End Greeting Card Tyranny Now!!!

Discussion in 'Odds & Ends' started by Cindysphinx, Feb 27, 2011.

  1. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    I'll come right out and say it: I don't like greeting cards.

    I don't appreciate receiving them. All it means is that the sender went to the drug store, looked around, spent $3.95, wrote their name at the bottom of some mass-produced canned message, and mailed it to me. Or maybe they bought the greeting cards in bulk and send the same card to everyone. It feels so commercial, so canned, so impersonal, so unnecessary. It is also environmentally unfriendly when you consider the manufacture of the card itself and the resources devoted to delivering it to me. A phone call, in comparison, is much more environmentally friendly.

    But what really gets me is that a lot of people like greeting cards. They expect them. If you don't send one, they take it badly, even if you called them on Their Special Day and talked with them for 30 minutes. So I wind up trudging to the drugstore and engaging in this pointless ritual. Couldn't I donate the $3.95 to charity and instead pick up the phone and have a nice conversation with the birthday girl instead?

    Worse is Greeting Card Creep. It is not enough on Mother's Day for me to send a card to my mother. No, now I have to send one to my mother-in-law and all female siblings and sisters-in-law. Same thing on Valentine's Day.

    Am I the only one who feels this way?

    Cindy -- who tosses Christmas cards directly into the trash after she opens them because she doesn't like the clutter
     
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  2. Steady Eddy

    Steady Eddy Hall of Fame

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    I feel like you. Fortunately, my wife feels the same way. We honor our own calender of days: the day we met, when adopted out dog, and so on. We don't honor days like Valentine's Day that only exist because of the greeting card industry.

    I'm not completely consistent with this, though. My father thinks Father's Day is dumb. He doesn't want cards on Father's Day. But I buy him one anyway because I'm afraid of offending him. :oops: Do you see how I feel?

    But I'm with you. I don't like how people pass out cards on birthdays and expect to be congratulated for their wit, just by buying someone else's. Almost anything is more personal than handing out a greeting card.
     
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  3. SuperFly

    SuperFly Semi-Pro

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    Greeting cards: helping people look like they give a rat's ass since the mid 1800's.
     
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  4. Sentinel

    Sentinel Bionic Poster

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    Why not hand-make some cards and send them to friends ?

    In India, we have cards made by CRY (child relief and you) so the money goes to charity. But i agree, better to donate that amount. My folks used to spend a lot of time keeping track of who sent cards last year, and who sent them this year, who only sends return cards etc etc....
     
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  5. GetBetterer

    GetBetterer Hall of Fame

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    I've had a few friends send me home-made greeting cards (which in my opinion was thoughtful) alongside some people who wrote their own little letter in store bought greeting cards which I thought was also nice.
     
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  6. r2473

    r2473 Legend

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    It's a chick thing.

    To say it makes no sense and is a waste of time and money would just be redundent (obviously).
     
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  7. jswinf

    jswinf Professional

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    I'm sort of shocked; I thought women were the bastions of the greeting-card industry. Don't you have any special ones tucked away, maybe with a pressed flower, or are you just a heartless jock like us guys?

    I do agree about the card "creep." Cards for everything now. And what I HATE are the semi-new noisy ones, that when you open them up they play music or yap at you? Always makes me jump.
     
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  8. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    I had a friend who was into art and had developed a line of whimsical cartoon characters. She was thinking of developing the characters into greeting cards.

    She had a consultant who used to work for Hallmark, and I was able to hear some of what the greeting card consultant had to say. The consultant got a bunch of this lady's friends together, and we were to be a sounding board/focus group for the concept.

    What blew me away was that the consultant said that most women spend a bunch of time (I can't remember how much -- 10 minutes?) selecting each greeting card they send.

    What the what? Ten minutes? I consider it a personal goal to spend less than ten seconds.

    SteadyEddy, I too prefer to celebrate dates/events that have personal meaning. Better still, I like to do nice things for people out of the clear blue. I read a book that a family member might enjoy and I just up and send them a copy. I see a shirt that would look great on my sister; I buy one for her. Why do we have to do these things on Madison Avenue's schedule?
     
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  9. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    I have saved exactly zero manufactured greeting cards.

    I have one plastic bin in the basement that holds special little treasures my kids have made over the years. There are probably some hand-made Mothers' Day Cards in there. And I have a lot of my kids' framed art work all over the house.

