YspeopleExplore tab

Greeting cards a lesson in mantelpiece mediocrity

About Michael

English born blogger who can never have enough strong flat whites.  Writes rambly opinion pieces, coupled with whimsy 'no-opinion' pieces, laced with the odd scribe on the rich and fascinating well of human behaviour. Has never fallen asleep on a couch.

I find it astonishing that people buy cards with written messages in them. Are human beings really generic?

I think 98.7% of greeting cards are absolutely terrible. No, that is not a verifiable statistic, just my own personal estimate, as well as the opening gambit to this rant. 

hotelnepal - image
If you go into a newsagent for a card, you can’t fail to notice that they are all appalling. I don’t think there is any other product where we would accept a situation where 98.7% of the range was entirely useless, or to put it more aptly, discardable. If that ratio existed with any other item, from cars to carpet slippers, the product would simply be removed from the market. But with cards, it doesn’t appear to matter that quality is as rare as a good show on Channel 7. Year on year, the racks are filled with new versions of the same absolute swill.

From my observation, the sad offerings have a few genres. Firstly, there is the overly sentimental, nay cloying ones, that over-do the message and present everything in fonts more at home on tasteless gravestones. Completely indulgent, lavish letter swirls are de rigueur here, as is the OTT description of the personal qualities of the recipient. Beautiful daughters, heavenly fathers and best mums in the galaxy are the go, and that’s the subtle ones. The combined effect is unsightly, dated and feels like chocolate on honeycomb, laced with syrup. I simply cannot believe they sell.

hotelnepal - image
The next genre is, of course, the completely unfunny comedy cards. These roll out a sea of the same old tired quips about advancing years and the creeping patheticness of middle age. Many will be lamely sexual and attempt to encourage opening through gaudy semi-nudity. An obvious punny question may be on the front, with an answer inside that’s even lamer than the one you were dreading. Mind-numbingly awful across the board.

hotelnepal - image
Then there are the ones that use mismatched and badly photoshopped images, with everything in an upsetting scale (see chimpanzee effort below). When you read the set up question, in a nauseating font that pops out from a frightful, colour-saturated background, you realise you don’t even care what the answer is and put it back without opening. These cards can’t even be bothered to stay in either upper or lower case, resulting in a look that shouts: “We don’t know what we are doing, but if you buy this, you know even less.”

hotelnepal - image
There are ones that just throw glitter around, ones that have nothing of note aside from being oversized and the ones that opt for a pointless 3D frontage, such as a raised present. Not forgetting, of course, the ones from the below genre, which are evidently aiming for a new high in averageness.

hotelnepal - image
Most astonishing of all is the fact that people buy cards with written messages in them. Are human beings really generic?  “I know it’s your wife's birthday and there is nobody among 7.5 billion people like her, but just use this four-line stanza that our spotty copywriter knocked up last Tuesday.” If special messages to loved ones are autofill, then should the card even be sent? There’s a card rule that rings true: “If it’s not blank, it’s a load of wank.”

No doubt cards are a dying medium and people under 40 buy them as much as people over 40 buy muscle-bulking powders, but there are people like me who will use them to the end and we should demand better (however one does that). That said, fortunately you can still find quality. With persistence, the 1.3% of merit can be tracked down. If you like comedy, the ‘Fred’ series by Rupert Fawcett is good and Gary Larson’s work remains timeless.

hotelnepal - image
So if you still do cards and have to get one soon, just bypass the newsagent and run as fast as you can past the card shop. The good ones are lurking in the independent bookstores. Look… there… on that stand next to the books on social media. Yeah, I know, it’s 7 bucks, but it’s beautiful. Get it. Take some time to write in it. The hand fan sift at their mailbox will see it rise up between an electricity bill and a flyer for a grinning real estate agent. They’ll love it.

Banner 1
| Your rating
1 members rated this article

Related stories

Women cheat on men who don't do house chores: study

Women are more likely to cheat on men who fail to pull their weight when it comes to household chores, according to a major...

Work Relationships
Originally from telegraph.co.uk
About 1 month ago
(Love & Relationships)
Marriage is a con, serving no purpose at all.

Marriage is a symptom of ugliness

Relationships and love have astonishing value. But marriage? Pffffft, what a con!

Social Issues Community Relationships
5 months ago
(Love & Relationships)
By following a few commonsense rules, online dating isn't so scary after all.

How to stay safe while dating online


Have you found yourself single again in midlife? Thinking about online dating? Read this first.

Health Relationships Technology
5 months ago
(Love & Relationships)
Saying thankyou will brighten two people's day.

The power of saying thankyou

There is incredible power in saying thankyou and expecting nothing in return.

Community Health Relationships
5 months ago
(Love & Relationships)
Grandkids say the funniest things.

The things your grandchildren say

Children say the darndest things, don't they? Share your funny anecdotes.

Community Humour Relationships
5 months ago
(Love & Relationships)
Children need to know it's OK to bite, kick and scream if grabbed by a stranger.

Nine life-saving lessons to teach your grandkids

Here's how to equip your grandchildren with the tools to keep them safe from predators.

Community Social Issues Relationships Family
6 months ago
(Love & Relationships)
We were like chalk and cheese.

An overdue apology to my long-dead brother

The pain following your death on that remote country road runs deep. Here's why I want to sorry.

Relationships Loss Family
6 months ago
(Love & Relationships)
A class divided passport of the 80s.

My passport is a snapshot of an uglier time


You only have to look at my passport from the 1980s -- which lists me as black and bans me from travelling to South Africa --...

India Australia Politics Social Issues
6 months ago
(Love & Relationships)
Empty nesters, how did you celebrate winning your freedom back? Picture: Shutterstock.

Empty nesters, let's hear your stories

Alright all of you empty nesters, how did you celebrate your new-found freedom? Let's get a conversation started.

Community Property Relationships
6 months ago
(Love & Relationships)
Baby Joyce.

Marriage meltdown not Barnaby’s only failure

Our Deputy PM's moral protestations about our interest in his love life go directly to the character of the man.

Social Issues Relationships Australia Politics
6 months ago
(Love & Relationships)

Message board

Derek, about 1 month ago:
I am great
George, about 1 month ago:
What's up Thomas?
George, about 1 month ago:
Messages are now updated in real time on other browsers.
Thomas, about 1 month ago:
Thomas, 2 months ago:
DJC, 2 months ago:
George, 2 months ago:
Message board active from June 2018

Have your say!

Your Great Australians

Trending stories
When it comes to great bloggers you can connect with, this list has you covered.

20 mature bloggers worth following

Looking for Australian...

(Entertainment & Culture) Over 1 year ago
Suzuki's cute little Ignis SUV has a lot going for it.

Review: 2017 Suzuki Ignis GL and GLX

Japanese car maker Suzuki,...

(Pastimes) About 1 year ago
JB Hi-Fi is on the money when it comes to customer service.

JB Hi-Fi Vs Harvey Norman

When it comes to comparing...

(Money & Business) Over 1 year ago
Who here would love a warm Cacao Latte? Picture: Supplied.

Hot cacao latte with salted caramel sauce

Nothing sounds better on a...

(Epicure) 12 months ago
Child-sex abuse advocate Anthony Foster will be buried in a state funeral.

Vale Anthony Foster

Child-sex abuse victim...

(Headlines) About 1 year ago
Weekly Poll
Photographic memories
It's 35 years since the Ash Wednesday bushfires in South Australia and Victoria claimed 75 lives and more than 2500 buildings.