So you didn’t buy a card for Mom for Mother’s Day. GOOD. It’s about time you showed her what a smart kid she raised and never buy her a greeting card ever again.
Card companies make a killing (and not just when someone dies), with a card for every occasion at three to six bucks a pop. Birthdays. Valentine’s Day. Mother’s Day. Father’s Day. Graduation Day. Garbage Day. Doris Day. Brother got a vasectomy? There’s a card for that. It reads “Snip Snip Hooray!” Friend got her period? There’s a card for that too: “Yay, you’re not pregnant.”
In 2013, Hallmark made $3.9 billion, a good portion from cards. But…IT’S PAPER, MAN. Mass-produced, folded paper with at least a 300% mark-up. That’s a rip-off right up there with movie theatre popcorn. And in 48 hours, the card is facedown with the eggshells and orange peels.
It’s a complete waste of money but a custom we never question. A gift with no card? How uncivilized! Maybe a couple occasions warrant a store-bought card, and I ain’t knockin’ those local handmade beauties (e.g. NortonsCoveStudio.com) that you just gotsta frame. But, Easter cards? Seriously? If I ever buy an Easter card, I’m sending it straight to Jesus.
Why not make a card for Mom on Mother’s Day, or for every occasion really? You know, a one-of-a-kind card she might actually keep. Ain’t nobody got no time for that, right? You’ve barely got time to lick the envelope. But look, all you need is five minutes. My husband once made me a Valentine’s Day card on a Kleenex. It said: “I want to tissue you all over.” It’s easier than you think. Mom got a sense of humour? Deadly gear. Take a sheet of paper, fold it in half, write “Thank You” on the front, and on the inside write “for shooting my big fat head out of your baby cannon.” Too far? Fine, write your own. All you need is one sweet or funny line. (Ask Google for help.) If Mom expected more from you, she’d have left you on a church step long ago. And guys – if your kids are little, don’t buy a card for Baby Mama at the store, you idiot. Give them a piece of paper and a freakin’ crayon. Help them trace around their tiny hands, and she’s putty in yours. Then take the five bucks you saved on the card and invest it in a less shitty gift.
Hallmark’s not all bad. They make nice ads. They employ 11,000 people. They make same-sex marriage cards. They make cards that record personal greetings so people can be haunted by your voice when you’re dead.
But they won’t be getting my money much. Unless the card plays “Funky Cold Medina”, or has cheese in it, or is a portal to Benedict Cumberbatch’s bedroom, nuh-uh.
Hey Mom, remember that macaroni card I made you when I was a kid? I’m much more sophisticated now. One word: penne.
A version of this article previously appeared in The Overcast: Newfoundland’s Arts and Culture Newspaper. http://www.TheOvercast.ca