I read a travel magazine that inferred that tourist shops were some sort of low brow, second class sort of traveling. I was sort of disappointed to find out I was somehow substandard.
I like cheesy tourist shops with the city name on plates and such. If you go into a bunch of them on one street, you sort of discover the trademark images or ideas of a city. And you discover how much stuff made in China can be stamped with another city name. I don't generally buy all the stuff though occassionally something strikes me as my style or something I'm willing to take home.
I guess to be truly cultured in your travel, you're suppose to disdain these type of shops and only go places that display local artisans or something. Don't get me wrong, I like local artisan type shops too. It's just that I can see the mass appeal of the chanka-chank tourist places.
Also you have to keep in mind that there are degrees in these stores. I think of Florida ones - t-shirts, towels, and sea shells. Not much else. But here the big ones will have swords, ceramics, Toledo styled gold inlaid items, in addition to t-shirts, stuffed bulls, and shot glasses.
Viva la tourist trap!