Greetings and Salutations

by Shaker ninthpossibility

[Trigger warning.]

So the other day I was browsing for a birthday card, and I found one. It's the perfect card for anyone who wants to take time on their special day to celebrate violence against women in the classiest, most sentimental way. With Hallmark! Let me describe this card for you, since the picture I tried to take didn't turn out. On the front is a cartoon drawing of O.J. Simpson with his arms full of football memorabilia and a speech balloon that says "I didn't steal all this stuff, but if I did, this is how I would have done it." Which is a clever reference not only to the sports memorabilia he's currently serving time for stealing, but also – and this is the really funny part, people – also to that one time when he murdered two people, got away with it, and then wrote a book called If I Did it, Here's How it Happened.

The inside of the card reads: "Have all the birthday fun you can get away with."

Because murdering your wife? That is fun. I mean, who could argue with that?

Oh. Yes. I could. And I did!

I sent Hallmark a short email in which I admirably refrained from using a single profanity and quite clearly outlined what was wrong with the card. I also asked them to please not bother sending me a reply at all if said reply contained the words "I'm sorry if you were offended."

I'm not interesting in condescending lip service.

Which is just tough cookies, apparently, because Hallmark emailed me back:
Thank you for contacting Hallmark.

We have received your thoughtful comments expressing concern about some of the topics and images represented in our humor cards, and are happy to have the opportunity to respond.

You are right that some of our more recent humor cards incorporate more offbeat styles and topics than you've seen from Hallmark in the past. Greeting cards reflect the times - something we have learned over nearly 100 years of being in this business of helping people connect and nurture relationships. Nowhere is this more true than in the realm of humor, where "what's funny" is not only very individual to each person and relationship, but also constantly evolves over time. This is why we have extended our range of humor cards into some areas that may not be to everyone's taste, but please know that these are a narrow segment of the total humor card offering and have not replaced our more traditional humor cards.

Our goal with humor cards has always been, and remains, to appeal to a wide range of people and help them connect with one another through laughter. Occasionally we don't get it right, but we never intend our products to offend or be used in hurtful ways.

We appreciate your preference for Hallmark products and place a high value on your comments.

Please accept our apology for the unintended offense, and our appreciation for taking the time to let us know about that.

Hallmark Consumer Care
That's a doozy, that is. I forwarded the response to my best friend and she said that her favorite part was how ''they reassure you that the 'offbeat' cards haven't replaced the 'traditional' cards. Because you are obviously just a traditionalist worried about the damn hippies screwing up your greeting card selection."

Yeah. That's a good part. I also like the part where they remind me that "what's funny is individual to each person and relationship." Because the relationship where one person murders the other person? Totally funny. And why shouldn't there be a greeting card for just such an occasion? Clearly I'm behind the times.

So I did a small bit of teaspooning against Hallmark, and my teaspoon did about exactly as much good as I thought it would. My concerns were waved away and the few dollars that I spend annually on greeting cards won't be missed. That's why I was hoping to bring this in front of some Shakers: Maybe a few more teaspoons will do the trick. What I'd like to see from Hallmark is a real apology and the card being pulled from stores.

Because the last place I'd expected to be sucker-punched with this kind of casual regard for violence and misogyny was in the freaking birthday card selection at Hallmark.

Contact Hallmark at 1-800-HALLMARK or go here for email links.

[Note from Liss: As always, please be polite if you decide to contact Hallmark.]

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