Monday, July 21, 2008

Greeting Card: Condolences on Spending $5 on me

Greeting cards are something I've never wrapped my head around. I guess cards in general. Maybe this is just my uber-guyness not understanding, but I'd much rather have the $5 you spent on the card, than a lame joke about how old I'm getting with a picture of an old lady on the front of it.

Besides the writing on greeting cards being mostly atrocious, I don't see the sense in people giving them because most of the time people simply write "Happy Birthday" or "Happy Anniversary" and sign their name. It's almost a selfish jester. Maybe three years from when you get it, you find it hiding in a box, you can open it and see... oh Uncle Joe was at my birthday. What a nice guy? People want it to stick in your head that yes, you cared enough about them to give them a card.

Cards also remove the need of being at events. Yes, people that show up at events usually bring cards too, but Aunt Susie that doesn't want to come can mail it. It takes the intimacy out of seeing relatives you don't care to see in the first place. Where's the uncomfortable small talk?

Greeting cards own at least two or three aisles of every Wal Mart because there is a greeting card for every occasion. According to Wikipedia, Hallmark started out making cards just for Valentine's Day (a fake holiday... but we'll discuss more come February 14) and Christmas. Then Mr. Hall got greedy. Fast forward 90 years and you can buy greeting cards for birthdays, thank yous, birth announcements, birth congrats, wedding congrats, generic congrats, get well wishes, and condolences. Yes, for one of the most depressing and horrible moments of a person's life, you can spend $5 on a flower print card, just to remind people how sorry you truly are.

Technology has even spilled into the greeting card industry, and with new technology, my annoyance with the greeting card company has grown. Hallmarks new line of cards speaks to you. These $7 treasures weigh about 10 ounces too much and in the worst sound quality will scream or sing phrases that were already annoying in print.

The other technology of the greeting card company, and probably the thing saving the industry disgusting amounts of money are Ecards. These lovely flash programed cards can be sent via email to assault your monitor and speakers at the same time. I dont' normally open these when sent to me because of the recent rash of phising schemes and viruses being hidden in the links, but I do know many people like sending these. (Cough cough... grandma...cough... Aunt Lisa) And I do open them and enjoy them... but I only open them on my birthday. All other holidays I just don't trust it. (Unless someone specifically tells me to look out for one)

Before I leave you all hating me I will say two validating things about greeting cards. In my hate, I do find myself picking up dozens and reading them anytime Sallie is looking for one to send off. Every now and then I'm surprised and impressed by what I come across, and it passes the time. (I'm going to be sexiest here, but it takes women twenty minutes to find the perfect greeting card. Then the one they want almost never has any envelopes left. Am I right guys?) Second, when someone actually does write something in the card, I keep them. I have a box that has every worthwhile greeting card from the past 10 years shoved in it. So if you truly want me to keep your card for longer than it takes me to walk to the trashcan once you leave, write something in it.