Thursday, September 27, 2012

American Cheatings

There is a scam out there as old as the hills that has been cheating Americans (and probably other people) out of their hard earned money. Yes, I am talking about the greeting card industry. But no, I’m not talking about holidays that the greeting card companies invented just so they could increase their profits, like Valentine’s Day and Easter. I’m talking about the ridiculous prices they are charging for these cards.

According to the research I just did using some pencils, a computer, and a calculator which apparently has no batteries, the average cost of a greetings card is about $3.00 but many near the range of $5.00 to $6.00. This is outrageous!

But before we dive into this discussion I feel like I should disclose something. This is hard for me to say, so I guess I should just come out and say it. My parents owned an American Greetings card and gift store from the time I was about 10 years old until my thirties. So, yes, I come from blood money.

I’m not proud of this. But since then, I have learned about the evils of greeting cards and about the lives they have destroyed. They must be stopped!

Pat: Greeting cards? Can’t you just say “hi” to people in person? That’s what I do. Seems a lot easier than writing a card. And it’s free.

Christian: You don’t ever buy greeting cards? What about for Mother’s day? Weddings? High School/College graduations? Flag day?


Pat:  Well, I guess I do...sometimes. But, being from Eugene, I had one of those “crunchy” upbringings. You know...whole grain cereals, whole wheat flour, carob, make-your-own fruit leather. And part of that ethic included gifts and cards that you made yourself. I was taught to believe that such things meant more since they came from your own blood, sweat and lots of tears. Like this:

Feel the love?

So...I gotta’ admit, this whole greeting cards racket is kinda’ new to me. Tell me more! Or would it be better to stop telling me anything now, in order to ensure my safety from the card mob?

Christian: Well if you have ever seen “The Godfather” then you know what it’s like. Basically change whatever it was that the Corleone family did to make money with selling greeting cards and you have it. Now, I’m not saying that there is a lot of violence involved in the greeting card industry but I’m also not saying there isn’t. If you know what I mean.

Pat:  Okay, well, now you’ve brought up something else that’s kind of embarrassing. Umm...I’ve never seen “The Godfather”. Any of them (what are there, like six of them?). I know I’m Italian and should see it in order to understand my cultural heritage, but I guess I’m more “Il Postino” than I am mobster flicks. Sorry if I let you down (again).

So if I haven’t seen the movie, I probably won’t understand greeting cards, right?

Christian: Definitely not. But let me try and help you understand. First off, as I mentioned above, they are way too expensive. A greeting card is just some sappy writing on fancy paper. And they want $3 to $6 dollars for that? You could feed a family of four half a meal for that price.

Second of all, and I can’t stress this enough, the sappy writing. Yes it’s mentioned again. That’s how bad it is.

Here’s an example:

Happy Birthday!
My dear sweet friend,
I’m enthralled by your beauty, mesmerized by your charisma,
and spellbound by your love.
I hope your special day is blessed with
sunshine, smiles, laughter, and happiness.

Was I raised by a pack of Care Bears? Who talks like this?

Now typically, I never go for the “serious” cards that have heartfelt messages on them. Pee-yew! If you give someone one of those you might as well write the following message in the card:

“Instead of telling you how special you are to me in my own words, I found these words that a complete stranger wrote and sold for some money to a giant corporation while I was at the grocery store buying some ham. Luckily they describe exactly my deepest emotions about how I feel about you, and I got a great price on the ham.”

Is that the message you want to give a loved one? No.

And don’t even get me started on the ones that are labeled as “humorous”. The word “ladle” is light years ahead of the greeting card companies when it comes to humor.

Basically what I’m saying is that greeting cards should be abolished by society. Is that too much to ask?

Pat:  I’m no expert on our Constitution or the details of its legislative workings, but I don’t think the abolition of greeting cards is something our initiative and referendum system was designed to handle.

Unlike you, I am all for insincere hyperbole when expressing our feelings towards another person. When else are we going to use those words?

Christian: OK, fine we can keep these lame cards around. I agree that it is easier to just go buy a lame card then make one yourself. But there should at least be some laws on how much the greeting card companies can charge for them. They pretty much have a Monopoly on the market and I think they are taking advantage of it. They’re basically sinking our Battleship. Making it harder for us to win at the game of Life. It really Boggles my mind. They could at least get a Clue and say they were Sorry. I would like to feed them to a bunch of Hungry Hungry Hippos. It’s no Trivial Pursuit to.. uh....umm... OK, I’m done.

Pat: Hey! We agreed not to talk to any underwriters unless we were together...are you staying true to that? You better not be screwing me out of free board games!

Christian: Balderdash! I would never Risk our friendship by running some Operation behind your back just to get some free board games. Never.

Yahtzee!!!

