Wednesday, December 17, 2008

I'm taking a holiday from holiday cards

This is my official "get well soon" card to the greeting card industry.

In the last week, I have never seen more lame, bland and boring holiday greeting cards than I have in years.

I admit, I've had a beef with card companies for years for their never-ending narrow-minded views. Father's Day cards assume all men are slobs who watch TV like couch potatoes or blow off everything for a golf game. Mother Day's cards assume all women wash clothes and pick up stuff from the floor all the time. I don't know how you could fit everybody into these outdated stereotyped little "downer" boxes. There's nothing empowering about these card's intentions.

The world has become culturally more sophisticated and diverse, but for the major greeting card companies, it hasn't.

Maybe the economy has forced Hallmark and American Greetings to recycle the same designs that they've had for decades, making them very profitable. But I feel like I'm watching the recent baseball playoff season on Fox TV again with the same mind-numbing DirecTV "Vacation" parody commercials played endlessly until I want to sign an affidavit that the last thing I would ever purchase is a satellite dish.

I rifled through Papyrus in Grand Central Station and was appalled by the same card packages I've seen every year: tumbling polar bears, Santa hitching a car ride with his reindeer, skaters at Rockefeller Center, St. Patrick's Cathedral in the snow, and a dove with a branch in its beak. I went to one of these "paperie" stores: same thing. Today, I went to the local card store and turned right back out the door.

In bad economic times, people need cheer, not overabundant morose sentiments. Yes, comfort and warmth and all that stuff is good too, but not monopolizing all the greeting card racks.

Hallmark, American Greetings and other manufacturers seem really out of touch by not providing a pick me up to consumers who need a smile when they are cutting back and/or out of work. Until they come out of the stone age, I am buying my cards elsewhere.

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