Friday, October 06, 2006

Gift Shops

Before I start I should mention that I shifted over to Blogger Beta yesterday and there was an issue where I couldn't figure out how to upload photos. Rob discovered the way of getting the options back up on the new Blogger. I knew he was good for something - just goes to show it's worth perservering with people. Even if they are mindless thralls to Evil Feline Overmasters.

Anyway. Gift Shops. It's easy for the laymen to be deceived by this simple phrase when seen in the context of a retailer at a Theme Park/Country Park/Museum/Stately Home or other such attraction.

Your average English-Speaker would take these words to mean 'A place from which to purchase Gifts'. Perhaps, they think, to purchase memorabilia to remember the visit by. Maybe a thoughtful present for a loved one or family member.

They are, of course, wrong in these assumptions. What is not explicit in these signs is that the words, while resembling that of the normal vernacular, are in fact a throw-back to an earlier civilisation that held beliefs and values different to our own, yet still reflected in many areas of modern society. It is because of this increase in followers of these ancient beliefs that these establishments, oft mistaken for shops, have sprung up more and more.

It's been speculated that the words 'Gift Shop' in this context originate from a small tribe of now extinct garishly clad midgets of Malaysian descent, specifically from the Kualar Lumpur region. The midgets were often beaten by their larger cousins. This wasn't cruelty, merely that myopia was rife in the area and the midgets were sadly mistaken for hardened orange fruit due to their portly shape and bright body paint. The other natives would beat at then in the hope of reaching the Juicy Goodness in the centre of what they thought was fruit. The midgets would make 'oof!' and 'oomp!' noises, leading to their commonly used name 'Ooomp-uh! Lumpur'.

These creatures created low quality effigies of animals that were only loosely associated with the area in which they lived and worshipped them as Deities. Well, for about a week - at which point the stitching would come apart and the stuffing would come out, or they would combust or perhaps the head would fall off the small statue they had built. Another practice was to take the sap from the rubber trees of the region and fashion them into different shapes - perhaps to resemble some of the low quality effigies, or the trees from whence the sap came. The reasons for this are lost in the mists of time but what is known from archaelogical digs is that they were placed with reverance down the back of a large Altar, which itself resembled a sofa. It is thought these rubber shapes were then never retrieved, no matter how hard they looked in the places they thought they had left them.

The effigies and rubber objects, along with sketchy written histories produced by the Oompa Lumpurs fetched a high price at the time but no one has been able to fathom why, or indeed who would buy them. But buy them they did, from the priests of the tribe. The traditional Temples contained all of the Ghiffths (as the effigies etc. were known) and were called Ch-orrpths. The priests, not holding themselves greater than those around them, merely distinguished themselves by wearing a variety of the items of worship that they sold - badges, clothing, hats etc.

It is from this small tribe of people, then, that the words we know as Gift Shop originate. Gift, from Ghiffth, meaning : items made from the Pap, Tat or Pulp of available materials and Ch-orrpth meaning: Place from which to worship Pap

I apologise for the incompleteness of this explanation as I am at work but I hope this goes some way to helping the layman understand the deeper meaning of the words and why it appears there is a growing number of people that thrive on purchasing overpriced, low quality pieces of shit.

1 comment:

Olivia said...

Blimey, you got round to the end of the story eventually, didn't you? :P

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