47 comments:

  1. I never buy greeting cards. If a card is absolutely necessary, I get a scratch-card instead. Funny how no one ever complains about not getting a card when they have the chance to win money, and it always costs me less than a card would.

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    1. This is such an excellent idea that I'm going to go out and by myself a greeting I mean scratch-card right now.

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    2. And what says "I'm thinking about you" more than a possible gambling addiction? FANTASTIC idea!

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  2. Ha! That's why I pay a dumb infant to scrawl a message in crayon on construction paper and mail that to loved ones. It's cheaper (because infants are dumb) and the recipient is unable to deny that the sentiment is "sweet."

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    1. I have often thought that infants are an untapped cheap source of labor for many products.

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    2. I KNOW! I don't think people adequately estimate the persuasive power of crappy child-made stuff!

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  3. I prefer someecards myself. Regular greeting cards just lack the sass and downright rudeness that you can get from thoughtfully insulting cards online.

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    1. I can't figure out how to make the keys say what I want to say. :(

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  4. You both have kids. Start making them earn their keep! They should be making all your cards for your card giving needs. Unless your card making needs are inappropriate - which I don't need to know about. But see? We're right back into the seedy underbelly of greeting card manufacturing.

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    1. Oh believe me I am on this. This year alone I had my kids make cards for Mother's day and my wife's b-day (my wife did the same for me), both my parent's b-days, my sister's b-day and two of my nieces' b-days. And for every kid's b-day we went to this year. I'm sticking it to the man for sure!

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    2. WAY ahead of you, Marian! My kids have been sweating out birthday, mother's day, thanksgiving, christmas, arbor day, eid, yom kippur, 4th of july, bastille day and juneteenth cards since they were, like, two.

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  5. I was raised by militant card-givers. And I'm anti-card giving. You should see how unenthusiastically and with such bitterness I pick out cards for my mom. If she ever saw a video of it it would probably break her heart. Then I'd have to get her an apology card. That's how they get you.

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    1. They should allow people to register as anti-card givers. Then we could get an anti-card giving card that we could just show people instead of giving them a card. "Sorry, I'm an registered anti-card giver, here's my card."

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    2. Know what I wanna' start giving? Greeting lint balls! That'll make 'em think twice about casting their judgmental eyes my way!

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  6. "Ladle" is hilarious. So is "carob", actually. Talk about "blood money"...My mother had a friend who owned a spice company and was trying to make carob powder "hip and happening", so they recruited my (very attractive) mom to make some low-production-value local television commericals talking about how much more delicious carob milk was than chocolate milk. a) they were big, fat liars and b) the fact that my mom could say that with a straight face was a testament to her acting abilities. I wish they made a greeting card that said, "Carob sucks. But you almost made me want to buy it because you are a fantastic actress."

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    1. Sure, who wouldn't love to receive a "Carob sucks. But you almost made me want to buy it because you are a fantastic actress." greeting card but you just know the greeting card corporations would probably charge something like $7 for something like that. Highway robbery!

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  7. "Was I raised by a pack of CareBears?"! Will now be snorting out loud every time I shop for cards. I blame you guys for all the people who will be backing away in fear from the crazy snorting lady...the cost of cards nowadays is definitely motivation for my totally non-crafty self to whip out the safety scissors and construction paper and go to town...

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    1. Yes! Maybe if we all start making our own cards the greeting card dynasties will be forced to lower their prices. Or we could just start shoplifting them.

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  8. If you buy a really nice gift, people forgive the lack of a card. I've even fibbed and said, "oops I forgot the card at home" or "it's not in the bag?" Saves me a few bucks. Love the whole, awesome board game rant! Love real Yahtzee with the cup, dice and score pad(reminds me of college) Fun post!

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    1. Oooohh, the lying strategy. I never thought about that. That's great! And yes Yahtzee should be played with a real cup and dice, like god intended.

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  9. If there were an Army for anti-greeting cardness and fake holidays I would be a general. So, 1,000 points for Christian and -1,000 points for Pat who doesn't know how the Constitution works.

    I once got a musical birthday card from a German friend (who surely did not understand the words of the song) and the refrain of the song was " I love you, whoever you would have been". It's a rap song about an abortion. I think I would have been happier being attacked by Care Bears.

    PS You can hear the song here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XijQW0DqLLk

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    1. A rap song about abortion? What better way to say I'm thinking of you.

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  10. I, too, have a shameful secret. I used to work for a greeting card company, restocking their shelves in grocery store displays. So I can tell you without a doubt that the Big Card fat cats get rich by seriously under-paying their workers. Except that company went out of business, so I could be wrong.

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    1. My mom used to do that too and that's how she parlayed her way into eventually owning her own card and gift store. Her previous job was at Hickory Farms. Now there's a company I can get behind. Cheese and beef stick.