    On account of how it is free, and real art is very expensive. :)
     
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  10. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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  11. Steady Eddy

    Steady Eddy Hall of Fame

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    Good for you, but it takes me a long time to find a card. Here's why. I don't want to send someone a birthday card that makes fun of their age. I don't want a long poem. I also don't want one that's for a 5 year old. So I look for a long time, I think I'm not picky, but so many cards are totally inappropriate! Finally I find something, and I'm upset over all the time it took me just to pick out a card. In another week I'll have to pick out like 5 more cards. For what it's worth, it adds up a quite a drain on time and money. :mad:

    Greeting card people. Don't make so many birthday cards that try to be "ha ha" clever. Just "Happy Birthday" with a cute cartoon or photo is enough! That's all ya gotta do.
     
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  12. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    I walk up to the section that says, "Birthday -- Mother." I pick up the very first card that appears to have an envelope of the correct size behind it. I scan quickly for the word, "Mother." If these requirements are met, I buy it. I do not read it. Since I feel no attachment to the treacle written inside, this card will do nicely.

    I would look at the price and choose on that basis, but that would require me to pull my reading glasses out of my purse.

    I would also like to suggest we all do away with the oversized card that we require everyone the person knows to sign. Do we really have to track down every member of the tennis team and have her write something on the card, or can one person just scribble, "From your teammates" at the bottom.

    I never know what to write on the Oversize Group Card and have been known to steal the witty greetings of others who have signed before me. Hey, the recipient won't know who the original author of "Thanks for everything!" was, will she?

    Cindy -- who might send her mom a birthday card for a 5-year-old just to see if she says anything about it; maybe mom doesn't read them either
     
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  13. jswinf

    jswinf Professional

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    ^^^Be careful--like Eddy says, "modern" cards might say something on the inside like: "On your birthday, why not party all night with the Chippendale Dancers and guzzle tequila 'till your toes get numb. Just lay off the bean dip, you know how you get."
     
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  14. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    What's wrong with that? The recipient of the greeting card should be glad they are getting anything at all! :)
     
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  15. Polaris

    Polaris Hall of Fame

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    I'm guessing that you feel this way because you have seen too many canned run-of-the-mill cards. I couldn't disagree more. I like to spend time looking for cards in uncommon places - independent bookstores, national park visitor centers. I also like to put my own words in them (like they are small letters) and make my own cards. And fortunately, I have received cards that are genuinely beautiful and the cards themselves are so uncommon (sometimes personally prepared) that you know that the person spent a lot of time thinking about what words and pictures would say it just right.

    I'm with you on the stupid by-the-numbers cards. But, don't tarnish greeting cards as a whole. There are really good ones. You just might not have received any good ones in a while. Or, some of the ones you trashed without looking, might have been really good and heartfelt :-|.

    There are places where you can buy cards prepared by children who live in orphanages, or by people who work in some cottage industry. You pay more for the cards, so the money actually goes to charity. Yes, a phone call is environmentally friendly, but you burn a lot more of nature's resources by driving a car than by sending a greeting card.

    I agree with you there. It is childish to expect to receive a card, or any gift for that matter. Also, sending cards on holidays is a drag. Birthday's are fine, but in general, there ought not to be an explicit festive occasion in order to send a card. One sends a card to person X, because one happens to be thinking about person X at any given time. At least, that's how I think about it.

    Apparently not, from the looks of this thread. But yeah, I do think that you are a little too extreme about greeting cards. Sometimes, I receive a personally written card, or one with a picture or a quote that hints at some shared personal moment from the past. In today's world, these antiquated things are precious, worth treasuring and worth giving to others. It's like writing or receiving a letter. How many people receive handwritten letters nowadays? And how beautiful it would be to know that (a) someone cared enough to sit down and write one to you (b) you care enough to sit down and write one for somebody !

    If I feel that way about buying a card, then I don't buy it. I'm past keeping up appearances. Only a few people in our lives deserve personal, beautiful, uncommon cards. For the rest, a timely phone call or an email or a stupidly funny egreeting will do.
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2011
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  16. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Hmmm. Well . . . Yes, I sometimes receive cards that look very expensive or pretty. I'm afraid these get the very same treatment as the most generic drug store greeting card. A quick read if the card has a handwritten message in it, and then off to the recycle bin.

