I am told that my friends no longer enjoy shopping with me when I need to buy a birthday card. I can’t imagine why. I work for a greeting cards company and one of my responsibilities is to do quality control while our many business birthday cards are being manufactured. Apparently, I continue to carry on my quality control duties while shopping for birthday cards with my friends. I seem to care more than they do about how each birthday card we are looking at was produced.
Last year, when I celebrated my birthday, I was told that I continued to quality control each birthday card that I received. I felt slightly embarrassed while sitting at the table opening each and every birthday card, immediately realizing what was wrong with each greeting card. Well, maybe not that embarrassed. Talk about occupational hazard…my mind just automatically checks each greeting card.
However, there was one birthday card that did not need my quality control. When I got home from work the day before my birthday, I was shocked to discover that my company had sent me something in the mail. When I opened it, I was delighted to discover a business birthday card from the executive team of my company! This was the first time I had ever received a business birthday card and was truly impressed to receive one, as I hadn’t yet been at the company for a year and did not even work in the actual office! But because of this nice gesture, somehow receiving that birthday card meant more to me than the other birthday cards I received from the people whom I had known forever.
Even in the electronic era that we live in today, it’s hard to deny the warm feeling that personalized birthday cards bring. It’s a treat to get a piece of mail that doesn’t require a trip to the bank. I always look forward to my birthday for this reason; I get to come home and see brightly colored greeting card envelopes addressed to me. It is exciting to see who remembered my birthday (and who didn’t), and on rare occasions, birthday cards will come from people I haven’t spoken to or really even thought about in almost a whole year! These days, my birthday cards hardly ever contain cash anymore, but the beautiful sentiments inside make up for that.
Last year, I was so upset at my friend Anthony. We basically grew up together, first meeting in middle school. We remained friends all that time, playing video games, going for drinks, trips to the zoo, everything. For my 23rd birthday, I got nothing from Anthony; no birthday card, no phone call, not even an email! I was very upset with him, though I knew at the time that it was a petty thing to get upset about. I know he didn’t forget; my birthday is the title of one of his favorite songs! I wrote him an email message that had some subtly scathing undertones and got no reply. I couldn’t believe it!
A few days after my birthday, my best friend Rhonda threw me a surprise party at her house. I was so shocked and so happy! Anthony was at the party and told me that the reason he didn’t reach out to me on my birthday is because he was afraid he would spill the beans about the party. I still gave him a little grief about it, but the joke was on me all along. Anthony gave me a personalized birthday card with a heartfelt note inside. “Better late than never!” he said to me as he handed over the birthday card. He was right, that was the best birthday I have had to date. I took Anthony outside, threw him off the balcony and laughed.