During my wander through the 798 art district on the weekend I noticed there were many more gift shops selling handicrafts, or quirky things that are not quite one of a kind, and not too mainstream either.
How all these shops managed to find so many different items is interesting and prices weren't too bad either.
They sold all kinds of things from notebooks and canvas bags, art books, note cards, even DIY crafts and even cute rubber boots decorated with cartoons.
Others had artistic themes, selling small zippered pouches with Chinese contemporary paintings printed on them, jewelry and clothing.
Then there was one shop I just went into because many other people went in. It's called Panda Slow Delivery and in it are all kinds of postcards featuring the loveable black-and-white animal in cartoon form. The shop space had lots of exposed brick and it felt kind of homey inside with the centre of the room filled with white tables and everyone seemed to be writing postcards.
I later found out the shop will deliver postcards for you, even far into the future if you wish. There are also blank books on the table where people write or draw whatever they want. My colleague told me some people wrote letters to their parents, pouring their hearts out, while others left cute notes or doodles on the page.
The store totally appeals to those born in the 80's, even selling pages of old homework with red ink corrections on them, sheets with exam results on them, and "certificates" for good or bad boyfriends or girlfriends and even a parental test for expectant fathers. There were also many toys that these 20-somethings would have played with in their youth, from toy pianos and dolls to the metal pencil boxes they took to school.
While the shop had a lot of traffic, selling postcards at 8RMB a piece isn't going to make a profit anytime soon. However the owners don't seem to care. The concept of the store is to get people to slow down and enjoy the present moment.
In an age where young people are constantly on their cell phones sending text messages and chatting online, shopping on the Internet and taking the subway to get around, it's refreshing to see the younger generation realizing that time goes by if you don't stop and enjoy it once in a while.