Last night as I was watching the news I heard that American Greetings is cutting about 275 jobs. A poor economy, of course, is blamed.
Yet this made me wonder the same thing I considered when Starbucks announced they would close up a lot of shops – could the high product cost really be to blame?
About the actual cost of greeting cards – have you bought one lately!? They are more than a gallon of milk, which makes it tough to stomach. Drink milk for the week or buy a card . . . As we get tighter with our spending in these down times, does this examination of necessities versus luxuries (cards being the latter) that are simply overpriced make us give them up-and hence, create havoc with the company?
While birthday shopping for my two year old daughter last week I picked up a few cards-one from us, one from my husband-and after glancing at their price I almost passed out. Four dollars . . . for a CARD? One card! I know printing is probably expensive but still I remember (and I’m going to sound like my mother here, I just know it) when cards were less than two bucks!
It’s the same as when I shop for my kids’ friends birthdays. I pay $15 for the gift and about $7 for the card and wrapping paper. It’s astounding. Luckily our last group of friends all felt the same about the expense of a store bought card so our kids made each other handmade cards instead.
In LA when I had to purchase a few cards (Christmas, several birthdays at the same time, a card for each of my kids on Easter), I would stop in at the discount card store where all cards were either 50% or buy one get one free.
Yes, I’ll admit it, I am cheap, but still . . . doesn’t a $4 card seem almost ridiculous in this day and time? Most people I know look at cards once, display them on the mantle for a few days and then off to the garbage they go.
I understand the ‘important’ days. My kids always get a card for their birthday and special holidays. But I’m finding it harder and harder to swallow the cost. Will greeting cards continue to be something that we purchase on a regular basis, or because of their high cost (which I assume will eventually get even higher) will they eventually be phased out by something that can do the same thing for a fraction of the cost?
I know, email cards are not the same. And yes, getting a card in the mailbox is great. But I’d rather have a letter containing information about the sender, such as how the kids are and where they took their last vacation, along with a few photos of the family, than a greeting card that has nothing but a generic “Happy Holidays” on the front and a stamped signature in the inside.
Maybe I’m just getting old, though. I suppose if I were young and single and some boy sent me a cute card that said “I love you” I’d cherish that card forever.
Now, I cherish those made by my kids’ sticky fingers much more. That’s why they are displayed all over the refrigerator along with the rest of their artwork.
So as I saw the loss of jobs at American Greetings I wondered how much it has been the economy that has hurt the company and how much it has been the high product cost. I’m sure it is both. We go through good times when we hand out $4 for a latte at the corner coffee shop and then we go through tough times when we tighten the reigns and we stop buying coffee out, choosing to make it home instead. I’m sure it is the same with other luxuries like greeting cards.
And you? Are you still buying cards at the store? Do you spend $5 a pop on them, or do you buy them on sale or at discount stores? Do your kids give their friends store bought or handmade cards? Do you find that the cost of cards is too high, or do you feel that the cost is worth the product?
Are you just old like me?!
Have a fantastic weekend.