#114 Finding your name on some tacky souvenir in the gift shop

Bob, Betty, Barry, you don’t know the shame.

Only Bilal, Baxter, and Bernadette know the pain of turning a squeaky metal rack full of tiny plastic doorplates and failing to find their name.

My friend Agostino has a great story about how he found his dad’s name on a toothbrush in Italy. Jaw dropping, eyeballs popping, he couldn’t believe somebody actually stamped “Guido” on a toothbrush.

To this day his dad says it’s his favorite present of all time.


Live in Toronto? I’d love to meet you tonight at the Indigo Bay / Bloor at 7pm for the book launch of The Book of (Holiday) Awesome! We are attempting to top chocolate milk on tap… with a surprise. Read the first 20 pages here and order today from Indigo, Amazon, or Barnes & Noble.

Photo from: here

101 thoughts on “#114 Finding your name on some tacky souvenir in the gift shop

  1. I am fortunate enough that I have a common name (Michelle) and was always able to find it on various souvenirs, but one time my grandmother gave me a “Mitch” toothbrush. I hated that nickname as a kid and to this day only accept it when my dad uses us. And NEVER spelled with a T!!

    1. I feel your pain, my name is Millicent but that’s just a bit to old fashioned for me so i’m called Milly. Sure, there’s always a Millie on the rack of mugs, but it seems that the cooler names are always second best. ie’s are just soo overrated. jks.

  2. YES!!!

    My name is not that extravagant, however, I can never find “Monique” they’ll always have “Monica” instead. But somehow they’ll manage to have “Alejandro” or “Jesus” which I think are rather unique names (no offense, I just don’t know anyone with those names). Maybe because I’m an 80’s baby my name is now out of style or something.

  3. My name is Elyse, I am 20 years old and have yet to find something with “Elyse” not “Elise” written on it. I hope that someday I will someday I will find it!

  4. Not only do I have an uncommon name, but my mom also decided to spell it differently. I have yet to find anything with my name spelled correctly on it–maybe someday, if I go to a French-speaking country…

    1. My cousin in France is called Melodie and we did sometimes find objects with her name on it. so you’re right…you need to go to France!! that goes for Monique, too (who posted a little further above) :)

  5. It’s even better when you find something gender appropriate when you have a (generally) boy’s name. Although sometimes the boys had cooler colors and such anyways.

  6. My name isn’t uncommon but you NEVER see Virginia. It’s always Vanessa, Valerie, and Veronica. It always makes me excited when I find my name cause it rarely happens! It’s always awesome!

    1. I sympathize. I’m not Virginia…just Ginger.
      ONE time (ONCE!) I found my name on a shot glass in Las Vegas. I always thought Virginia would be easier to find and sometimes wished that my mom had decided to name me that instead. Guess it wouldn’t have made much of a difference…

  7. My name is Catharine… I have found things with Catherine, Katharine, Kathryn, and Cathy… but never in my life have I gone by “Cathy” – in fact I rather dislike it. I have not yet found an item with my name spelled properly. Then I went and named one daughter Katya… cruel? I don’t know.

  8. My real name, Denesia, is impossible to find so I usually just slum down for Denise. I’ve never liked that since it isn’t spelled even close to my name. But because of my interesting name, all the personalized mugs that my family have collected over the years all say Joshua (my brother), Janet (my mom), and then Denise.

  9. Well I don’t even try to find Zosia on souvenir mugs or keychains anymore… Some time in the distant future when I visit Poland, that will be one of the first things I buy :)

      1. My name is Meghan. I wish it was spelled the simple way. I can never ever find anything with that darn H in it. Not to mention nobody every spells it right.

        1. I feel you! but the irony is people often spell my name as ‘Meghan’. Even teachers would write it that way, on the same page as something where my name was clearly on there as “Megan”. Sigh! Either spelling is a good name but there should have just been one!

        2. I totally hear you on this one. In twenty two years I have never found anything with the name “Meaghan” spelled with the A and the H!

  10. My sons name is Xavier, which isn’t too off the wall, but we do have a hard time finding his name on stuff. My other son, Christopher, has plenty to choose from!

