Of all the money I’ve spent so far this holiday season, the only purchase that actually sticks in my head is one I didn’t make.
Nothing against the holiday greeting card industry, but generally speaking, I’m just not a big card giver. I figure if anyone in my life is really desperate for bad puns and overly flowery prose I can just make ‘em up myself.
But my parents are BIG into cards, so while I was running around this week I thought, “Oh, what the hey. I’ll just stop into this book store and card for Ma and Pa. Maybe they’ll keep me in mind next time they revise their will or something.”
So after 3 minutes of browsing, I grab a card with some flowers on the front and take it to the register where the cherubic lady cashier rings it up and says “7 dollars and 45 cents, please.”
Figuring there HAD to be some kind of mistake in bar-code land, I said, ”Uh, excuse me? Are you sure that’s right? It’s just the card.”
The cashier looked at the card and said, “No, that’s right. That’s how much cards go for these days.”
For a split second I wondered if maybe the last time I bought a greeting card was when Nixon was in office. Could it be that over the last 30 or so years I’d inexplicably missed scads of news stories about double digit inflation in the card industry?
And so, I pressed onward. Much like a character in a forgotten Monty Python sketch.
I said to the cashier, “I don’t want to seem like a jerk here, but are you SURE it’s almost 8 bucks for that card? It doesn’t smell like chestnuts roasting on an open fire, it doesn’t sing jingle bells, and it doesn’t dance the Macarena. It doesn’t come with a Jennifer Aniston centerfold, an invitation to golf with Tiger Woods, or dinner reservations with Penelope Cruz. And unless I missed something in the fine print, there isn’t a free car wash, a new pork pie hat, a buy one get one free thigh-master offer, a coupon for 20% off arthroscopic surgery, a lifetime supply of chiclets, or a 2011 Cadillac Escalade included with purchase of card, is there? In fact, there aren’t even any WORDS inside the card. It’s just two pieces of paper glued together with some damn water color poinsettias on the front!!!!
How could that possibly be going for 8 bucks these days???”
And in the most politely mocking fashion imaginable, the friendly cashier turned the card over and pointed to these words:
Hand painted with love by Jeannie C. Carlson and printed on 100% recycled paper.
Having been once again out-dueled by the counter-help, I said, “Well, I’m sure Mrs. Carlson is a bang –p painter, I’m a big fan of the environment, and I really love my parents a lot but Bing Crosby will doing tequila shots with Jimi Hendrix in the great beyond before I pay 8 bucks for a card. But Merry Christmas anyway.”
And then I walked out.
Sensing a market opportunity here, I’m now starting my own line of very very cheap greeting cards.
Top price will be 99cents.
The marketing tag line is:
Mike Casey Greeting Cards– When You Just Don’t Care Enough to Send the Very Best
Look for them in a card store near you.