    There is a reason for this, and it is not dependent on the amount spent on the card or how pretty it is.

    I'm reading a non-fiction book right now called "Stuff." It is a book about hoarding. One of the interesting things I learned is that people who hoard save things for a variety of reasons, but the overriding theme seems to be that they attach a lot of emotion to things. They also use things to store their memories, in a way. We all do this to a certain extent, I suppose.

    On the continuum of hoarding behavior, I score pretty low. Few things carry intense emotional meaning for me. And of those things, greeting cards come in dead last or close to it.

    After all, the greeting card is almost never made by the person sending it. This sets it apart from things my kids made when they were little, for example. It is, no matter how beautiful or unique, something made by a stranger and purchased from a store for a price that is often indicated on the back. What matters is the sentiment, which could just as easily be expressed on a plain sheet of paper, and in a greeting card is also mass-produced.

    I think maybe the popularity of greeting cards is due to the way it makes people feel when they buy and send them. I guess this makes sense on some level -- if folks enjoy looking for the perfect greeting card, then that's what they enjoy. The senders of cards perhaps do not fully understand that the recipient may not feel similarly, but the recipients are much too polite to tell the senders this. And so the cycle continues.

    But consider it from my end. I go to the mailbox every day, and it is absolutely stuffed with bills and junk mail. I have to go through it daily and pull out the bills. And then there is a greeting card. I stand there over the recycle bin, read it and . . . . then what? Am I supposed to save it? For how long? Where? Into the bin it goes.

    I would rather have talked to the person, honestly.
     
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  17. tennytive

    tennytive Semi-Pro

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    As a photographer I made my own cards for years for all occasions. People looked forward to them. It was a lot of work, but I enjoyed it. Now I do so occasionally, but email it instead of printing it and sending it in an envelope. Postage figures in these days as another negative to sending cards.

    Lately I've been buying blank cards from Trader Joe's. Beautiful photographs, no sappy greetings, and 99 cents. Easy and more personal to write in whatever greeting suits the occasion. Almost all of my friends receive a call and usually an email instead of a card on their birthdays, but I still buy cards for the immediate family.

    As for you, I understand your position, and kudos for realizing that less is more. People save too much junk to the point of letting it take over their lives.
     
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  18. retlod

    retlod Professional

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    Sympathy cards for people who we don't know that well are a great use of paper. At a time when unobtrusive communication is probably welcome, I would imagine a little note to let you know that people are thinking of you would go a long way. My group will send a card when a child we have taken care of in the hospital before dies.
     
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  19. angharad

    angharad Semi-Pro

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    I don't mind a greeting card when it's obvious the person took some time with it - writing a longer letter-length note, making it themselves, etc. The people that mass-purchase cards and send them to everyone for every occasion drive me nuts, though.
     
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  20. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    When my dog died, my vet sent me a handwritten note. It was on a blank piece of paper, or maybe it was his office stationery. It said just a few words about the loss. I guess I was also a bit surprised and appreciative that he would write to his clients in this way. I was certainly left feeling like I would use his services again.

    So it's nice that you guys send something to the parents of a child who died.

    I, uh. . . I didn't save the vet's note though.

    Cindy -- who feels a little bit bad for slam dunking into the trash Christmas cards with a family photo on them, but really, how can she possibly start saving the family photos of other people's families?
     
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  21. boomer22

    boomer22 New User

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    My husband doesn't want me to toss the Christmas card photos we receive. What am I going to do with them??? Is it ok to toss them by March - lol???

    I don't celebrate Hallmark holidays. I think my husband really appreciates this!
     
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  22. Djokovicfan4life

    Djokovicfan4life Legend

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  23. Talker

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    I send cards to my mom on Xmas and easter and birthday.

    No one else gets one and no one else expects one.

    I only get one card on my birthday and xmas. 2 cards a year(from mom).

    My sister stopped sending me cards when she never got one in return, I told her were adults now and don't need such things.
     
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  24. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    These days you also got to be careful that it is not a "naughty" greeting card.
     
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  25. Dedans Penthouse

    Dedans Penthouse Hall of Fame

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    A hallmark medical case

    (for the record: nothing wrong with alternative lifestyles)

    Once upon a time, while walking down Park Avenue, a gay man noticed a distinguished, very handsome silver-haired gentleman walking just ahead of him--the gay observer was totally smitten on the spot: it was love at first sight.

