this isn’t as big a deal to me as this post makes it sound

It’s a slow news day in Gracetopia so I would like to discuss one of my PET PEEVES.

Greeting cards.

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.


5 thoughts on “this isn’t as big a deal to me as this post makes it sound

  1. I always get blanks.

    except I buy the boy birthday cards, because he has a Halloween birthday, and I’m just amazed that there is actually a special set of cards specifically designed for people who were born around Halloween.

  2. I’m totally with you! We went to three different stores to get my father in law a birthday card and… yeah, they all sucked. I mean, they didn’t all suck, they just all sucked for him. I’m hoping for a new batch of cards in the next month or so, since the only one that I found for my husband’s upcoming birthday, I couldn’t resist showing him.

    BTW, ever notice how the cards that WOULD be just about perfect (both sincere and relatively funny) always have SOMETHING really stupid in them? Like “when I saw you, it was love at first sight”- total lie!, but the rest of the card was perfect…

    My mom has a good solution though. She just buys the best card and then crosses out “son” and writes “daughter” or crosses out “40” and writes “26” or whatever. Hubs isn’t into that, but I always find it a great way to personalize something that’s usually impersonal.

  3. Dear Grace,
    Is this a ‘re-rant’ from a couple of years ago? I seem to recall that you got your undies in a bunch
    about this another time as well. Just checking.
    (BTW and FWIW I agree with your sentiments 100%, and if there was a card conveying this notion
    I’d send it to you.)

  4. blank cards are ALWAYS the way to go! honestly speaking, i only get the generic message cards for people i don’t really care (much) about. and while we’re on the subject, i always wonder who writes the generic messages. you’re right, some of `em are pure rubbish and majority are usually reallyreally corny (unrealistic) stuff people would “say.” ugh.

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