When You Care to Send the Very Best

Hallmark has really outdone itself now. The Trouble With Spikol linked to an ABC News article that revealed Hallmark’s new line of cards: Journeys. The new “sensitive” line of cards covers just about everything in the merged “Get Well Soon”/”Sympathy” category.

      • Congratulations
      • Divorce
      • Eating Disorder
      • Friendship
      • Grief, traumatic loss
      • Inspirational
      • Leaving a bad situation
      • Losing hair from treatments
      • Miscarriage Post-partum depression
      • Quitting a bad habit
      • Significant anniversary
      • Thank you for being there
      • Thank hospice worker
      • Thinking of you
      • Tough times
      • Waiting for results
      • You can do it!

Anything you can think of, Hallmark’s just about got it all. “Thank hospice worker???” Even a card for gays coming out. It’s just weird. I feel like this is a gag akin to that I read (and fell for) at Furious Seasons.

I have to get on my soapbox for a minute here. Really, how did Hallmark’s Editorial Department think this up? How do you express your feelings to someone with an eating disorder? “You’ll get better soon! Just look at Katharine McPhee from American Idol!” Umm…

“Theresa Steffens, an assistant product manager at Hallmark, said a majority of online and focus group respondents said they couldn’t find what they were looking for when needing an encouragement card.

‘Either the consumer said they were walking away from the display or they were just unhappy with the card that they purchased, so we saw this as a huge opportunity,’ Steffens said.

Customers said they wanted cards dealing with more real-life situations.

‘They said, ‘I don’t know what to say during a difficult time, so I don’t say anything at all,’ Steffens said. So again there’s an opportunity there to help them talk through these tough situations that they’re dealing with and to foster that communication.'”

  • Leaving a bad situation: “I know you’ll succeed and walk away from this stronger than you ever imagined.” Oh wait, that’s plausible.
  • Losing hair from treatments: Don’t get me wrong; I’ve had a friend with cancer, but I’m not quite sure what you’d say to this. “Remember: beauty comes from within.” Dangit, that’s plausible too.
  • Miscarriage postpartum depression: Uhh… I’d need to see a card for this. I really can’t come up with a good one. “Don’t worry! There’s always the next round!” It’d suck to get something like that if doctors said that the (almost) mom could no longer conceive.
  • Quitting a bad habit: “Good for you! We all support you and stand behind you as you kick your bad habit of biting your fingernails!” Good grief if that card exists.

ABC News found an example for a card for depression:

“When the world gets heavy, remember, I’m here to help carry it with you.”

It’s a nice gesture, but it would mean nothing if there person who gave it never really called or visited afterward. At least writer Sarah Muller of Hallmark realized the sensitive potential of these cards:

“Writing the cards proved a challenge because the messages were designed to take a more personal approach than the standard sympathy card, said card writer Sarah Mueller.

“You can’t send somebody who is seriously depressed a ‘cheer-up’ card because it’s insulting and it doesn’t help,” Mueller said. “That’s what depression does, is it makes you feel like you’re all alone. So just being able to write something, the attempt was just to say, ‘I’m here.'”

It’ll be interesting to see how well Journeys does and whether it’ll still be around a year or two from now. Below is a card that I kind of found displeasing:

Hallmark Card

Maybe I need a better sense of humor with this.

Loose Screws Mental Health News

Wow. I learned something new – “Women are over-represented in all cases of” depression, anxiety, dysthymia and panic attacks. Read more here.

An interesting observation from Gretchen Rubin, blogger of The Happiness Project.

“Studies showed that depressed people have as many nice experiences as non-depressed people, but they remember them less well.”

Graham’s Blog has linked to interesting fashion jewelry: Made with Molecules. For only $20, you can:

“Display your favorite neurotransmitters close to your brain!”

Erhm. The very thought of this disturbs me. Also feel free to purchase a serotonin-happiness card or a dopamine-heart card – just in time for Valentine’s Day.

dopamine heart card

Pfizer is cutting 10,000 from its workforce citing nothing other than loss of profits:

“The drug giant Pfizer said Monday that it would lay off 10,000 workers and close several manufacturing and research sites in an effort to bolster earnings hurt by the loss of patent protection on certain drugs and by setbacks in developing new products.”

I’ve mentioned patent protection before but it seems that Pfizer isn’t generating enough “structurally related” drugs to prevent the loss of its profits to generics. The two biggest losses: Zoloft and Zithromax.

“Pfizer said the moves would save $1.5 billion to $2 billion a year in pretax expenses.

Pharmaceutical industry analysts have generally been welcoming cutbacks by Pfizer but have said that while cost-cutting is beneficial, the company needs to resume growth by bringing new products to market.”

Pfizer’s a big company; I’m sure they’ll have no problems rebounding. However, I have no doubt that the failed torcetrapib factored into Pfizer’s decision to cut staffers.

A Philly plaintiff in the Vioxx suit against Merck has willingly withdrawn her suit. She cannot refile against Merck.

“Merck has consistently said it will fight each case on a one by one basis rather than submit to a large settlement.

In trials that have reached a jury verdict so far, Merck has won nine and lost four, including one Merck victory that since has been thrown out.”

The legal fees surrounding the Merck case must be astounding, but is it really worth it for Merck to drag these cases out against 27,000 other plaintiffs? I would assume on Merck’s part that it would be cheaper to settle. But then again, maybe it’s the whole “we need to clear our name” thing. That’s a fast way to lose profits for a pharma company.