What is up with Hallmark?

I've never been a huge fan of the whole 'card' thing. I mean, I see the point in the occasional purpose driven card (i.e. 'I'm sorry' or 'get well soon' cards), but your classic 'today is a capitalist gift giving holiday so here is a card to accompany your gift' cards just seems pointless to me. The only thing I like less than giving cards, is having to pick them out. That's not to say that I'm simply unwilling to spend the time to find a good one, because that's not it at all. I just find it nearly impossible to find a card that can just say 'happy [insert holiday or occasion here]' without making it out to be the sappiest, most significant event in your entire life. I don't know if you've ever been to a Hallmark Store before, but it's absolutely ridiculous.

Now I'm a pretty straight forward guy. When I want food, I shop at a grocery store. When I want electronics, I shop at Fry's. When I want cheap furniture that breaks after two weeks, I shop at Ikea. When I want to hate life and rip all my hair out, I shop at Walmart. And when I want cards, I shop at Hallmark. Makes sense right? A store that sells nothing but cards should have enough of a selection that I could find a decent one, or so I thought.

What is up with Hallmark? Why does every single card sound like it was written between Romeo and his beloved Juliet? Are people really buying these things? Ok, it would be one thing if you were using the card to confess your undying love to the woman of your dreams or somethinglike that, but when it's just someone's birthday you don't need some elaborate statement about how your life is only worth living because you know the person. Birthday's happen every year. Log into Facebook or Myspace. They're happening every day. They're not really that important. I don't even like celebrating mine.

It usually takes me thirty minutes or more to pick out a card when I walk into a Hallmark and the problem isn't that it takes that long to find a card that says enough. It's almost always because I can't find a card that doesn't say too much. Is it really too much to ask for to get a little section of cards that just say 'hey buddy, just wanted to wish you a happy birthday' or maybe a stupid little joke? Why turn everything into an extravaganza?

posted by Christopher Schnese