Saline has a number of great places where you can buy greeting cards. Name brands, too, like American Greetings and Hallmark. With Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday now safely tucked away for 2017, it's time once again to think traditional cards, pre-printed messages, and envelopes for mass holiday reconnection mailings.
That's what everyone does, right?
Well— not everyone. Just last week we heard again from The UPS Store near Busch's that it regularly gets referrals from other stores with customers interested in purchasing postcards. The UPS Store stocks one of the largest varieties of local-image postcards in Saline.
Reverend Tom Zimmerman of Saline First United Methodist Church has used postcards throughout his entire career, spanning some thirty years now. "I think people read postcards. I like them because they're different." He frequently uses them for "acknowledging something someone has done. You don't need a big letter for that."
His current favorite shows his church on the north side of the city at Ann Arbor-Saline Road and Woodland Drive East. He also maintains a supply from Christ United Methodist Church in Honolulu, Hawaii where he served as Youth Pastor much earlier in his ministry.
Occasionally, he still draws from that stock, to keep up old, cherished connections. Today, those outreaches are postmarked "Saline, MI."
Downtown, McPherson Local sells postcards. Their best sellers are rustic-looking farm scenes and barns. "And anything downtown is popular," adds Jen McPherson, proprietor.
"People are using them in a different way," she believes. "Greeting cards 'accompany' the gift. Postcards are 'the' gift. People buy them for a specific reason. Because they've sparked a memory, and they want to share that or have it to keep."
Research backs up the current value of such so-called "snail mail."
A study published in a 2015 edition of Canada Post cited findings that recipients of direct mail recalled that content 75% of the time, compared to only 44% of the time for the same material received in digital formats.
A recent Gallup Poll found that 36% of individuals under the age of 30 "look forward" to receiving traditionally delivered mail. On average, 41% of recipients read postcards "immediately" upon arrival. Text, e-mail, and social media do not get that kind of attention.
Anecdotally, The UPS Store owner Bruce Temby sees a postcard featuring Bob-Lo Island boat "Ste Claire" from 1983 as one of his best sellers. Remember Bob-Lo Island? For Washtenaw County locals of a certain age, summer ferry rides from its Detroit dock made this our summer amusement park of choice!
Prior to Congressional authorization of "postal cards" on June 8, 1872, then Representative James Garfield argued that having open messages on cards for all to see would be dangerous. He expressed concern about libelous messages as "a vehicle of great injury to the person to whom it was addressed."
Here's Reverend Zimmerman's point of view. He sees postcards as accountable communications, "for everyone to see." In the case of churches and youth organizations in general, transparency for the parents is important when reaching out to other members of their families.
Given current national headlines, postcards might also be considered prudent for many messages between colleagues in the workplace, media, and government.
Additionally, as pointed out in The Guardian, "By going to the trouble of physically committing words to paper, the writer shows their investment of time and effort in a relationship." That's a key reason why letters and postcards are kept, treasured, and re-read over the years.
What's your experience with postcards?
We've started a thread on this topic in The Saline Post forum section — and it would be great to see stories and photographs there that others have to share.