The nation's purveyors of social expression have no formal mechanism for tapping the national mood or figuring out the relationship needs of Americans. Industry giants Hallmark and Gibson admit that the greetings they proffer are not the result of a very scientific process. In fact, they rely more on a random blast of staffer intuition than on national surveys, focus groups, or mall interviews...
...If given a chance, however, professional keepers of the American psyche would offer greeting-card makers the following advice:
o Get hip to the modern household and its diversity of relationships. California psychologist Carole Lieberman would like to see more cards for divorced couples on good terms, and cards addressing step- and half-children, parents, grandparents, and other kin affected by a break-up.
o Get specific. Today's greeting cards virtually ignore AIDS, cancer, heart disease, and mental illness. Greeting cards might be a tasteful, non-offensive way of connecting to and acknowledging people isolated by disease in a hospital or at home.
o Trash the sugar-coated prose. Most cards err on the side of pretense, either too stiff or too flowery. Recipients don't know what to make of modern card-style poetry: "Is it friendly love, marry me love, or just a cute joke?" asks Lieberman.