Sunday, November 22, 2009

Stupid is as stupid does

On Friday, I did something so stupid that I am ashamed to write it.

I bought a $5 greeting card.

That's right, a piece of medium-weight card stock with a small image of flowers on the front and some pretty words inside and out. A card. A friggin' piece of paper. The only thing that made it unique was a small piece of ribbon that was threaded through some little holes at the top of the card. The holes for the ribbon were not gnawed by poverty-stricken children, as far as I know. They were not hand-punched in a foreign village with the disembodied claw of a rare native creature. I don't believe the ribbon itself was created on foot-operated looms in the mountains of Tibet; it appeared to be rather ordinary, a single color, no pattern, no texture other than the expected lined pattern seen in many common ribbons.

I also bought a gift bag (aren't those great?! and reusable!!!) and carefully noted the price of the bag before selecting one. I never even glanced at the price of the card. I hadn't bought one in a long time; it didn't even occur to me to look. When I got to the checkout and the girl told me the total, I nearly fell over. I had to ask—why was it so much? Did I get a more expensive bag than I thought? No, she informed me, it was the card. The card cost $4.99. That's right, twice as much as a good-sized, sturdy, useful bag with handles. TWICE AS MUCH AS THE BAG.

The most ridiculously stupid part of this story is that I didn't immediately return the card for a refund. I didn't return it at all. I was in a hurry, and I was crabby, and I stared at her in disbelief as I paid for the *!?$&$ purchase and left the store. I've made a point of hand-crafting most of my cards for several years now, have stocked up on printed paper and blank cards and stamps and markers and the like, but up until Friday the main reason was that I figured I could say what I wanted to say without the help of sappy, emotive corporations. But now? Now I'll make all my own cards just because I'm a cheapskate.

Except for the very affordable blank notecards that I get at the craft store: 8 for $1. Now that's more like it.

Can you believe? What is this world coming to? And what am I coming to when I pay it, just because I need to get it done and get it home and wrap the present, and there's no time to make a card?

Not my proudest moment, that one.


Tina said...

Cost of cards is insane!!! I refuse to buy them anywhere but Dollar Tree....2/$1.

chris h. said...

Ah yes, I have become very adept at gauging card prices before I turn them over. (And unfortunately, 90 percent of the ones I really like, I won't buy because they're too expensive.) For the ones I do buy, I usually just swallow hard and tell myself I'm supporting other writers who have the "dream job" I'd like to have.

Facie said...

I don't think you should be ashamed of that. We have all accidentally bought something b/c we were in a hurry and/or not paying attention.

I send out very few cards anymore. When I do, I try to find cheap but good ones. But sometimes the best ones happen to cost $4 or $5. It does not sound as if that was your point, but I'm just sayin'!

Mel said...

Tina, thanks for the Dollar Tree tip! Good to know! And I've definitely learned that, in the same situation, I must check the price of the card. And Facie, I hear you, but I am still ashamed. It's a piece of paper. I just can't justify it, even if it's the nicest card in the whole world. If I couldn't write? Or take photos? Or had no paper at home? And had money to burn? Then maybe. But? Can't make myself okay with it. Can't. ; )