Greeting cards: Message quality varies with the cost
When recently browsing the greeting cards rack, I discovered a disturbing trend: card prices continue to climb; and while cheap cards are available, the message quality varies with the cost. In other words, most card makers reserve their best and cleverest writing for expensive cards and their least artful writing for cheaper cards.
In fact, if there is a standard approach, it is that expensive cards string together literate sentences written so elegantly that, if you’re not observant, you miss the banality beneath; mid-priced cards are often poems of highly variable quality; while cheap cards string together random thoughts as if they embody a coherent message… but rarely do.
Here’s a sample of what one might find this season in a pharmacy card display.
SAMPLE MOTHER’S DAY CARDS (HUSBAND-TO-WIFE):
$6.95 Card message:
To my dear wife:
You are my rose, my violet, whose roots sustain me
And whose fragrance keeps the squirrels from my bird feeder.
You are like a beautiful gemstone, a sapphire or ruby,
Who appeared in the diadem of my life, costing a small fortune.
I see you before me, as if in a dream, making a pudding for our lovely children,
Or perhaps macaroni and cheese, or reheating some pizza.
I anoint you with myrrh and honey (sorry about the bees).
In short, you are of a swellness I never thought I’d have in my life,
Or be able to support in proper style should something short of death
Do us part.
Happy Mother’s Day!
$4.95 Card message:
To my wife:
You are beauty, you are grace.
I admire you’re lovely face.
You’ve been a great mother to our kids.
Teaching them their Don’ts and Dids.
And their Dos, too.
Happy Mother’s Day, Sweetie!
$2.95 card message:
To my gal:
You’re a helluva wife and mother.
Way to go, Girl. You rock.
So happy I had my kids with you.
You really rock. You’re way sexy too.
Happy Mother’s Day – don’t forget to order onion rings!
SAMPLE FATHER’S DAY CARDS (WIFE-TO-HUSBAND):
$6.95 Card Message:
To My Darling Husband on Father’s Day:
You are the captain of my steamship,
While I am your steamship authority.
(Beware of rogue waves — your mother!)
You are the quarterback of our “home” team,
While I am your offensive coordinator.
(Remember, no audibles!)
In short, my life has little or no meaning without you.
(To be honest, little, not none.)
As Epictetus said, “First learn the meaning of what you say, and then speak.”
In other words: Hush my darling; be my silent partner.
Happy Father’s Day!
$4.99 Card Message:
To My Dear Husband:
You want us to make babies.
But your heart is in the “making.”
Though you claim I “really love it.”
Can’t you tell I’m really faking?
Gotcha! From Your Loving Wife on Father’s Day,
$2.95 Card Message:
You’re a helluva father.
Hwook hwook hwook! you say, pumping your fist
While holding the remote out of my reach.
I love your enthusiasm.
You rock. You really really rock.
Happy Father’s Day, you, uh…you rock star!
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