    So he follows the handsome stranger down the crowded avenue and into a nearby office building. He gets onto the same crowded elevator and gets out on the same floor. He then see the handsome stranger head down the hall and into his office, the front door of which reads: Dr. Smith - Proctologist. The guy thinks to himself: "this is too good to be true!" at which point, he immediately cellphones the doctor's office and schedules an appointment for an examination.

    Day of the appointment: the prospective patient is shaking with excitement and anticipation as if he were headed to his first date. He arrives at the office and meets the doctor while swooning to himself: ("oh Gawd, he's even more handsome than I remember!"). The doctor tells him to "drop trow" and bend over the examining table at which point the gay 'patient' can hardly keep his excitement in check. The good doctor "lubes up" and proceeds to rectally examine the guy who is at this point on the brink of an orgasm. The doctor suddenly is struggling with something he's feeling during the exam....he struggles and struggles and finally, he pulls out of the man: a dozen long-stemmed roses!

    The doctor, totally flabbergasted exclaims: "Oh my God!!!!...in my 30 years of medicine, I've never come across anything like this!!!" whereupon the patient looks over his shoulder lovingly at the good doctor and excitedly squeals: "Read the card!!!....read the card!!!!"

    ;-)
     
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  26. Sentinel

    Sentinel Bionic Poster

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    ^^ Were the roses de-thorned ?
     
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  27. PimpMyGame

    PimpMyGame Hall of Fame

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    I too think cards are BS. My wife recently did an analysis of how much we spend on cards and gifts, the amount is ridiculous. If I'm not going to see them face to face, I would rather call someone and tell them happy birthday or text at least. I have never subscribed to separate cards for grandparents for birthday, Christmas, etc. They get one card from the family. And that's more out of not wanting to hurt their feelings than anything else.

    And to my dismay I see that there is now a Grandmother's Day, a Grandfather's Day, and you can even buy a "Bon Voyage" card when your friend goes on holiday. Incredible.
     
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  28. Dedans Penthouse

    Dedans Penthouse Hall of Fame

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    Is a gerbil de-clawed?

    ;-)
     
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  29. r2473

    r2473 Legend

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    What did it say on the card?

    Probably some crap he just pulled out of his ass.
     
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  30. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    LOL

    Will the card even be readable?
     
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  31. Sentinel

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    If it isn't you can try Norton Utilities to repair it.
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  32. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    And then it will seize control of his rear end and never quit.

    I use Trend Micro at home. Not intrusive at all.
     
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  33. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Fascinating how an old-fashioned, decent thread by Cindy has been turned into a naughty joke area.

    Is this what society has come to?
     
    #33
  34. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    Well, as usual it depends. Cindy is Cindy and just isn't into cards. OK. They are all going to be skimmed and tossed (whether you spent 5 seconds or went to 5 stores to find them). OK.

    But not everyone is Cindy. That's why the greeting card industry is likely doing just fine. They make more and more card types so they actually say in a highly polished way almost exactly what you are trying to say (assuming the recipient reads it).
     
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  35. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    ^Don't you see?

    Unless we join hands and rise up, the greeting card industry will destroy us all! We will soon be required to send "Congratulations on Not Needing an Epidural!!" cards. "Happy Second Trimester!" cards. And from mom, "Isn't it about time you two Got Jiggy With It and made me a grandchild!" cards.

    No. Enough is enough. Me, I'm taking the pledge:

    I am not buying another single card for 2011. Not Mother's Day, Father's Day, Fourth of July, Memorial Day, Labor Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Columbus Day or Christmas. If I need to convey condolences or suchlike, I will do it in my own words in a nice letter.

    Hallmark, we're *through,* and this time I mean it!!!
     
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  36. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    OK, it's a free country, but let me ask you a question: say your daughter is going off to college in another state. You are going to correspond with her during college. You could text her, you could send her an email, you could send her a card (and maybe add a few lines), you could handwrite a "letter" (BTW a "letter" is a piece of "stationary" that a person writes on with a "pen" to state information they want the recipient to receive).

    Which form of communication is she most likely to prefer? Which one is most likely to be in her possession in 20 years?
     
