Thursday, 3 June 2010

No Credit, Card

Yesterday it was my birthday
I hung one more year on the line.
I should be depressed, my life's a mess,
But I'm having a good time.

Paul Simon

I couldn't have put it better myself. Yesterday was indeed my birthday.

When I think back to my birthdays when I was a kid, I used to get loads of cards. Kids from school, teachers too sometimes, relatives I'd never met who just liked sending birthday cards, neighbours, all sorts, really. The mantelpiece would be full of them, each precariously positioned so as not to disturb its neighbour, each falling like dominoes when an unexpected breeze or questing cat knocked one against another.

This year, I got 2 cards, both from over-70 year olds. My parents and my godmother, both fighting a rearguard action against changes in technology and society. I pity the makers of cards nowadays. They must have seen their market dwindle significantly in the last few years. Although I got just the 2 cards, I also had about 35 wallposts on Facebook.

Because what is the point of a card anyway? It is merely the delivery mechanism for a message, a way of one person wishing another a happy birthday / Christmas / Valentine's day, etc. There is no need for someone to remember a birthday, go to a card shop, physically buy a card with real money, buy a stamp, find a pen, write the thing, look up someone's address (probably in a diary filled with tiny writing) and post it. So much simpler to wait until Facebook sends them an email remainder of people's birthdays, and then leave a message on their profile page. Why not? The part of the card that matters is the bit that's personalised anyway. It's not the pictures of football boots or cricket bats, and it's certainly not the poem (and I use the word loosely): it's the bit that's written in pen that's relevant. The same bits you get on Facebook, in other words.

I can't see cards lasting, really. Moonpig maybe, because as I said, it's the personalised part that matters and you can personalise the whole card with them. But if I worked at Hallmark, I wouldn't start spending my Christmas bonus yet...

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