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Hallmark introduces job-loss sympathy cards

A Hallmark greeting card about job loss: Greeting-card companies are now offering a selection of layoff cards given the nine-per-cent unemployment rate in the United States.

MIKE BLAKE/MIKE BLAKE/REUTERS

Nothing says it like Hallmark – especially when you're out of a job.

Greeting cards for the unemployed may sound like a bad joke, but they're for real, WLBZ reports.

So are the groaners within.

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One Hallmark card with a photo of a cat reads: "Is there anywhere I could hack up a hairball, like say, on a former employer's head?"

The company's six new job loss cards – available only at Hallmark stores and online – are reportedly selling well. While some are designed to lift spirits with "recession humour," others feature Hallmark's unique brand of tear-jerking sympathy: "Sorry you lost your job, but please remember your job is not who you are. You have many great qualities, and that's what really matters. Until someone realizes your unique abilities, I hope you'll take pride in all you've accomplished and realize how much you have yet to give."

After all, nothing feels better than a mass-produced affirmation of who you really are.

On the bright side, the recently laid off are hardly alone. The unemployment rate in the United States is at 9 per cent ( Canada's, at 7.3 per cent, is not far behind).

"By virtue of bringing it out into the open and discussing it, there's less shame attached to it," career expert Nicole Williams said on The Early Show. "And the more shame that is attached to it, the less likely you are to go out there and actually find a job quickly."

That's assuming there are any jobs to be had.

Given the long economic recovery, it's no wonder companies such as Hallmark, Zazzle and Greeting Card Universe are cashing in. And Hallmark has a history of issuing cards to deal with social upheavals, such as the military draft in the 1960s and the events of Sept. 11, 2001.

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"Cultural critics might say, 'Oh, that's too bad that people can't come up with their own words,'" Emily West, a communications professor at the University of Massachusetts, told the Chicago Tribune. But, she added, "There wasn't a golden age where people could come up with their own words."

On the other hand, well-wishers could skip sending a gift of paper to a broke loved one and instead say, "Can I buy you a coffee?"

Now those are comforting words.

If you lost your job, would a Hallmark card make you feel better?

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About the Author

Adriana Barton is based in The Globe and Mail’s Vancouver bureau. Her article on growing up with counterculture parents is published in a McGraw-Hill anthology, right after an essay by Margaret Atwood. She wishes her last name didn’t start with B. More

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