But first, some back story.
Greeting cards stress me out. They just do. I feel like I have an unusually long list of Things That Shouldn't Be Stressful But Are, and this is yet another item on the list. Having to find a card to accompany a birthday present or shower gift or whatever...it reaaaaalllllyyyyy troubles me. First of all, they're too expensive. IT'S A PIECE OF PAPER. Second of all, they're mostly WAY too cheesy, fake, or dumb. Occasionally I'll find a great funny one, but then it's $5 and I want to cry. I have never, ever liked a card as much as I like a latte, and so spending $5 on a card is out of the question. And I feel like most card recipients would agree. If I'm going to spend $5 more on your gift, wouldn't you rather it be in the form of the actual GIFT and not the piece of paper you're going to throw away in ten minutes? And that's the last thing that stresses me out. Knowing that no matter how pretty/inspirational/cute the card is, it's just going to get tossed in the trash. This makes me want to just write "Happy birthday, I love you!!!" on the back side of a post-it note I've already used or something...at least I don't have to feel guilty when it lands in the landfill. Oh, and the $1 cards that they usually have at Target or the grocery store or whatever? Vomit. Just because I'm frugal doesn't mean I automatically love obnoxiously bright colors on glossy cardstock with even worse words/phrases/poetry. Ick.
So anyway. As you can guess, I avoid buying cards at all costs.
Except at Trader Joe's.
In keeping with their general commitment to excellence, Trader Joe's does their cards extremely well. So well that sometimes I actually just browse the cards for fun. In direct contrast to the card aisle at Target, the (very small) card selection at TJ's makes me smile and feel happy. AND THEY ARE ALL ONLY A DOLLAR. That's right. The cards are lovely, not cheesy, appropriate, AND CHEAP. I swear, if the typical TJ's card was at Target, it'd be $5. The paper is thick and lovely. Depending on the design on the front, often there is texture to it...like, you can feel ridges and outlines, highs and lows. I mean, they're nice. And surprisingly generic. Many of them have a quote or something on the front, but they're real quotes (spoken by people you've heard of...not random card designers in the Hallmark laboratories) that don't make you squirm with discomfort. And if there's something on the inside, it's also generic-ish enough that you could use the card for a variety of occasions. Like this (which is currently serving as inspirational office decor, hence the lovely tape on the top):
|Please excuse my horrid iPhone photography and how it makes this card look like a piece of crap. In real life, it's pretty.|
Pretty, right? The inside simply says "Thank you." Which means that I've given this card for birthdays, Mother's Days, and just because.
Here's another one currently sprucing up my office:
I should really consider taking better pictures. But you get the idea. This one is a really nice paper and the lettering and designs are all textured and raised...and just lovely. This one is blank on the inside. IT WAS A DOLLAR. I really can't stress that point enough. Only a dollar, AND pretty enough to not be immediately thrown in the trash-- when Matt gave me these cards, I didn't have to awkwardly wonder if it was okay to trash them or debate whether saving them made me a hoarder...I stuck them up on the wall of my office and called it decor!
I bought this one yesterday. I don't even need a card, nor do I plan to give it away. It just looked pretty and I thought I'd like to frame it or hang it up somewhere. Because for a buck, I can do that.
This one says "Here's to new beginnings" on the inside.
So there you have it. Next time you're card shopping (or just grocery shopping), make a stop by Trader Joe's. It's a slam dunk every time. Oh, but be warned: like most of the best things at TJ's, the card selection changes frequently. If you see a card you love, don't assume it'll be there next week. Go ahead and buy it while you can-- there'll still be great cards next week, but they may be completely different. Learn from my tragic experiences!!