a lot of the items were hand-stitched and crafted by hospital volunteers.  You know a gift has to be good when it's made with love.

Anyone else have some wonderful bargains found at their local hospital gift shop?

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