My dad’s birthday was last week, and among the rushing around, coming up with a present, getting wrapping paper and ingredients for fairy cakes for him, I had to buy him a birthday card, and was once again forced into the ordeal of picking out and spending money on a card. Now, I am not scabby, I’m broke, there’s a difference. But, while I’m not going to tell you how much I spent, I will say the wrapping and the card together nearly cost half the gift. That is crazy. It’s a glorified piece of card. In fact, it is a piece of card. I am not ashamed to say that I have picked up cards that I really wanted to get someone and had to put them down because they cost about €7. Am I crazy, or is that mad expensive for a piece of card, no matter how nice?
The second thing I observed about cards on this particular day, is the ‘new age’ cards, for everyone. I mean everyone. Before you accuse me of excluding people, I have no issue with cards for the step-grandfather’s partner’s birthday, or the people who buy them. What I do have an issue with is these cards replacing standard cards. In the search for a birthday card for my dad, there wasn’t very much choice. However, there was plenty for brother-in-law, godson, sister’s boyfriend, great-grandfather. Like I said, obviously these people exist, have birthdays and need cards too, but there should be a bit of proportional representation here, especially when, while there is usually only one godson for two godparents, there can be multiple children, who are likely to be shopping together. This bothers me, particularly because when buying a Valentine’s Day card for my boyfriend, the balance of cards for girlfriends vs boyfriends was hugely uneven. I struggled to find any in the sea of “To my girlfriend” cards. That is definitely a proportion issue. Surely that one at least should be even, and if it must be uneven there should be more cards for boyfriends, since girls are better at buying cards, even if they are the ones who should receive them more.
The third thing I noticed might be specific to my shop, but anyway. There’s roughly three stands with cards on them; pretty long ones, lots of cards on each, front and back. While two have the standard, all year round cards, birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, sorrys, get well soons, good lucks, well dones and thank yous, there is one entire stand dedicated to seasonal cards. It is currently stocked with Mother’s Day cards, which is fair enough but more to the point: that stand is never empty, nor does it ever have standard cards on it. My conclusion: There is no time in the year that is too far away from a holiday that means that stand cannot be stocked. There are New Year’s cards, then Valentine’s cards, then Mother’s Day, Paddy’s Day, then Easter, then it slips into a mixed bag of Communion/Confirmation/Exam time cards. After that, it’s Father’s Day and exam cards continue throughout the month of June. The results cards come into play around August. There are some Halloween cards but the Christmas cards come into play around the end of September anyway and bring it up to January when it starts again. Now, I cannot think of a single card-worthy holiday that falls between June and August for results. I am dying to go back in July to find out what they do on that stand in July. If your card shop does the same, let me know. Also please let me know if there are seasonal/holiday cards in July and what are they for?