It’s a slow news day in Gracetopia so I would like to discuss one of my PET PEEVES.
Every single time I go to buy a card—for a birthday, a coworker leaving, Mother’s Day—I usually either leave the store with 0 cards or extremely disappointed in the 1 card I found with which I was willing to make do. 98% of the time I do buy a card, it’s a Peanuts card because those are the least offensive.
WHY is buying a card so impossible? Did it used to be this bad or was I just not paying attention?
Basically my complaints fall into 2 categories:
1. Content. From what I can tell, greeting cards are either a) insulting/juvenile, b) flowery/romantic/thanking God or c) Peanuts. Perhaps that is an over-simplification, but really? There has to be a happy middle ground in Mother’s Day cards that isn’t a poop joke or a poem about how mothers are like daffodils in the sunlight. And I refuse to buy birthday cards that are insulting. I am not going to jokingly insult people just because that is the only option Hallmark gives me. (Besides which, if I’m going to jokingly insult people I can do a much better, more personalized job of it than Hallmark.)
2. Addressee. Almost all the cards are addressed “to” someone, so even if I find a message I like, if I want to give it to my brother it is probably addressed To My Favorite Niece (probably for a specific birthday). Frankly, it’s kind of presumptuous of Hallmark et al to think they know all about my relationships and how I might want to “card” them. (Yes, I verbed it.) This morning, for instance, I wanted to buy a birthday card for one of the kids I sponsor through Children International. That cuts out like 95% of cards right there, since they’re addressed to someone specific and the sponsored child niche hasn’t been exploited yet. Cut out another 10% for being pop culturey and another 10% for being annoying and that leaves me with… wait… I did that wrong… anyway you get what I’m trying to say. Don’t presume you know who I want to give a card to, or what my relationship with them is like. America may be going down the tubes, but I’m pretty sure most of us can still write “To My Favorite Niece” on any card we choose. What if my niece likes Batman? I’m pretty much screwed.
So, Hallmark. I want to spend money on your product. I really do. But I refuse to get my mother an insulting mother’s day card, I refuse to get my sponsored child a card addressed to my great-uncle, and I refuse to give an annoying/insulting card just because that’s available. (If you’re wondering, I buy a lot of packs of blank cards and write “Happy Birthday! Love Grace.”)
Does anyone else have this problem? Does anyone think I’m totally wrong and the greeting card industry has a WONDERFUL selection? Maybe it’s different in different areas?
Postscript to Nisse and anyone else who cares: I apologize for my abuse of statistics in this post.