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(The Atlantic)   Finally, a worthwhile investigation: why the hell are greeting cards so damned expensive?   (theatlantic.com) divider line 29
    More: PSA, American Greetings, IBISWorld, Hallmark, investigation  
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8501 clicks; posted to Main » on 14 Feb 2013 at 2:23 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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Archived thread
2013-02-14 02:41:14 PM
3 votes:

Three Crooked Squirrels: I feel like I'm the only one that likes "Blank Inside" cards. Any typical card display has hundreds of cards with other people's sentiments inside, then two or so in the corner that are blank inside. I'd pay extra for a nice card that didn't have something someone else wrote to my wife in it.


1. Buy a nice blank-inside card
2. Pick a non-blank-inside card to harvest the inside from
3. Write poached words into blank card
4. Appear really thoughtful
2013-02-14 01:29:26 PM
3 votes:
Because even if your lovie agrees with you that it's all a scam and a made up holiday, you're still in deep shiat if you don't do the card.
2013-02-14 11:32:58 AM
3 votes:
Supply and demand.

Next question.
2013-02-15 01:09:13 AM
2 votes:
I know a good deal of photographers, illustrators and graphic designers that work or have worked at Hallmark. I think the prices are high because they have to make a lot of different cards and there is no guarantee that the Yom Kippur card will sell very well nor the intricately detailed aunt to nephew card will either. So the cost of cards, especially the popular ones subsidizes the not so popular-but-we-have-to-sell-them cards.

They pay their staff pretty well, although they do work them hard. But they are generally good to their employees. My wife actually was like an intern there of sorts at the Kansas City headquarters and she was featured in a gallery of up and coming artists.

So I might be a little biased.
2013-02-14 03:00:54 PM
2 votes:

meanmutton: Diogenes: Because even if your lovie agrees with you that it's all a scam and a made up holiday, you're still in deep shiat if you don't do the card.

Valentine's Day is not the made-up holiday.  Sweetest Day is.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sweetest_day


All holidays are made up.

Some are just stupider than others.
2013-02-14 02:59:26 PM
2 votes:
something like 15 years ago I bought Mrs. Simusid a card.  She read it, flipped it over and said "I'd rather have the three bucks"
she has never gotten a card since then.
2013-02-14 12:44:51 PM
2 votes:
Lets put it this way:

Where are trying to get her to look at us like this:
img843.imageshack.us

Compared to the time, effort and money already spent in this endeavor 5 bucks for a card is nothing.
2013-02-14 09:35:33 PM
1 votes:
At Christmas my wife and I go into the card shop, choose one or two appropriate cards, find a quiet corner, then exchange them.

We share how sweet we think the card and the giver is.

We put the cards back on the rack, then use our savings to buy a hot chocolate and hold hands.
2013-02-14 05:02:59 PM
1 votes:
Because capitalism?

What economic concept should we blame? Monopoly? No. Oligarchy? Closer, but no cigar. Imperfect competition? I think we are getting closer.

I will blame the ability of sellers to separate the sheep from the goats, and the fools from their money.

It works like this: you can send anybody you wish a charming little personalized e-mail or note on your best note paper, but that requires two things:  tact and judgment to write the note and chutzpah to cheap out.

So the Devil invented greeting cards to cater to your laziness and other vices.

Now, greeting cards could be printed at a very low cost and sold for next to nothing, but the seller wants to maximize profits. How to do this? Make a lot of different cards. This creates imperfect competition because no two cards are alike in style or value. Some are very expensively produced, some are cheap. Some are tacky and aimed at morons, while some are tasteful and very, very expensive indeed and aimed at people with a lot of time and money.

This is imperfect competition because instead of being a commodity that is fungible (interchangeable), cards become a vast array of choice, sending a vast array of clues about how clueless you are, how cheap, and also how much you dislike the person you have to send the card to or else be thought stingy and ungrateful, etc.

By doing this, another advantage is gained by the card makers:  people are willing to spend different amounts to show they care (or to imply how little they care). By giving them many choices at many prices, you can 1) pry money out of those who are willing to spend more; 2) sell to those who aren't willing to spend much; and 3) turn card-giving into a nerve-wracking competition where the consumer is willing to spend more money than they need to or should just to get out of the store.

Also, the price of the card is right on the back for the nosey recipient to measure their market value to their friends, frenemies and coworkers, etc.

All of these sales techniques drive up the price of a card without driving down the number of people who buy cards, or the number of cards they buy. Assuming we all have roughly the same number of holidays and potential recepients, the same need to impress ourselves or others, etc., this multiplication of choices forces the maximum amount of money out of the maximum number of people the maximum number of times a year.

