Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Sympathy Cards: From Walgreens to Target to T.J. Maxx, I Survey the Racks PLUS A BONUS TIP

 Death is not an 'occasion' but it is a good reason to buy a card.

Large Sympathy rack at Walgreens

Walgreens has expanded its map of U.S. locations, maximizing the convenience of an on-the-fly card purchase. They place the' LOUD & BRIGHT' racks at the start. Keep going. You will not find a Condolence Coach-approved card in this zone.

Gift cards for the store have been attached to most of the big card racks. Gift cards do not belong in a condolence note.

Don't overlook endcaps
I encourage readers to adopt the Boy Scout motto:  "Be prepared!", by choosing one of the cost effective packages of blank cards hanging on an endcap display. The Hallmark options, around $5.99 for a pack of 20, include blank, embossed, subdued...choose a style that is calming.  
Peaceful waters for peaceful wishes

Target is "cutting edge" in the card universe.

With two solid aisles of product
they can please everyone, but go the extra mile to stock lines that help shoppers find their voice. Approaching the department, conveniently placed near the entrance, you see the truism:  BRIGHTEN SOMEONE'S DAY.  As a condolence note writer, this is your mission!

the Our Voices series

I love the offering of the Our Voices card line. The American Greetings display gives the African American card buyer another option. You will find all occasions, including three cards of Encouragement and four cards of Sympathy.

CONFESSION:  I allow myself a gorgeous PAPYRUS greeting card (in the $5 range) when I am in an airport, wanting to send a knock-out thank you for hospitality. (Okay, full disclosure:  I've bought one or two for a knock out thank you for my wonderful bosses, too.)

Rich colors, high caliber graphic design, lusciously thick stock... thank you, Target. I don't have to buy a $750 ticket to find Papyrus!

the Papyrus Sympathy line is impressive

The Condolence Coach says:  be mindful as you browse the card racks. Listen to your heart. 

I promised you a survey of the T.J.Maxx card rack and, while it is humble, it is conveniently located up at the registers. You may have to explore behind the first layer of cards, but I found two "blank" cards [this means there is no imprinted message inside] that I would be comfortable using, under the right relationship circumstances. As the rack explains, these are handmade cards. With 3-dimensional accents, they were an impressive value for $1.99.
Handmade cards at T.J.Maxx

What does the Condolence Coach mean by "under the right relationship circumstances"?

Again, it's all about feeling the connection between you--the card--the recipient. Let your heart lead the way. 

Please don't rush (maybe just a little if you are standing at the T.J. Maxx register,) because one of the wonderful dividends of choosing a card with your heart, is the inspiration you will receive.

The right card will inspire your words.

Several months ago, in Walgreens, I was drawn to a lovely blank card featuring a single peony in a glass vase. The flower head was still full but drooping, like this flower. The message came to me immediately! 

This is the condolence note I inscribed on that card (with name changes for privacy):

Dear Tina, You know how some flowers grow old and drop all of their petals (tulips and lilies come to mind), and some flowers just open up letting go of the drama and glory they were bred for... And they remain present to what's around them.
Elana's enjoyment of family celebrations and her faithful delivery of gifts, are so like the enduring flower. Being there for someone's big day, mattered.

I was very sorry to hear of her death. Though she had become ill, the comforts of home meant a lot to her, and this was honored to the end.

I know she will be greatly missed. +++
This lightening bolt of inspiration has happened to me many times.

The promised BONUS TIP is this:  

99 cent cards!
 If you are fortunate to live within 10-20-50 miles of a Trader Joe's (5 new stores are opening in September,) you have access to cheap but delicious wines and a vast array of healthful (ahem: non-GMO!) foods.

The stores also have lovely cards for all occasions, priced at only 0.99 cents! Staffers occasionally ring a big clanging bell (for reasons generally associated with excitement). All you need to remember upon hearing the bell is:  STOCK UP!

Share this post with friends, and thank you for caring!

Photo Credits:  all card display photos by the author

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