Bereavement. Secret sexual attraction. Holy Communnion thoughts. Incontinence. Childbirth. Flirtation. Anticipation of nerve-wracking events. Alcohol abuse. Gay Barmitzvah feelings. Wedding nights . Critics say Britain's biggest greetings card shops are awash with harmfully conflicting emotional signals, serious and trivial, holy and profane. Jewish and Muslim groups have recently complained about the proximity of a Miss Piggy themed "good luck with your chirpodist appointment" card placed near a selection of circumcision ceremony invitations.
Now, in the run up to Valentine's Day, Clintons and other card purveyors stand accused by counselling and religious organisations of being dangerous places for the faint hearted. One store has launched a ‘soft’ area where the offended can weep quietly, while others nearby snigger at birthday jokes involving hangovers, comical penguins, premature ageing, the paintings of Edward Hopper and failed orgasm.
Hilary and Bill Clinton, the husband and wife team who run the shops as well as having prominent jobs in US politics, have ordered an enquiry into standards. Bill Clinton, whose semen hit the headlines in the mid 1990's, says he is "deeply concerned" but points to a worrying online development from rivals. Companies like Moonpig are offering consumers a service in which their own personal messages and photographs are used for bespoke cards. Some of these could never sell on the High Street.
Clinton claims the CIA has seen cards sent by one middle eastern despot to another saying "congratulations on the creation of weapons grade uranium" and "good luck with the illegal genocide of your people"