Card stores

For the first time in a very long time, I found myself today in a mall
greeting-card store (two, really — Carlton Cards and Hallmark).
Usually Candice and I go to Paper-Papier, a paper store in the
Byward Market, which has all sorts of interesting plain and craft-type
greeting cards, most blank inside.


I quickly remembered why I go to Paper-Papier and not Hallmark. Let
me list the terrors:

  • The staff accosted me in both stores. Back when I shopped in mall
    card stores regularly, this never happened, but apparently it is now
    normal for card store staff to come over and ask if there’s anything
    you’re looking for. Yes, I’m looking for a CARD.

  • I didn’t notice what section they were in, but there were not only
    cards of some sort for Mom and Dad, but also for Mom and “Dad”, and
    for Dad and “Mom”. I’ve had a few step-parents along the way, and
    while sometimes they were in a parental role, I don’t think I could
    picture myself sending parent and step-parent a card with finger
    quotes on the front.

  • They’re trying really hard to pretend to acknowledge the paper
    stores’ kind of cards, but it’s backfiring. It used to be that 2/3 of
    the store was plain old cards (“Dearest Father”, with fishing lures),
    and 1/3 was “funny” cards, but now that they’ve got two dozen different
    series, each one only gets 1-2 banks worth of cards — and since
    you don’t want 80% of the series, you’re left with 3-4 banks to choose
    from, total.

  • One card store had a big $1 (Canadian!) rack, for those times when
    you can’t get to a drugstore but really want to send
    a drugstore card.

  • The cards suck. I swear, there hasn’t been a new card written in
    the last ten years, and from the “funny” section they’ve taken out
    of circulation all of the jokes that weren’t offensive to the person
    to whom you’re giving the card.

On the other hand, from Paper-Papier last weekend I got my stepmother a
nice little 4″ square card with a 1″ square of embroidered daisies on
the front and a small “Happy Birthday” and lots of room to write inside.
There’s something about cards with little crafts on the front
— embroidery, dried flowers, and so on — that makes them
seem so much less disposable.

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