Observations on life

Sorry Hallmark, no deal

I previously wrote about sixteen ways people waste money, often at the expense of retirement or emergency fund savings.

It turned about to be quite popular on HumbleDollar.com and MarketWatch.

But today spending $42.00 I learned I should have listed seventeen ways to waste money.

What did I miss? Greeting cards!

$3.00, $4.00, $5.00-$6.00 or more! Are you kidding me? The tradition of sending cards is expensive and if you measure it by the time of the impact made, its national debt level expensive.

Did you ever watch a child open a card?

It takes about three seconds, another two seconds to see if there is any money inside and the card is thrown by the wayside. Adults are not much better. They make the pretense of actually reading the card, utter a “that’s sweet,” “ah, how nice,” or simply “thank you.”

Tomorrow the card is in recycling or if really sentimental it sits on a table for a few days and then to recycling.

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10 replies »

  1. I refuse to spend $5 – $7 on a Hallmark card. I found a little store where I can buy a beautiful card for $4 or less, so if the occasion warrants one, I’ll go there. My husband and I have exchanged so many nice cards over the years (we kept them all) that we decided we don’t need to keep doing it and have eliminated that expense. I think he knows how I feel by now. We also don’t buy each other extravagant gifts. But I agree that sometimes a card is more meaningful than a text or an email.

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  2. Well I kind of agree with you on this one, but… I had an excellent Valentine’s Day card that I gave my wife. It was so good that I saved it and used it year after year. Saved money. Unfortunately, she found it one day in my stash and through it away. I didn’t get a chance to retrieve it until some coffee grounds spilled on it… but it was still a very nice card.

    Honesty compels me to admit that I would always get her a new one as well…

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  3. Dollar stores sell nice greeting cards for a dollar or less [often two for a dollar]. Boxed Christmas cards are cheap if you buy them right after Christmas. I mainly use the cards to send money for birthdays and Christmas to long distance nieces and nephews, etc… [My only child died young.] My pet peeve is not getting any response from them in return – not even an email – to acknowledge the gifts. Apparently, many of the younger generation have not been taught the proper social graces. Not only does that make me reconsider spending time and money sending cards/money/gifts… it makes me rethink my will.

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  4. Quick follow-up ….

    I AM going to spring for a nice “Thank You” card for my TD Ameritrade stock broker today though.
    Just got word this morning they’re going to $0 commissions! (So I can now afford one more card)

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  5. Yes, always be aware of exceptions to your general — not uniform — rule re cards. For example, my 95-year old mother absolutely loves to receive birthday and Christmas cards, particularly from family and old friends she doesn’t see in person due to distance.

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  6. I guess you could say much of the same about a great many things because the marketing genius of Madison Avenue has appealed to our emotional rather than rational side in order to separate us from our money.

    Hallmark cards “ When you care enough”

    FTD florist “ Say it with flowers”

    And the granddaddy of them all, De Beers “diamonds are forever”

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  7. I totally agree with you. My wife will spend big money on Hallmark cards for her family and very close friends. I am a big fan of the $0.99 Shoebox cards by Hallmark, if I must get a card. It is true that times have changed.

    But a historical perspective is probably needed here. Sending a card was probably the only way to keep in touch a 100 years ago. Long distance phone calls were out of the question 50 years ago due to cost for most people. Today, I can video chat with my son stationed in the Middle East any given day that he is on base near wifi. I get text messages and email daily, and phone calls if we are both awake.

    Sending cards is no longer cost effective and does not have that personal touch as does actually talking to someone. Probably why the stores are reducing the card selections today and card costs are rising.

    But how long do I have to hold onto a card before I throw it out? Can I toss it with with the envelope? Or is there a 30 day waiting period?

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  8. Heh, heh, heh – too funny!

    Mr. Quinn, I believe with this post alone you have elevated yourself far beyond any “old fashioned” or “old fuddy-duddy” status and/or moniker you may have had – and become a true child of the 21st Century!

    (If only I could bring myself to do that. Alas, I still find greeting cards somewhat useful and amusing.)

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  9. I totally agree, Mr. Quinn – a huge waste of money – and most cards cost more than your $5-6 top range – I think the custom is slowly changing with the times, but Jeez, do you really want to be the only kid who didn’t send Mom a card on Mother’s Day? – my own dear mother who left this world at age 101 treasured every card she received – she read and re-read all the verses inside and sometimes teared up – she lived in the same condo for the last 34 years of her long life and saved every card she ever received – I know because I had to fill the recycle carts with them as part of preparing the condo for sale – my local Wal-Mart is cutting back their stock of cards – the coming generations will send texts, selfies and facebook postings rather than paper cards and I hope they also stop the sale of AR15 rifles to the public and greatly increase efforts to save the only planet that we have

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