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Friday, June 13, 2008
21st-century digital annoy
New advances in greeting card technology have been achieved since the last time I set foot in a Hallmark. During a recent trip to the Washington Square location I discovered that half of the chain's racks are now filled with cards that play songs and/or yell at you. Take this one featuring Chris Rock. Yes, apparently Chris Rock now has his own line of greeting cards.
I wonder if P-Diddy is jealous that he didn't think of this a long time ago. Say what you will about selling out, but if Hallmark offered me a garbage bag filled with hundred dollar bills to have one of my comedy tirades blast out of a million greeting cards on Father's Day I would smoother my sense of common decency and take said big bag of cash. Opening this card activates a digital speaker buried in the greeting card that unleashes a very loud Rock bit about husbands being patronized by their wives. The f-bombs are, of course, edited out.
Hallmark now has talking cards with themes based on just about every popular tv show and blockbuster in existence. I'm not joking when I say there's at least five different talking cards based on characters from the US version of The Office. There's also at least a dozen cards based on The Simpsons. I was pretty impressed with one that folds out into three sections, the opposites sides of which feature Marge and Homer yelling across the card at one another.
But maybe the most disturbing was one with John McCain in a section devoted to 2008 election-themed cards. The inside features Cartoon McCain running for a toilet stall while holding his crotch. A word bubble over his head contains the words "AND RUN FOR THE BATHROOM!"
Ha? Er, no. The ones featuring Obama and Hilary are even lamer.
The cards also allow customers to record a personalized message that plays before the rest of the recording. My attempts at leaving an obnoxious message for a future customer were thwarted by a pull-tab on each card that prevents a recording from playing more than once until it's removed after purchase.
I went with a nice, safe Indiana Jones-themed Father's Day card for my own dad. One that doesn't talk or sing because he would probably throw it at my head.