Hallmark is famous for offering greetings, congratulations and condolences for decades. Cards line their literature racks next to a tower of plush stuffed animals and other knick-knacks. But Hallmark has recently come up with their strangest idea yet, a card that allows friends and families to reach out to those who have recently lost their jobs. That’s right–you can send a “sorry you got fired” greeting to your brother after 25 years of great service at his company. It’s hard to determine whether this is something to take seriously, or if it’s more ammunition to put salt in the wounds of someone you can’t stand while trying to appear sympathetic.
Look this season in your retailer’s card and brochure holders for these treasures of our Great Recession. Apparently, Hallmark didn’t come up with this idea all by themselves. Representatives from the company told interviewers that customers have called-in this idea for years, based on the staggering 9% unemployment rate in 2011. While some might find it clever, others may not welcome the joke. It would largely depend on the person or situation to determine whether it was okay to give or not. Some people might view the card as a thoughtful reminder that people care. Some need humor to get through troubling times.
Hallmark says the cards are selling particularly well and they are designing more styles due to the high demand. A version of the grumpy cat meme saying, “Heard about your job…” is probably the most clever to give to a young adult. Others have a more empathetic tone, saying, “It’s hard to know what to say at a sensitive time like this.” Another gives the recipient a piece of enduring wisdom that should never be forgotten, simply stating, “Life isn’t fair.” Hallmark seems to have created a line of recession cards that appeal to many different personalities.
The funny thing is, these cards have only recently attracted attention. There had been about a dozen different styles sitting on the shelves for a couple years. It must be the viral nature of our culture today. Something as ingenious as an unemployment sympathy card can sit around for a while until the right people pick it up and share it with their friends with the necessary enthusiasm. As our current economic climate doesn’t seem to be improving very quickly, these cards will probably be a way to cheer a friend up or a tool to anger a family member for years to come.