I'm Hallmark Approved. Sorta.

OK, so picture this. I'm sitting in my office in my pjs and I get an email saying something like, "Hi Jen, I represent Hallmark and we'd love to work together. Let me know if you're interested." (I mean, obviously, it was a better crafted letter than that, but close enough for blogging, right?)

I finish reading the email and I start looking around for TV cameras, because I'm obviously being punked. Nobody jumped out from behind the door and yelled, "Just kidding!" so I wrote back: "Are you sure you have the right Jen? This is Jen from People I Want to Punch in the Throat. Are you sure you're talking about THE Hallmark? The people who make Christmas ornaments and those card commercials that make me cry, right?" 

The email came back quickly, "Yes, we know who you are. Have you heard of Shoebox cards?"

Have I heard of Shoebox????

Ummm, helllloooooo, I'm a Kansas City girl who grew up down the street from the Hallmark headquarters and dreamed of writing Maxine cards!! Maxine is like the snarky grandma I never had. The Shoebox section is the only card section I shop in. Because why waste money on a card that isn't funny??

Hell yeah, I know what Shoebox is. 

But instead of fangirling, I played it cool. I was like, "Yeah, I think so."

So we chatted some more and badabingbadaboom I was anointed a Shoebox Ambassador and I worked up the nerve to ask for a tour of the Hallmark mothership. You see, growing up as a creative, curmudgeonly girl in Kansas City, I was heavily influenced by the Shoebox crew and I've always been curious to see how the funny, creative types work at Shoebox. I wanted to see how they come up with awesome cards like:

Source: Shoebox
Much to my delight, they agreed and I had the opportunity to take a behind-the-scenes tour of Hallmark.

It was as amazeballs as you would think. Lots of cubicles and name tags everywhere.

Oh wait, that doesn't make you envious of me at all. I mean, there was a roller rink and a room made just of trampolines and an open bar. That's not true either. There was a Starbucks and their own library.

Yeah! A library at your office! My only complaint? They didn't have MY book. We'll soon be remedying that problem.

They also had a giant craft room. I'm not lying.

Between the library and the craft room, I was ready to move in.
I spent a ridiculous amount of time in there touching ribbons and fancy papers and gazing longingly at pens and colored pencils. (If you know anything about me, you know that I have a super secret craft room in my basement where my glue gun is always plugged in and ready to go. I could easily go to the Dark Side and start a craft blog at any moment.) My tour guide, Dan, was kind enough to buy me a pen. He said it was his favorite kind of pen to write jokes with.

You know how when you take a picture of some celebrity's red carpet look to the hairdresser and you say, "I want her hair" and you think that if you get The Rachel or whatever, you'll suddenly be gorgeous and your acne will clear up and your ass will shrink two sizes and you'll look just like the celebrity? Yeah, that's how I felt about that pen. I was sure that as soon as I sat down and put that pen to paper I'd be RIDICULOUSLY funny. Like Dan and the rest of the Shoebox team.

I quickly found out it doesn't work that way. Stupid pen.

Next thing I knew my new pen and I were seated at a table with the the Shoebox team and they were handing out random photographs and 3 x 5 index cards and saying, "Go!"

"Be funny, Jen. Dooo it."
It's a game they play. Only they call it working. They look at the pictures and then write as many captions as they can that could work if this picture was made into a card.

No problem, I thought. I've got my new funny pen and I'm hi-larious. Easy peasy.

I stared at the pictures and nothing popped into my head except, Damn, this is really hard.

Once you have a quip (or 80) you throw them in a fish bowl (Truly. It was a bowl shaped like a fish.) and then Allyson (who is so funny it's hella intimidating) read them out loud to the group. The index cards are anonymous, but they've worked together long enough to know one another's quirky senses of humor and/or their handwriting, so it was easy to see which ones the newb wrote.

My weak attempts got a few courtesy chuckles and a golf clap or two.

I know what you're thinking. You're sitting there at home or in the office or at your kid's gymnastics practice and you're like, "Pssht, how hard could it be, Jen?"

