Happy 45th birthday, Janine! Janine is only 39. You decided to wish Janine a happy birthday. When you asked your sister how old Janine (your new co-worker and your sister’s good friend) was, she thought it’d be funny to tell you Janine had just turned 45 this Friday. A week has gone by since then. Janine still acts cordially and professionally towards you, but you feel the reserve. After all, you’ve added 6 years to her face and body and soul. That’s not nice.
There is nothing wrong with sending someone a card, but it doesn’t mean there can’t be. Or won’t.
There was this one time when you’ve gone up to the post office on Gloucester Road to pick up a package. Along the way, the rainy grainy way, you spotted a friend. Sarah was walking down the sidewalk opposite, with an umbrella in one hand and a glaring mobile phone in the other. She didn’t see you. You shouted–
–and waved, but to no avail. Then you noticed it. Your old friend Sarah, whom you haven’t seen for well over 2 years, is pregnant. Oh, good for her! I bet she and Phil are so, so happy. Seeing how you were already at the post office, you purchased a card (you obviously made an exception because it was convenient; Hipper won’t know this one time). You were going to surprise Sarah with a card before you give her a ring. Then you went next door to the little wine bar, sat down, and started writing.
I passed you by on Gloucester the other day. I yelled but it was raining and the traffic was loud. I am so thrilled that you and Phil are finally having a child. I know it wasn’t easy, but it’s true what they say: good things do happen to good people. Anyway, call me when you get the card – I can’t wait to hear about it all!
And then two days later, the phone rang.
It was Sarah.
“You ******* ****, how dare you talk **** behind my ******* ****…” And so on and so forth.
Sarah wasn’t pregnant at all. You and your 20/40 vision just made fun of an obese woman, in personalised, well-wishing, jolly writing. You took time out of your day to buy the card, write on it, put it in an envelope, licked the stamp, sent it on its merry way – and stomped on what little self confidence Sarah had left. Nothing says I value you and respect you like a good dose of mockery, scorn, and derision.
You’re Agatha Christie of bad personalised cards.
But I wouldn’t worry too much about making a mistake like this, for it is highly improbable that a situation will ever arise where you’ll be able to nause it up this much. Whatever happens, a personalised card gone wrong can only hurt someone’s feelings.
Unless you do it the right way, the really, really right way.
This may or may not be a true story. The names may or may not be changed. <grin>
Kelly is married to Bob, her high school sweetheart. Anita is engaged to Robert, whom she calls Bob. None of these people know each other. Kelly is a doctor at the local children’s hospital and Bob is a stockbroker. Anita is a librarian and Robert is an electrical engineer. Fast forward the boring introduction…
Anita and Robert are getting married in three months. Everything is set: the church, the hall, the guest list, the band, the catering, everything is in place and ready to make the happy couple’s special day even more special. The families are glued to the telephones, planning this and planning that, making one arrangement after the other.
Then, on a Wednesday, three days before the wedding, the postman came. Anita had a nasty cold and decided to take a sick day. She was washing the dishes.
The postman rang the bell. She opened the door.
He gave Anita a bunch of mail, including a letter.
Anita wiped her hands on her apron and thanked him. The postman went away.
Anita opened the letter in the hallway and let out a gasp, covering her mouth.
The letter fell to the floor.
“Dear Bob, I love you with all my heart. No man has ever made me feel the way you do. Our marriage has been nothing but perfect so far. You are the man of my dreams. Love you. Kelly.”
The next two minutes were the worst in Anita’s recent adult life, and only when she got her own Bob (Robert) on the phone, was she able to calm down. The letter was apparently misaddressed and therefore reached the wrong person. It was Kelly and Bob’s anniversary, and instead of sending the card to Bob’s office at Whatever Road 1, she sent it to Whatever Road 7 – the postman must have read the 1 as a 7. The front of the envelope just said Bob. Anita said that she had a lot of work to do in the kitchen, and simply opened the envelope without looking who it was from. It remains a mystery how her Bob aka Robert got out of that one – a piece of information we don’t know and have never asked – but now all is well.
Fear not such a majestic cock-up, because rare are those who manage it. Abiding by the following checklist will make sure your personalised card reaches its target destination correctly: in your mind, double check the event and the reason why you’re sending the card –> make sure you’ve entered the right address –> re-read your card before you send it –> check the recipient’s name –> hit send.
If you’ve read or heard about a Personalised Card Gone Wrong, or maybe even sent one, let us know in the comments below!
Author: Sarah Marsalle
Sarah Marsalle is a dedicated gifting expert since 2016. She helps people to do, say and give in more gracious and loving way. She is a guru in gift traditions and has thousands of ideas for any and all important events in life.