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  37. spaceman_spiff

    spaceman_spiff Hall of Fame

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    Ok, get this. In my department, every time there's a birthday, they pass around a standard issue birthday card that we are all expected to sign (I've got the boss's card on my desk right now). But, you can't just sign it; you have to write something meaningful.

    It's tough to think of something meaningful to write to people who sit right next to you 5 days a week. And I've got to do it 15 times a year without them thinking I'm just writing the same thing over and over.

    My colleagues are nice people and all, but they're not close friends that I hang out with after work. I know it sounds bad, but I don't really care about their birthdays. And, I don't expect them to care about my birthday either.

    I'm not sure why we're forced into this ritual that isn't really all that sincere.
     
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  38. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    The electronic forms other than email which will be deleted. If it is sent thru a social site like FB, it will be on their servers for ever.
     
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  39. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Why do you assume the value of a piece of communication is based on how long it is kept in a drawer? Anyway, of the choices you provide, I would write her a letter (although I would likely write it on a piece of notebook paper).

    Anyway, my daughter is in college and I have not once sent her a greeting card. I call her.

    When I am dead and gone, she will have videos and photos of our time together.

    We do not need Hallmark's help, thanks.
     
    #39
  40. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Ya, we need to do away with all of the birthday crap, too.

    It's weird. Someone gets diagnosed with cancer, and all of their friends suddenly disappear and can't bear to drop by and say hello.

    Yet we engage in these rituals around birthdays, at a time when folks are not starved for the love and support of their friends.

    Spaceman, just go ahead and write the exact same phrase for every birthday card. Consider it a form of silent protest. I suggest, "Wow! It's your birthday? You look *great!*"
     
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  41. spaceman_spiff

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    Yeah, birthdays, christmas (including a few individuals who bring in their own cards for everyone), and others.

    If it wasn't for the potential backlash, I'd throw away all the Christmas cards as soon as they showed up on my desk.

    As for the birthday cards, if I'm one of the last ones in line to sign, I let them sit on my desk for an hour or so and then just pass them on to the next person. With all the signatures already there, they can't tell I haven't signed them.
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2011
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  42. jswinf

    jswinf Professional

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    This must be the rule for female employees, they couldn't possibly expect this of men.
     
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  43. r2473

    r2473 Legend

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    Absent insincere rituals, there really isn't much left to life, when you think about it.
     
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  44. spaceman_spiff

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    Some foolish people are unaware of the ways of the world. But, now that we've been doing this for about 4 or 5 years, even they have lost the will to write anything meaningful.

    Like I said, I don't write anything at all anymore if I can help it.
     
    #44
  45. spaceman_spiff

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    The sad thing is, I get the feeling life really is like that for many people. They're probably the ones who buy the most greeting cards.
     
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  46. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    Believe it or not, I am not the local rep for Hallmark Corp.

    Firstly, I don't believe nor stated that, length of drawer-time is the definition of value.

    I too have already made up my mind that I am going to write letters (not cards) personally. BTW I am a fountain pen geek, so I have a few years to work on my handwriting.

    Calls are great, I use telephones on occasion myself. The value of the instantaneous feedback etc is invaluable. They are a bit weak, though, in the memory area, hence correspondence.

    Your (my) daughter's opinion on the relative value of videos and photos vs letters and other written correspondence is more germane than your (my) own.
     
    #46
  47. Polaris

    Polaris Hall of Fame

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    2 thumbs up!
    Me too.
     
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  48. LuckyR

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    This is in my breast pocket right now:

    [​IMG]
     
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  49. Polaris

    Polaris Hall of Fame

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    Mar 28, 2005
    Messages:
    2,314
    Nice. Is that a Waterman? A Phileas?

    Here's what I have for daily use: Parker Vector. Writes very smoothly. It's developed a small crack on the housing, and I am going to keep on using it until it breaks on me, and then get a nicer one (Like Lamy or Waterman).

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    #49
  50. El Diablo

    El Diablo Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2004
    Messages:
    3,590
    Wow!! The same cindysphinx who once wrote that she was done with a pediatrician because the guy yawned when he saw her kid in the office now finds that someone going to the drug store to get her a card to express a warm sentiment is a meaningless gesture! You may be the most impossible-to-please person I've never met!! How about accepting a nice gesture at face value and getting off your soapbox already!!!!!
     
    #50

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