Every household has one. Usually it's the one drawer that is actually full, the question is full of what. When you need something, paperclip or random pen etc. that is where you run to. It seems to have a bit of everything. Oddly, this is exactly what I think Disneyland needs. To be more specific, Disneyland needs one of these in every land except Main Street.
Imagine one store that carries all the generic, off the shelf merchandise. If you need an autograph book, or a disposable camera, they got it. If you want a specific pin for Fantasyland but you are in Critter Country, they might have it. To keep this random store in theme, I propose to name each one of them the exact same name. Think of it as Disney's own chain souvenir stand within Disneyland. The extra "theme" is that you could use various decor to tie them into each other. Through photographs, drawings, letters and logos you could design a timeline of when each store was opened, and which family member or ancestor opened it.
This store would resolve several problems. Most people complain that the current merchandise is generic. They long for the unique, land specific merchandise of yesterday. That merchandise, they will tell you, was themed to the respective land it was in. It made the land seem that much more, provided a backdrop as a set does to a movie. However that unique merchandise came at the cost of convenience. What you wanted was not always readily had. And for a tourist, even the simplest directions can quickly become confusing. this would resolve all of these issues. The tourist would know to look for a specific name. That name, that shop, could be found in every land and would carry the generic necessities that are currently sold everywhere. This store would also free up the shelves of other stores, allowing them to once again carry their own unique merchandise. It would literally be the best of both worlds, and the theme of a family "chain" would keep that store in theme as well.
Now this store would not be able to carry "everything" which is where Main Street, more specifically Emporium, comes into play. This chain would carry the most popular, highest selling items. It would carry those things that people seem to always need. Everything from suntan lotion, to the latest pins, to cameras to autograph books. If this store did not carry it, they could easily direct a Guest to the Emporium.
I have been thinking about this for a while. At least since RenFaire, possibly even before that. There used to be a store at the Block called Earthbound Trading Co. I bought a lot of things at that store; presents for my wife, personal things I liked, and going away presents for last trips! This simple store had everything I would imagine Adventureland's bazaars would hold. Sadly that store closed a couple years ago. At RenFaire I noticed a tent, and when I walked in I was pleasantly surprised to see similar merchandise to that Earthbound used to offer! This "generic souvenier stand" would allow Adventureland to be an Adventure again.
It's no secret that I also hold an AP to Knott's. While many things have changed, one thing has remained (well most of it). Knott's still has a variety of artisans, craftsmen, and tradesmen that sell their wares in GhostTown. In GhostTown you can pick you own geode, they'll cut it open for you on the spot. You can buy a pendant that is actually a cutout old coin, hand cut I might add (these are amazing!). You can buy hand carved statues, and turquoise jewelry. You used to even be able to dip your own candles (that shop I miss... stupid Pony Express...). I have heard stories about the amazing merchandise that used to grace Frontierland's shelves. A "generic souvenir stand" would make this distant memory a reality again.
So that is my thought. That is my addition to the current trend on merchandise commentary. I'm curious what others think.