Ta-da!

The Aristocrats! Everybody is screwed every which way but loose.
2013-02-14 04:48:26 PM
1 votes:
Sending someone a card on a special occasion is a wonderful way to remind them that you're willing to pay about seven bucks to not have to talk to them.
2013-02-14 04:14:00 PM
1 votes:
Guess who I found in the birthday card section in Hallmark a few years back?

s4.postimage.org
2013-02-14 03:28:30 PM
1 votes:
Because you're stupid enough to pay it.
2013-02-14 03:07:07 PM
1 votes:

Rent Party: Because like all things, the market will bear it.


Roses are red
so is a parrot.
This card cost $6.99
because the market will bear it.
2013-02-14 02:56:58 PM
1 votes:
My mom likes to write her message on a post-it and stick it in the card, that way the card can be re-used. We've sent the same birthday card back and forth for a few years.
2013-02-14 02:55:44 PM
1 votes:

oldfarthenry: Ladies want something that doesn't prematurely go off in their faces.


So tie the ribbon a little tighter.
2013-02-14 02:53:17 PM
1 votes:
Because US corporations with little to no competition in their markets think it's perfectly OK to standardize on 250% or higher profit margins for ordinary goods, as long as only "businesspeople" know about it?

/ 1/2% on your savings account is generous these days// 5% return on routine investments is considered a success (but try getting it on a CD anymore)/// MasterCard wants 29.99%, though, plus 4% at the register// But everyone from Kraft to Exxon-Mobil to American Greetings thinks 250% or so is the absolute minimum ROI...
2013-02-14 02:49:16 PM
1 votes:
Because my wife likes to get shiat?
2013-02-14 02:47:17 PM
1 votes:
Because your SO doesn't want to think you don't value them.
2013-02-14 02:41:48 PM
1 votes:
Missing two factors here...

Wholesale margin, and merchandising takes forever. IIRC the card companies actually hire people to merchandise the racks of cards in exchange for a bigger cut of the sale.
2013-02-14 02:35:20 PM
1 votes:
Because you idiots keep buying the worthless pieces of marked up garbage.
2013-02-14 02:31:37 PM
1 votes:
Cards aren't expensive if you know where to go. I found the receipt where my husband bought my card at Walmart. He spent five dollars. I spent less then two dollars on his birthday and Valentines day cards combined by walking across the parking lot and going to the Dollar Tree. They were great cards too. They expressed my feeling better than I could. It's like anything else. You have to shop smart. I even bought brand new Christmas cards at the Salvation Army this year. Ten cents each!
2013-02-14 02:29:30 PM
1 votes:

The Stealth Hippopotamus: I'm going to blame women on this one. The ladies like cards, men like women, so men will buy the cards. Hallmark knows this so prices are driven up based on the elasticity of demand.


My girlfriend thinks cards are a big conspiracy to guilt people into buying stupid pieces of paper saying shiat they don't mean. She likes to give people candy with a post-it note and an origami creature taped on.
2013-02-14 02:18:28 PM
1 votes:

The Stealth Hippopotamus: Lets put it this way:

Where are trying to get her to look at us like this:
[img843.imageshack.us image 500x375]

Compared to the time, effort and money already spent in this endeavor 5 bucks for a card is nothing.


If my wife looked like that I'd buy her a greeting card every goddamn day
2013-02-14 01:43:15 PM
1 votes:

Diogenes: Because even if your lovie agrees with you that it's all a scam and a made up holiday, you're still in deep shiat if you don't do the card.


Uh oh.
2013-02-14 01:39:07 PM
1 votes:
Because people are willing to pay it. Also, so many cards now play music and have stuff attached. It's ridiculous. I work as a retail cashier and it boggles my mind how much people spend on cards. I see people drop $30 on a stack of cards. Half of them are tacky and stupid. The rest are your standard, unoriginal/sappy birthday/anniversary/sympathy cards. Lots of people still buy lots of cards.
2013-02-14 12:58:56 PM
1 votes:
Because they're just expected on holidays like Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, etc. We are conditioned consumers.
2013-02-14 12:35:11 PM
1 votes:
Because people are willing to pay it?
2013-02-14 11:48:59 AM
1 votes:
cdn.theatlantic.com

Penis goes where?
2013-02-14 11:35:19 AM
1 votes:
I'm going to blame women on this one. The ladies like cards, men like women, so men will buy the cards. Hallmark knows this so prices are driven up based on the elasticity of demand.
 
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