Dragon’s Den Idea

I was shopping for greeting cards this week and every time I do, I am reminded of my sister Fame Throwa’s brilliant idea for a line of greeting cards that are polite and respectful but not emotional. There is a real need for this product, I think, as there are occasions when you are required to send a card but you don’t actually know the person very well and so most of the Hallmark-style stuff out there just isn’t appropriate.

Like, say you have a distant grandparent that you have only met a few times, and your mother expects you to send them a birthday card, and it’s no trouble really to get such a card and sign it. But every card is either TOTES HILARIOUS – age jokes! Pictures of men in butt-less chaps! Chimpanzees wearing sunglasses! – and that’s not appropriate given that you hardly know the woman, or they are super gushing (“Grandmother – So often we don’t take the time to share how we really feel…thank you for all the sacrifices you have made…you influence my life on a daily basis.”). NO. When you open a card and there’s a “poem” on the left hand side as well as a “heartfelt message” in scripty pink writing on the right, you know you’re in trouble.

What I want is a nice line of cards that say, “Have a great birthday” or a generic “Hope you have a very nice father’s day” or “Sending you fond Christmas wishes” that aren’t addressed to any specific person (like “Mother” or “Pop-pop” or “To my only brother, from his little sister”). A pretty picture, maybe some sparkle, a clean, unsentimental, non-jokey message inside.

Is that too much to ask? SHEESH.

In other awkward social interaction news, I was out shopping for an item this week at the Bulk Barn, and a very nice lady warned me that I could get said item at the Giant Tiger for less. This item was only $12 at the Bulk Barn, so we’re not taking hundreds of dollars of savings here, and the Giant Tiger is clear across town, and I wasn’t going anywhere near that in the near future. So I definitely wanted to just get the thing at the Bulk Barn, but she was really warming to her topic, about how things are so much cheaper elsewhere and she doesn’t understand how they can charge so much and she has it all figured out, and I should take my business elsewhere. So then I felt really weird about just going and buying the thing anyway, like I was going to look like a total idiot for deliberately paying a higher price.

So I ended up not buying it, and doing some other errands, and then going back and getting it later on.

I think this is a clear example of how my desire to please and/or fear of confrontation and/or over concern about being polite has gotten out of control. I just can never find the quick-wit to breezily say, “Oh, I’m in a rush today, but I’ll keep it in mind for next time!” and then be on my merry way. WOULD THAT BE SO HARD, brain?


10 thoughts on “Dragon’s Den Idea

  1. JR-J

    My two cents worth….
    1. Cards – buy the giant box of mixed cards from Costco; they are for many different occasions (birthday, get well etc) all together in one box and they are exactly what you are looking for; “have a happy birthday”” with a cute balloon made out of scrapbook paper. No emotional lying involved. Put a stamp on it and you are done.

    2. Unhelpful shopping input (or parenting advice) from a stranger – the thing I resort to most often is to put a nervous expression on my face and then say in a heavy Eastern European accent – “No Speakee Zee English”. End of conversation, after that you can smile and nod while they talk away, comically shrugging your shoulders at the end of their rant.

    Have a great day Lynn!

  2. YES, we need that line of cards. I’ve sometimes had to resort to blank-inside cards because there is just NOTHING that says what I want to say. The ones that have been the most comically awful have been: (1) when my mother-in-law was still alive and I needed to buy cards for her; (2) sympathy cards.

    Once at the grocery store, I was selecting a can of tomato sauce and another shopper alerted me to a sale on a brand of pasta I don’t buy. I came VERY CLOSE to buying some of that pasta just to keep things from being awkward. VERY CLOSE.

  3. This made me smile. I have friends who peruse store flyers with forensic interest and drive all over to get “deals.” I wonder if they spend $10 in gas to save $5 on food items?
    But I’m thinking that if I had met that same woman in your same circumstances, I would have done the same as you did!

  4. Yes! Need those cards, and can we price them a liiiiiitte bit lower than the fancy ones? I find it so hard to fork over $6.95 for a card. Although not so hard that if someone told me there was a sale on cards I’d drive across town to pick one up.
    I guess with a baby in tow I have a ready-made excuse for not having the time to go out of the way and save a couple bucks (as long as said baby doesn’t invite more well-meaning advice)…

  5. Zhu

    I hear you! I always have a hard time finding cards that are cute but not cheesy or completely inappropriate. Like simple “thank you” cards, with a nice neutral design and no bathroom humour… is it too much to ask?

  6. lucy

    Yes, I completely agree with you too about the cards. I find that the emotional ones are too emotional even for close relatives that I’ve known all my life, e.g. my sister and my brother. We just don’t talk to each other like that! But we also don’t tease each other about age, so I don’t find the “funny” ones funny either. I just want a nice card with a nice picture and a friendly but minimalist greeting like what I would have said if they were here and I was wishing them a happy birthday/merry xmas etc directly.

  7. a) The cards. I know. I feel this pain immensely.

    b) Once I was at Costco buying an entire case of tetra-pak almond milk. I ran into a woman I knew who told me how terrible tetra pak almond milk is, and how I should only buy fresh, and the consumption of tetra-pak almond milk will only lead to madness and self destruction in the end. She pointed out where to pick up the fresh almond milk. She talked about it for A WHILE. It was awkward then, when I went the opposite direction of the fresh almond milk, and went home with my case of tetra-pak. SOMETIMES PEOPLE JUST WON’T LET THINGS LIE. My god, I hate that.

  8. OMG, Lynn! The same thing happened to me with a woman at Farm Boy and cherries, but I went ahead and bought them, right IN FRONT of her! I AM SLIGHTLY LESS WEIRD THAN YOU IN THIS SPECIFIC INSTANCE!

    I almost never buy cards. Too goddamned expensive (you can almost buy a book for that price – just buy them a book!) and hardly ever appropriate. I’ll make one first, or buy the box of pretty ones from Michael and write something inside.

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