T-Shirt Shops, Key West
When going into this shop, ask for the price before you check out. This store attempted to charge me $96 for 3 t-shirts and a shot glass. When we refused to pay, the store employee threatened to call the police; when we agreed to wait he proceeded to yell obscenities (ex:"Get the hell out, F you you a-holes!) to my entire family as we were leaving the store.
I have never encountered behavior like this before in my 46 years of living.
By the way, the same products were bought at a shop down the road for $37, so look around.
Unique Suggestions: Walk out.
Fun Alternatives: Walk a little further down Duvall St to another shop... there are plenty others.
T-shirt shops vibrating with the thumping beat of dance and pop chart faves seem to be a staple of any Florida tourist town. What you need to remember, however, is that while most carry shirts sporting pretty much the same cartoon graphics or embroidered place names, they don't all necessarily charge the same price. If you see a T-shirt you like, note the price and keep it in the back of your mind. As you wander down Duval Street you just might find that same shirt at a better bargain.
If you're looking for a clothing souvenier unique to Key West, do yourself a favor and stay out of the tacky t-shirt shops. I've traveled around enough to realize they're the same shirts you get in Key West, NC, Savannah, etc. with different locations "Key West" printed on them.
Unique Suggestions: Look for something that's not identical to what is sold in every other shop.
Fun Alternatives: If you want a unique t-shirt, check out the vendors in Mallory Square. I purchased a few nice polos that had some little handpainted scenes on them. They were good quality white cotton polos and at least you won't have the same thing as everyone else and you're supporting local artists. I'll see if I can dig out a pic of one of these shirts...
Beware, the shop keeps will throw deals on top of deals at you. This tactic is designed to drain as much money out of you as they can.
Just buy what you want and say no to the rest.
Unless you have a lot to spend, you can hagal for a better deal, the better at hagaling you are, the better deal you will get.
See all those storefronts with racks of tee-shirts along Duval Street and Front Street? Stay away! You'll walk in for a $5.00 tee and end up spending ten times that, thanks to the "2-for-1" offers, high pressure salesmen, and outrageous decal costs.
Instead, look for the street vendors along Duval. Usually, the quality will be as good (or better) than the shirts found in the shops. Or I suggest that you buy a souvenier tee from your favorite bar. You won't spend as much, and you'll have a real Key West memory.
T-shirt shops have been found guilty of scamming customers, failing to give written estimates of costs, and telling them how much T-shirts would cost after the work was done. Sometimes they would quote one price for the work and then charge another price at the the register. 37 out of 40 shops were in violation of the codes which are meant to stop these practices and eight of them were found guilty in a special master hearing in February 2004. Those shope are Smile Mon Inc., Smile Mon II, Sun Island, Coconut Island of Key West, Sunset Sport, Inc., Paradise Corner, Sivan of Key West and the Pelican. They were barred from making T-shirts for 10 days and fined $5000.00. The suspensions are being appealed.
Unique Suggestions: I have not been here, but if you don't want to buy from the aggressive T-shirt vendors, I suggest going to the T-Shirt Factory and getting a custom shirt with whatever logo you like done for you. They will charge about $15.00 each
316 Simonton St.
I have a picture under the Shopping Tips
Fun Alternatives: If you have a car, and are in Key West on the weekend, take a ride up to the Big Pine Flea Market, which is every Saturday and Sunday between 8 and 2. If you don't mind digging through the pile to find your size or color or logos that you like, you can get 4 T-shirts or polo shirts for $10.00 (usually seconds which will often have a star embroidered over the flaw). They also sell food (to eat or to cook), jewelry, socks, sunglasses, and souveniers.
I know there are a ton of T-shirt shops on Duval Str. My advice is STAY AWAY! I received a T-shirt from Key West in 2002 from my sister in law. It was washed and dried twice and the "silk screening" all but faded away. Cheap Cheap Cheap !!!!
The stories about T-shirt shops selling "custom" shirts for $70-100 are true. In fact several of these crooks have been arrested recently. The best way to protect yourself is to just walk away. If they try to rip you off and demand payment for a shirt you didn't order contact the Police. They know the situation and will help you.
Unique Suggestions: Browse around, some of the shirts are funny. Browse only!
Fun Alternatives: Go to K-Mart near Stock Island. cheaper t-shirts, better product.
Actually this goes for all the T-Shirt stores in the Keys: Do you really need to add another cheesy T-Shirt to your collection??? Or some stupid beads? Or some other silly souvenir that will end up in the garbage or is some shoebox stowed away. I wish all the T-Shirt store were bars, cafes, galleries
You'd better go the a bar and spend your money on a drink. Believe me you will have a much better time that spending your precious time and hard-earned money in a T-Shirt store on some meaningless souvenir.
Beware of the t-shirt shop sales people. Some of them are real pirates. Compare proces first then buy. The KW T-Shirt factory is way cooler than the Duval shirts anyway. I forget their address but I'm going there at the end of this month and I'll post it then. Now their T-shirts are an absolute must have! All hand screened before your very eyes and the best designs in town.
Unique Suggestions: Dicker a little for god's sake!
Fun Alternatives: The Key West T-shirt factory. I'll be writing more about it later in my places to visit section.
They've been investigated by the FBI for supplying money to terrorists.. not sure how it turned out.. anyways, they sell ugly t-shirts with filthy messages on them that have nothing to do with Key West... don't buy from them. Maybe if we ignore them they will go away!
Duvall street is filled with 'T' shirt factorys/stores where they instantly silk screen shirts with pictures....While in some of the shops casually buying a 'T' shirt the owners will ask you to pick out a couple of free shirts....He than asks your opinion of various designs for the shirts...The shirts are free...but the logo's are about 15.00 each...so your tab may be higher than you think...It wasn't a big deal, but I thought it a little on the old fashion 'hustle' selling side...I think an international visitor might be a little surprised as the free turns out to be anything but...free
Tee Shirt Shops!!!! Be Careful. Some try to trick you into making custom shirts and charging you outrageous prices. Just walk out, or call the police if this happens and they are asking you to pay. The Key West police know about this scam and will protect you.