Smart SpendingSmart Spending

Sign o' the times: Layoff sympathy cards

Hallmark and other companies now offer greeting cards with that special message for a newly unemployed friend.

By Karen Datko Sep 27, 2011 6:25PM

Greeting card giant Hallmark has introduced a new line of greeting cards to bolster the spirits of the newly unemployed -- or maybe just make them laugh.


Several online greeting card providers are also offering job-loss sympathy cards, The Dallas Morning News reports.  Post continues after video.

Derek McCracken, a creative director at Hallmark Greeting Card Co., told NPR's Melissa Block the company came up with the line in response to requests from customers.


We can see why. Job loss can be a financial reckoning, the first step in a long slide, as well as a deep blow to one's self-worth. When you know that the average job loss lasts 40 weeks in this economy, what do you say to a former colleague or friend who just got laid off? That's where greeting cards come in handy.

To its credit (or not) Hallmark seems adept at creating cards that acknowledge major public issues and events. The Morning News says:

In the past, some Hallmark cards have dealt with difficult issues -- such as the military draft in the 1960s, nuclear warfare and the Great Depression. Cards have also offered sentimental greetings to members of the military during the 1940s and to those who suffered loss after Sept. 11, 2001.

Of course, Hallmark also wants to make money. Mediaite offers a more cynical assessment of the job-loss cards: "... in an attempt to boost sales, someone at Hallmark has come up a new demographic that, in America, is second only in size to 'People Who Have Birthdays.'"


What's the most popular type of layoff sympathy card? "The ones that offer more moral support, but maybe with a little humorous twist in a more encouraging fashion are doing very well and we're publishing more of those," McCracken told Block.


Me? I'd be partial to the one with a grumpy cat asking, "Is there anywhere I could hack up a hairball, like, say, on a former employer's head?" (You can see a slide show of some of the card covers here at The Huffington Post.)


Some guidelines:

  • If you chose to send a card, don't dally. "... the grace period in bestowing such a card is probably within a month or so of losing a job. Afterwards, yeah, it might get a little ugly," Mike Schuster wrote at Minyanville.
  • Pick appropriately. Would a card about hairballs actually make the person laugh?
  • Prioritize your spending. Perhaps the newly jobless friend would prefer that you spend the $3.49 for a fast-food lunch rather than a greeting card.
  • Would a written note be more suitable? A handwritten note probably has a better chance of being saved as a keepsake -- a reminder of how much you cared. 

Most of all, remember that caring shouldn't stop once the card is in the mail. Your friend or former colleague will likely need your kinds thoughts and help for many, many months to come.


More on MSN Money:

Sep 27, 2011 7:14PM

That's cold.


I got an idea. Why don't bosses and other management take a cut in salary so their employees can stay working.

Sep 27, 2011 7:29PM
I expected as much from the Hallmark industry. Not only are they tacky as hell, all of the stuff in their stores is MADE IN CHINA!!!!!! When i go shopping I either avoid Hallmark  or  if  I'm just killing time, go in, look around and say as i'm leaving, "I'm sorry, everything you're selling is made in China. I can't buy anything here because I only buy AMERICAN. If more of us did this, Hallmark would have to start buying American to stay in business. How about it, fellow Americans??? Stop buying from companies who don't have American products!!!!!
Sep 27, 2011 7:53PM

Coming soon .... Foreclosure and homeless cards, car repossession cards, IOU birthday & wedding cards, food stamp dinner invitation cards and Vote Obama for hope - He took the last of my change card.  

Vote this do nothing never had a job bum OUT in 2012

Sep 27, 2011 7:06PM
my all-time fave Hallmark card was one I saw in a Hallmark store in the mid-to-late '90s; it said, "Even though we're not speaking right now, I want to wish you a Happy Mother's Day."

Anything for a buck, I guess.


Sep 27, 2011 8:40PM
Hallmark you suck!! The last time I considered buying one of your over-priced cards I picked out a kind of simple Mother's Day Card with a few pieces of glitter and it was eight dollars!!! I put the card back and bought my mother a steak dinner instead. Like the other comment....I only buy US made products which is somewhat difficult but I am willing to make the effort to make a point.
Sep 27, 2011 7:36PM

You have got to be kidding, this is a very tasteless way for your company to make money in a tough time for a lot of people. I think you should be ashamed of yourself.

I am lucky and I have a job but I think (Hallmark) at least in my opinion has a Big Black Mark next to them.

I have always bought (Hallmark) cards but I no longer will. I hope that the company presidents feel good all the way to the bank. I am sure you will (BUT YOU SHOULD NOT).

I understand your company trying to make light of this, but to the person who receives it...... Deep Down It Has To Hurt that person. And to the people who buy them to give to someone else......

Shame On You.... As Well.....


Possibly you give the recipient the $5.00 rather than spend it on a card that reminds someone of a tough situation...



Sep 27, 2011 8:55PM
it is sad that there is even a market for this to begin with...that there are so many of with out a job...
Sep 27, 2011 7:13PM
No way! A tasteless Ham-mark card? Say it ain't so.
Sep 27, 2011 9:37PM
Get a life. It's just a job. Go get another one. Oh that's right, the Republicans sent them all overseas, unless you can get by working at McD's with all the kids.
Sep 27, 2011 8:53PM
Take a look at your next purchase of a Hallmark card. Chances are good  that it is made in Communist China.
Sep 27, 2011 8:23PM
hmmmm, does obama know? These just might be what he had in mind for extending unemployment bennies.Sad
Sep 27, 2011 10:16PM
Just when i though i heard it  all. They're paying researchers to test MARIJANE DNA to find where it 's from.. why not give people who are out of work a job testing how it helps DEPRESSION.Party
Sep 27, 2011 9:41PM

Can layoff sympathy cards be purchased in bulk? Like Christmas cards? One usually gets a discount for buying in bulk, and these days......well, I could use some of each; the cards in bulk, and a quantity discount. "A penny saved is a penny earned." Martini glass

Sep 28, 2011 1:47PM
Sooner or later, someone is going to throw a molotov cocktail through the window.  I wonder if they will have cards for that?
Sep 27, 2011 7:38PM

... Obama Cards ... ? " Stop Your Whinning and Start Marching "


" Welcome To Obama's Gubba'mint ChEeZe Line "   " President Zero "

" Lost Your Job, Your Home, Your Healthcare, Your Freedom, Your Car, Obama Says ....

Welcome To the Ghetto "  " Fo Mo Years ? "


" I Love Obama He's So Dreamy "


" Gays In The Military ... Its The Right Thing To Do

and It worked Out So Well For The Catholic Church ? "

Please help us to maintain a healthy and vibrant community by reporting any illegal or inappropriate behavior. If you believe a message violates theCode of Conductplease use this form to notify the moderators. They will investigate your report and take appropriate action. If necessary, they report all illegal activity to the proper authorities.
100 character limit
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?


Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.

Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.


Smart Spending brings you the best money-saving tips from MSN Money and the rest of the Web. Join the conversation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.