chapter  5
22 Pages

Understanding authenticity in commercial sentiment

The greeting card as emotional commodity
ByEmily West

The commercial nature of greeting card sentiment lends it a publicness, and that publicness has value to many consumers even for private, emotional communication. As Sue and Victoria argued, commercial sentiments bring a sense of occasion and preparation, and therefore a sense of commitment, to emotional communication. Greeting cards, especially the paper variety rather than electronic greetings, function largely through this "propaganda of the deed". They allow consumers to not just "inform" the recipient about their feelings, but "perform" them. The importance of the effort that goes into selecting cards for particular occasions with the recipient in mind was further highlighted by the comments of card stockpilers - people who keep a collection of cards at home to send when they do not have time to go out and make a special trip. Paper greeting cards effectively communicate time spent on the recipient, in the marketplace, which has come to serve as a powerful sign of caring.