Well, let me tell you. You're going to find out.

Here is one of the actual pictures we used in our exercise.

Source: Shoebox

Your mission (if you choose to accept it) is to look at this picture and write a funny one liner that will make me spit tea all over my keyboard.

Here are some of the ones that I came up with (that were sadly rejected by Shoebox):

I stole this from the offering plate.

2015 Bingo Champion

When do the strippers get here?

See? Now you try! It's not as easy at it looks. Leave a comment on the blog or on the Facebook pages with your funny one-liner. You can have as many tries as you need.

I'm going to pick my FIVE favorite ones and I'll send you a private message on Facebook (so make sure you're friends with me on Facebook) letting you know you've won and I need your address so I can show up at your house -- oops, I mean I can send you a major award. It won't be a leg lamp though. I don't have that kind of money. It will be a handwritten Shoebox card sent from me to you. I'll address it and put a stamp on that thing and I'll even brave the post office to mail it to you. I'll also send you a card that you can send to a friend. (Hint, hint, it should be me since I was just nice enough to send YOU a card, but I don't want to be pushy.)

All right, get out your funniest pens and start thinking. Ready?


Thank you to Shoebox for hosting me and letting me ask dumb questions like, "Do you walk into a Hallmark store and tell a customer 'I wrote that card. It's super funny, right? You should probably buy two of them.'?" or "Do you guys hate the people who write the touchy-feely sentimental cards?" Shockingly, the answers to these questions were: "Not anymore." and "No, Jen, they're very nice people."

Follow Shoebox everywhere: Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

I was paid for this post in cards and dollars, but you know me, I'll always tell you what I think about stuff.

This week only! Get People I Want to Punch in the Throat: Competitive Crafters, Drop Off Despots, and Other Suburban Scourges e-book for less than 2 bucks!


Unknown said...

"What will 20 Bucks get me?"

fishducky said...

"And you said I was too old to be a hooker!"

makeupPolice said...

Another $20 and you can see them BOTH at the same time!

Garnigal said...

I was going to send you 20 bucks for your birthday, but I lost it at Bingo.

Elly Lou said...

"It was about time I lost my virginity."

"Wonder what they'd give me for the other grandkid."

"Told you Fixodent makes everything tighter."

Elly Lou said...

This - along with hard work, personal sacrifice, and compromising all your principles - will get you $20.

Full Spectrum Mama said...

I'm just too super jelly to think of anything.
Some punchers get all the luck.

Kir said...

"Hey sonny? Are you thinking what I'm thinking?"

Drinks on me!
(what you thought there'd be cake and presents?)

Azaliah Yadinah said...

"Remember when a twenty would buy flowers AND a Get Well card?... Nope, me neither. Get well soon.

Azaliah Yadinah said...

Roses are red, twenties are green, it's been months since I've seen you... so this card is empty. In yer face!

Azaliah Yadinah said...

There once was a granny so patient, she sent cash like this on occasion. But but you never call, so from guilt she's absolved, and now she's saving for vacion! Enjoy the card! It's all you're getting!

Azaliah Yadinah said...

Granny's always got your back! Greenback that is! ... Here's some money. Go, eat, drink and be merry! (And always remember, Granny loves you best!)

Azaliah Yadinah said...

Let Granny show you a trick. See this twenty? Now, look inside... POOF! It's gone! Tada!

Azaliah Yadinah said...

Let Granny show you a trick. See this twenty? ... POOF! IT GREW! Granny loves you best! (Don't ever forget it!)

Azaliah Yadinah said...

I could go on forever, but I gotta pee. You should do this more often! What fun!

Kim Hodge said...

"Back in my day this would have paid more than one stripper"

Stephanie said...

My sister works at Hallmark, and she is actually the one in your picture holding a cup of coffee! Hallmark is awesome, and I always have to hear about her awesome job that puts my teaching job to shame. She told me about your visit and was just as excited about meeting you as you were about visiting Hallmark! So just let me know when you want to go visit again;I've got connections!

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