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  11. I love to get my friends the really awkwardly religious cards, because nothing quite says happy birthday to a good friend like, "Celebrate this glorious day of your birth like a newborn fawn in the house of your Lord Jesus Christ."

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    1. Sweet. I like to start writing a random name on the card, draw a line through it, then write the real recipient's name. I want to make sure they think I'm not putting much thought or effort into it. It ensures they don't get a big head about me giving them a card which is something I'm very concerned about.

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  12. I gotta say, I love cards. Love to buy them, love to send them, love to receive them. I can stand in the card section of Target for, like, 20 minutes.

    But lately I have cheaped out and made my sons draw the cards. However, they are on to me and have started to rebel (or ask to be paid-- same dif). My solution? Have the boys spend about 2 hours painting a watercolor image of turtles and fish, then color-Xerox it at work when my boss is not looking. I shrink it down and make, like, 50 cards. Then all I have to pay for is envelopes! Win/win!

    And nothing says Happy Birthday/ Merry Christmas/ Happy Easter/ Happy Anniversary like sea turtles swimming around with some kelp.

    best,
    MOV

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    1. Yes seat turtles and kelp seem to apply to any occasion. So how much do your sons charge per card?

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    2. why are you responding to my response to your post? no one reads the responses to the responses! ever! and no one comments back on the comment of the comment to the original. at least without not taking their shoes back off, or putting them on first.

      to answer your question, my sons charge a dime per card because I have told them that dimes are the coin that is equivalent to a ten dollar bill. this might make their math teachers mad at some point, but that is soooooooo not my problem.

      best,
      MOV

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    3. Not sure if I'm supposed to reply to this or not. You also mentioned math so now I really don't know what I'm supposed to do.

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    4. Wait....what? We don't HAVE to respond? Fuck it! I thought that was blog-law.

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  13. You know, I really do want to say, “Instead of telling you how special you are to me in my own words, I found these words that a complete stranger wrote and sold for some money to a giant corporation while I was at the grocery store buying some ham. Luckily they describe exactly my deepest emotions about how I feel about you, and I got a great price on the ham” in a greeting card.

    Do you charge royalties? I was about to mail out some "home made" (overpriced) zazzle cards for Halloween, and I think this would be perfect.

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    1. I would charge royalties if I had any clue how to. But since I don't it's all yours.

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    2. Maybe I can pay you in a greeting card or three when I have them printed. I hope to have them in time for Winter-Holiday-Greeting-Card-Guilt Month... If you want to send me your address I will send you some and promise not to stalk you. My email is under the contact me on my blog...

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    3. Oh you actually do want to make them. You must be one of those people I keep hearing about that has motivation and know-how. Sweet! Yes that would be cool to get one or three. I'll e-mail you.

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  14. We brought this upon ourselves. I don't buy greeting cards because I think they're stupid, which drives my mother CRAZY. She (and her whole generation) buy greeting cards. Now that my (much superior) generation has figured the scam, the card companies had to raise the prices.

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    1. Hopefully the next generation will be the ones to take them down. It can't be ours because I really don't have the energy or time what with all the different TV programs that are out there.

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  15. Make your own fruit leather. Lulz.

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    1. I love my mother dearly, but dear god, it SUCKED! Tasted like boot leather (and at least that rhymes with "fruit").

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  16. I always know a good blog when I read one. It is one like this one that can keep me reading about a topic as generic as greeting cards. haha. Very funny post. I hate buying greeting cards because they are over priced and useless. Just write it on a piece of notebook paper because I don't usually save them anyway. Mom of The Year gave you a shout out this morning and I popped over to check out your blog. I will be back because you live in my google reader now.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by. And I had forgotten about the fact that these cards just end up getting thrown away 5 mins after the person receives the card. Excellent point! Yet another reason why they are such a scam.

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  17. What in the hell is an 'initiative and referendum system'? Also the thing I HATE about greeting cards is that I ALWAYS forget to get one and then I have to make a completely separate trip to get one and then I get distracted by all the pretty shades of nail polish and next thing you know I've forgotten the flipping card yet again. WHY do they have to put them in the back of the store? I often wonder if there is one of those sand worms from that awful movie Tremors back there. (This may be the most schizophrenic comment I have ever made. Maybe not though...)

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    1. Well, it's the system whereby voters can enact legislation...

      Wait a minute. Really? Do you care? I could go on. Let me know.

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  18. I just found your blog and I would like to say it's awesome. Like sausage. If there was a manufactured card that compared my deep love for ground meat shoved inside an intestine casing and your blog, I would send it to you. Unfortunately, you have to hear it straight from me. My apologies.

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    1. Wow thanks! I think that is the best compliment we have ever gotten. Seriously. Sausage is something I hold dear to my heart. And my arteries.

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