Our city souvenir shops are very well organized. They offer free tea and coffee with candies, tiny shots of vodka enabling you to taste some of the flavoured types, clean and modern toilets. English speaking sales assistants who are eager to tell you the origin and technology of different crafts, even if you buy nothing at the end of the day.
In general I consider that going to the shops is fun. It is also a nice change from the daytime cultural activity.
NB. People often ask me to take them not to the expensive tourist stores, but to some reasonable and affordable place. But unfortuanetly if anyone wants to buy souvenirs, whether he is a cruise passenger or a provincial Russian person, he has to go to the specialized souvenir shops.
Normal Russian shops which sell clothes, food or household goods, do not sell souvenirs. I am serious about it. Inexpensive local places do not exist, I am sorry. If to go shopping there is no other sensible option other than to go to a souvenir shop which is in general oriented towards tourists and:
In case you think that there is some personal reason for me to suggest these to you I am ready either to skip shopping completely or to take you to any address you give me. But the reality is that I can take you to the least expensive of the tourist souvenir shops which has the largest choice of inexpensive items, but I can not do better than that.