  11. My name is Jocelyn, and I can rarely find anything with my name on it. This summer, I was in Mackinac, MI, and found a lunch bag with Jocelyn on it. It’s obviously for a little kid, but I snatched it up anyway. Who cares that I’m a 30-year old carrying a little girl’s lunchbag with my name on it? I love it!

    1. I’m a Jocelyn too and I would have done the exact same thing in your place! My mom is Wilma and she understands the difficulty of finding a personalized anything, so she always looks for me. She actually found a tacky key chain with my name on it at a National Park this summer. I love that key chain! It’s the first thing in my 23 years I’ve owned with my name on it.

  12. I can usually find my name – Megan – even in this post!

    but sometimes it is spelled Meghan, Meagan, Meaghen, etc… too many different spellings for one name! People misspell and mispronounce it all the time.

    seeing you at my old school in Scarborough on Thursday, can’t wait!

  13. Growing up in school there were always at least 2-3 Kathy’s in every single classe. Teachers used our last initials to identify us: Kathy B. or Kathy L., etc. I always wished I had a unique moniker. However, thanks to today’s post, I’m appreciating my oh-so-common name!

  14. This one really spoke to me- as an Alana, I never was able to find my name on the racks of personalized pens, keychains and mini license plates when I was growing up. I really love my unusual name, but it was so lame every time I went on a school field trip and all the Jennifers and Jessicas in my class could get a personalized souvenir but I was left out in the cold. I’m nearly 32 and to this day if I’m fortunate enough to find my name on any merchandise, no matter how cheesy, I rush to buy it. We’re having our first baby, a son, this March and we’ve named him Ethan, and yesterday I found a mini license plate with his name on it and just snapped it right up so he can know the joys of personalized stuff right away. AWESOME!

    1. The gift shop HAS, Ethan mini license plates! I repeat, the gift shop HAS, Ethan mini license plates:) And “another” baby will be born in Awesome-land~ Awesome!

  15. When I was growing up I could not find a thing! My name, Wendy, was unusual and uncommon. There were none in school. A very new name altogether, created by Sir James Barries, in Peter Pan. He’d a neighbor friend, Gwendolyn, who he called his friendy-Wendy!
    The first personalized item I ever received was for my 16th. b’day from my boyfriend who called me Gwendolyn: a coffee mug which read almost all the delightful information I’ve just writtten here-in!
    These days there are shops that personalize stuff, but it’s much more fun to hunt and land:) There are still more items with Gwendolyn.When I do find one with Wendy, my eyes drop, my jaw pops and I say, thank you store for the Big Awesome score=D

  16. My name is neither unusual nor uncommon, but for 18 or 19 years, I never saw it on anything. One fateful day, I was in a small school supply or education shop, and there it was, “Suzanne,” written proudly and beautifully on a rubber stamp. You bet I snatched that baby up, even though I never did rubber stamping :-) I haven’t seen it on anything else since.

  17. Great one Neil!

    My name is Brady, but there’s only ever ‘Brad’ so my mom would always buy the Brad and carefully draw a ‘y’ on for me. Aww moms. So great :)

  18. This is too funny! Just this weekend, I was at a birthday party for my 7-year old niece, who has a name with a unique spelling. One of her grandmothers gave her a clock, engraved with her name. She looks it over, and then exclaims excitedly: “It has my name on it! And for the FIRST TIME IN MY LIFE it’s spelled right!”

    1. Cute!

      I guess I’m going to go and try to find a toothbrush with “jdurley” on it for when you guys all come crash at my place.. it’s funny.. I seem to be able to find a number of Janice, Janine, Jackie, Jessica, Jinny, Joanne, but no “jdurley”… it’s not as common as you might think.. ;)

  19. I have one of the most popular name for what, the last 15 years? And yet, nothing with my name on it because my mother chose the French spelling of it. But nowadays, everyone wants to name their kids something unique, so I think stranger names are showing up on those turnstiles more and more nowadays. Maybe I’ll get my personalized bike license plate after all!

  20. My name is Jana, and I think it’s a pretty uncommon name (I’ve only met one other Jana…) and I still manage to find magnets and little license plate keychains with my name on them. It’s pretty cool :]

  21. My name is Jennifer, which is one of the most common names in my age group. I was always able to find things with my name on them, which was cool, but because they were so readily available it wasn’t special. I don’t think I ever bought anything with my name on it. Finding something with your uncommon name must be exciting!

