Cramped stores with plastic toys hanging outside. Rows of colourful buckets and footmats near the entrance. A few clothing items that you move out of your way when you step inside. Ladies purses, bangles, shampoo bottles, fairness creams and chunky necklaces on mannequin necks in window display shelf. You will find anything to do with decoration, women and children in this shop.
More often than not, they will be named 'Novelty (General) Stores'.
I always wondered about people who decided to name them so, instead of immortalizing their family names. There must have been a unanimous decision taken in the household to call it 'Novelty'. Or maybe they were just following a trend. Either way their target customers are women and children. They seldom keep anything for men.
The reason is simple. It is women and children who go 'Oooooh' and 'Aaaaahhh' whenever they see something new or innovative. They are driven more by the novelty factor than the need aspect. When the novelty wears off, so does their interest and off they are to the 'Novelty stores' for new buys. They are the repeat customers, not men.
Freshness of an idea appeals more to them. Innovation just for the sake of innovation is something they appreciate. Gainful utility is seldom a thought that crosses their mind before they walk into a store, all starry eyed. Every glittering piece of plastic and various beads take them into the fairy land they dream of. Banners, swirls, confetti, ribbons, toys, imitation jewellery, combs, creams. Anything that holds the promise of a more beautiful world attracts them.
Even if you don't want to buy anything, just browsing through the supplies to your hearts content is a good enough reason to walk in.
Whenever you have bigger questions looming large over your creased forehead, do try and find such a place nearby and visit it. It will take away all your worries. It will take you back to the times when you were a child and wanted to build castles and empires of sparklers. Cheap satin and fake gold lace might feel coarse to touch but it has the power to take you into a time when you were a princess and the kingdom belonged to your father whom you lovingly claimed was the strongest person in the world.