The card rack display, strategically placed in the center of the store, ensured a high volume of customers would pass by. “Smart,” I mentally approved as I examined the vast inventory. “As people pass by, seeing the greeting cards will prompt them to buy cards for upcoming birthdays, graduations or other momentous occasions in their family.”
The greeting card industry is big business. Americans spend 6.5 billion dollars a year on cards. Seven out of ten card buyers consider greeting cards essential to them. Typical cost of each greeting card is between two dollars and ten.
I’m one of the three people out of ten who don’t feel cards are essential. I’d rather give someone a gift worth an extra ten dollars than spend it on a card. I hate greeting cards for many reasons.
My biggest complaint about them has to do with their messages. If I’m looking for a birthday card to send to my mother or father-in-law, I spend a long time scouring the available selection for messages I feel comfortable with. Many of them say things like, “Thank you for all the wonderful things you have done for me. The lessons you taught me about life will live on through your grandchildren.” Gack! They didn’t raise me, so I don’t want a card like that.
Another type of card I don’t like have verses written by Helen Steiner Rice. Reading, “What is a Mother?” makes me feel like I’m drowning in syrup. If you disagree with me, please don’t send me a “I hate you” greeting card. Don’t worry, I’m certain something like that exists.
I enjoy humorous cards. Unfortunately, the person receiving a ‘funny’ card needs to share your sense of humor. I picked up a card that had a picture of two pigs on the front and inside said, “If I were as old as you, I’d be a football.” I quickly put it down. That definitely wouldn’t work for an in-law.
My favorite cards are blank. That means every single one is appropriate for any occasion.
As I examine card after card, I wonder where they keep the ones that simply say something like, “Happy birthday.” or “Have fun celebrating your special day.”
Time dragged by as I agonized over which card to buy. Meanwhile, dozens of shoppers wheeled past, some stopping for only a moment or two to select a card.
When I finally manage to find an acceptable card and it already says “Happy Birthday” or “Have fun celebrating your special day,” what is left for me to write beyond my name?
I like to craft messages, but hate to hand write. I hold the pen with a left-handed death-grip and the ink smears as my fist drags over the words. My hands ache since they have become arthritic. Not only is it painful, but I have horrible penmanship. I know how words are supposed to look, but my hand jerks this way and that, never obeying the Palmer method. My penmanship is worse than that of a poorly educated third grader.
After a very long time, I finally find the cards I feel comfortable buying. Before going to check-out, I return to the humorous cards again. I really want to buy the card with the two pigs on the front. Being called old leather isn’t an insult. Vintage leather is highly sought after. Good quality leather never wears out. As it ages, it burnishes and beautifies. It develops a much sought-after patina. I think the card is funny but can’t think of anyone who is wacky enough to agree with me.
Now, if I could only figure out how to make my writing look pretty, the people receiving these cards from me will actually know what I wrote!