    1. Yes, Agostino’s, papa “Guido” tooth brush story IS totally awesome for sure! But I was waiting to hear how you do on the squeaky *word-up* turnstile wheel of collectables magnanymously inscribed with~ Magda^.^

                1. You know Wendy, if you prefer to match black and brown that would be okay too, but since we both think blue is such a lovely colour it does work and I’m happy for it as long as it is :)

                    1. I understand, but it’s too bad.

                      “When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.” – Jimi Hendrix

                      One could easily replace the word *power* with the word *money*

  22. It always kills me when I see like seven different spellings of Megan on things like that, and not a single Risa. So once I found a keychain with Marisa on it, and I just scraped off the M and the A. WIN.

  23. Olivia isn’t tooo bad, especially nowadays when it’s actually I think the top or second most popular name for babies. But when I was a little, it wasn’t quite popular enough and I’d always swing those racks around and see Nicole and then Pam. (I do not know a single Pam.)

  24. It is surprisingly hard to find the name Cassandra on little trinkets. So when I find it (and not spelled as Kassandra) it’s totally AWESOME.

    1. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Kassandra anywhere…

      BTW I think my name’s popularized recently – in my 13 years I’ve found 2 souvenirs with it, plus correct spelling!

  25. If I ever found my name on a tacky souvenir, I’d probably be in an awesome mood for days. I’ve neverrrr been able to find Rachelle on anything! Its ALWAYS Rachel.

  26. I can never find Rose on ANYTHING! Yet there’s always Rosie, Rosaleen, Rosemary, Roisin and so on. Why not Rose?! The upside is that anything personalised I do have was specifically made for me, makes it all the more special! And as a kid I was completely satisfied by the fact that my name was on all the pink Crayola pencils. That’s awesome!

  27. OMG Way too funny!! I actually had to travel half way around the world to find it at a truck stop in the outskirts of Italy…. Good news for me – it was right next to Salvatore!!

  28. Oddly, I see Beth on every rack of personalized items everywhere, yet….in all of my 36 years I’ve never known another Beth. I know it’s not a weird name, but it certainly isn’t a popular name. Maybe it once was, I don’t know. But….it’s always there!
    Now, I’ve named my daughter a name that I have yet to see anywhere. So I just get personalized stuff made especially for her. I think that makes it even nicer.

  29. i never can find a soviner w/ my name on it Alecia it’s always, Alicia dude give us oddballs some respect!!! i guess i could go 4the one w/ Ali on then again it is sometimes hard as well

  30. The only time I found ‘Juanita’ on anything in a gift shop was in Southern California close to the Mexican border. I cherish it still!

  31. Ugh. This is one of my pet peeves, because I have yet to experience the awesomeness. On every personalized souvenir stand, they have Dave as well as David, Bobby as well as Bob and Robert, even Dick as well as Richard! But there’s never a Will. Oh, there’s William and Bill, but never Will! I mean, it’s not THAT uncommon a nickname, is it?

    But I agree, if I ever do find something with Will on it, it will be AWESOME!

  32. I wiiiiiiisssh I could have made it to your Indigo talk!!! I’m flying into Toronto in a couple days and gonna miss it and the other couple talks you’re doing around Toronto-area too :( Good luck and can’t wait to read the new book. You are epic.

  33. I have problems with finding Frances, plenty of Francescas but never Frances. I always end up going for my middle name instead XD

  34. My name is spelled uniquely – Jeanna (pronounced “Jenna”). I remember when I was a child, my mom found a nameplate that said Jeanne’s Room. She took the time to scrape off the last “e” and draw an “a” with a black marker to match the other letters. I was so proud to show off my nameplate. Never found anything since. *sigh*

  35. This was one of the “Baby Name Tests” my sister and her husband had when picking the names for their children- they had to find it on the rack of pencils, license plate keychains or magnets. (Their name also had to sound good when putting it behind fancy titles- Judge, Doctor, CEO, Esq.)
    I’ve never had trouble with my own name- Susan.. perfectly plain and ordinary, and always on the squeaky rack of nameplates

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