Rob Taylor " A real man’s guide: How to buy a greeting card
March 3, 2008
Recent survey results (five women, five men): It takes the average Grand County woman 15 minutes to select a greeting card. Average Grand County man: Three minutes. Some might point fingers at the guys, accusing them of being insensitive. I would not.
I loathe the Hallmark isle in the grocery store – a torture chamber of unending poems, Utopian worlds and the world’s most expensive one-liners. Some cards are six bucks a pop now, unless you’re careful.
Worst part: Someone is probably buying me one right now or thinking about it. St. Patrick’s Day, birthday, the Spring Solstice ” it’s always something.
What’s wrong with these people? They can’t find anything funny and they pass right by the greeting cards with money slots. Hello? Instead, they make a B-line for the 12-stanza poems.
“It’s perfect,” I will say when I pretend to read the dissertation, savoring each word.
“It’s nauseating” would be more honest. But I find myself responding with unnatural words like “touching” instead. The lying isn’t good for my soul.
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I smile, make a fuss and ignore the over-the-top claims that I have reached perfection as a husband, friend or in-law. It’s all about the performance, and the card-giver must be appeased. I will breathe in the words and play along, digging deep to find the right words to express my gratitude.
I should have won several Oscars by now.
I like my friends. I love my family. I even enjoy most people I work with. It’s not them; it’s the greeting card industry that incites me.
Why? Greeting card poems fly in the face of the diet of self-deprecating remarks – from high school, athletic coaches and college English professors – that have shaped my self-image into the Rock of Gibraltar that it is today.
Isn’t it about time for an honest greeting card (an oxymoron of a term if I ever saw one)? No fluff. No poem. Maybe even something with teeth, with words like: “You’re a pretty good guy, but you should work on: (insert laundry list of character flaws). But keep you chin up, bud. We haven’t given up on you yet. Happy Birthday, nonetheless.”
I could handle that.
I would also be in favor of consumer greeting card time limits. Does it really take an hour to pick out one of those hideous poems? If so, please don’t tell the rest of us. The admission compromises the quality of our performances about how – in the Hallmark jungle of pap, somehow – you found the perfect words for only $5.99.
Stop the madness. With apologies to Martha Stewart and everything that is good in this world, if you must buy a greeting card, this is how it should be done:
Do you really need to buy one? Be sure. Just say ‘I love you’ aloud when you give a gift. After all, the present is the main event. Just watch children; they all look confused – for good reason – when parents force them to read greeting cards before opening gifts. It ain’t natural. If you don’t buy a greeting card, then the recipient doesn’t have the additional problem of how long to keep it before throwing it away.
2. If you buy a greeting card, check out the price first
Why buy a $6 greeting card when you can get one for 99 cents? Duh. Sure, it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles, but just because it’s cheap doesn’t mean it won’t say something nice. Ninety-nine centers aren’t brutally honest, saying something like, ‘Happy birthday, but you should really bathe more.’
3. Don’t buy a card with a money slot
It’s great to receive them, but it’s a bigger commitment to give them. Only do this when backed into a corner. How can you truly enjoy birthdays and holidays when constantly thinning out your wallet?
4. If you buy an expensive greeting card, get a funny one
If you’ve decided to go “all in,” at least get something that will generate a few laughs. Humor is more palatable than knowing that someone wasted time and money on a card that reeks of adjectives.
” Join the army of “If Guys Could Talk” informants. E-mail the good dirt to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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