you kidding me?
anyone else noticed the price of greeting cards lately? I mean,
really? It feels like I could buy a meal for a family of six for
the price of a single birthday card. (Thatís before I have to
figure out the postage it needs, and if Iím sending a large card
internationally we could all super-size our meals, andÖ andÖ ok,
fineÖ a slight exaggeration.)
in the car to head out on some errands. One of the stops was set
for picking out three birthday cards for family members. I donít
know how you approach your card needs, but I take a lot of it
seriously. I wish I could be better at it, but the main point
is I try very hard not to send any-old-card. I invest a bit of
time, read over more than a few, and truly make an attempt at
finding something that connects. Something with meaning. Something
that will generate a bit of emotion or a memory. I want you to
smile because itís funny, or feel the intended hug. I want you
to know I care.
to be you could care for a couple of dollars, and that included
the stamp. Not so any moreÖ
cards these days seem to hover in the range of $4 by scanning-the-full-display
average. And, what used to be an envelope with a warning if additional
postage might be necessary has become a guessing game. Some cards
come with puffy, bulky decorations that make them a bit thicker
(and in some cases potentially fragile). Many come with contraptions
that play music when the card is opened. A good number of them
donít fall into what we might consider routine-size ranges. Any
and all of these ideas can create a need for a second stamp, so
to speak. (But I donít see many envelopes with a warning printed
where the stamp would go. Seems like now you get to figure it
out on your own.)
not complaining about the cards or their cost, if Iím being honest.
Iím trying to use it as a simple example. Why? WellÖ consider
this for one segue of thoughtÖ
say you know your mother or sister or friend likes a certain restaurant
chain. And regardless of where they are located in relation to
you, there is a place near you where you could get a gift card
and a place near them where they could redeem it. For $10.50 plus
an envelope and sheet of paper, you could go out and buy a $10
gift card, write them a note saying you wish you could be there
with them to celebrate over an appetizer, and pop all of it into
the mail as a happy birthday wish.
while an appetizer might not seem like the perfect birthday gift,
I think thatís a pretty nice touch compared to sending just a
card. Right? End result for this is that when a card that plays
a song will run you over $6 to buy and extra stamps to send, weíre
not that far apart in cost. (And they get potato skins, egg rolls
or mozzarella sticks.)
to the point, I donít know when the transition occurred and I
became a cranky old man. But the reality is simple, there are
many things where I have no clue at all how the prices are being
determined, but I sure feel like my wallet is being attacked to
make up for a shifting marketplace or lacking alternatives.
increases in prices for greeting cards seems to have taken place
right around the times when: (1) Electronic options became available.
Ideas for this would include saying happy birthday via Facebook,
an e-mail, or even sending a link to an online card. (2) I started
to notice less cards arriving at my birthday, which is a simple
way of saying that I donít think people send as many cards these
days as they used to.
thing for me to include here, I love cards. I love receiving them.
I love sending them. I smile for hours when something arrives,
especially unexpectedly, to say someone is thinking about me.
I like thinking that perhaps recipients of my wishes feel the
same. Cards can be awesome. Huge fan of the industry.
Iím not a fan of is how they donít seem quite as smart or creative
you know if you removed the cards that show or reference monkey
butts, plumber butts, cat butts, or jokes about the moon (insert
butt-related punchline here), you would end up taking more than
a third of all greeting cards off of the display racks? (Actually,
I donít know if this is true. It may not be a third. But, if youíve
read this and need a card in the next few days, I can guarantee
you a few moments where youíll be standing in an aisle saying
something close to this: ďAnother one with monkey butts! Damn,
I will say Iím sorry for this should your situation be different,
not that many of my needs fall into monkey-butt-appropriate moments.
Yes, I can agree a monkey butt might be funny and has a place.
Iím just saying I simply donít have a significant portion of greeting
card needs that call for a monkey butt card.
though, when it comes to shopping of any type, Iím in the store
and expected to pay multiple dollars for items such as a pack
of gum or a roll of mints. I need a credit card for a small bear
container of honey. And, itís darn near impossible to find a card
that says what Iíd like it to say, never mind the idea that I
might need to take out a loan to mail a message thatís close but
not quite right.
enough, I have found a solution. The post office sells cards now,
and for some amazing reason Iíve noticed that they generally they
have a nice assortment. Price isnít bad. As long as I bring the
address with me, you canít beat the convenience of purchase than
send at the same counter.
if youíll excuse me, I need to go chase some kids off my lawn.
(And, quite likely, prepare for the arrival of monkey butt cards
from friends that think they have a sense of humor.)