I have always had a bit of a problem with card shopping. I am pro-greeting card in the a general sense. I like the fact that cards are an inexpensive and (theoretically) easy way to show someone you care. I enjoy receiving cards as well. I find that I actually prefer receiving a nice card to a perfunctory gift; you know the kind grabbed at an airport gift shop, a gas station or a NFL Pro Shop at which one receives a discount. It is the shopping for cards that trips me up.
I find more often than not that Hallmark has not anticipated the sentiments that I wish to convey to my satisfaction. Not only are most cards on the saccharine side, I find rhyming offensive. I don’t know why, but for some reason a card that rhymes seems less sincere than one that doesn’t. It is, I realize ridiculous, in that I have written neither.
The real problem began for me years ago when shopping for Father’s Day cards. All the standard cards spend a considerable portion of the message thanking the father in question for all sorts of activities that just didn’t apply in my situation. My father and I never, save two months after I was born, lived in the same house. He never helped me with my homework, taught me to ride a bicycle, gave me boyfriend advice or any of the other myriad of Ward-Cleaver-like behaviors that are acknowledged in the typical father’s day card. Which isn’t to say that he was a bad father, he did the best he could under the circumstances. Unfortunately for me Hallmark didn’t make a card to thank a well intended, absentee father. I spent most of my Father’s day cards shopping expeditions reading cards, getting to a certain point and shaking my head no and replacing them in the rack. Ultimately I would usually settle on a card that I could just as easily give a coworker, something from the “Simply Put” category.
Lately I have come across a new card-shopping obstacle: booze. Now I don’t begrudge the rest of the population a drink or three nor do I think that the universe should begin to celebrate exclusively with diet ginger ale just because I do, but the percentage of birthday cards for women that mention alcohol is kind of scary. I spent half an hour today looking for a birthday card. I had to bypass the one’s suggesting that my wishes for my friend’s birthday included her getting liquored-up which really limited my choices. Not that I have a problem with her getting liquored up for her birthday if that is what she wants to do, but my wishes for her are a little more big picture. There were cards that referenced wine drinking, others with illustrations of cosmos and even one that casually referenced a blackout. I was not indignant by any means, but I was a little frustrated.
I eventually found an appropriate if somewhat vanilla card. While it didn’t speak to all my hopes and dreams for my friend, it did ultimately meet my card requirements as it did not reference liquor and it did not rhyme. I thought I was out of the woods until when shopping for a gift, I found this picture frame: