i Editor's Letter: We wish Clinton employees well


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The Independent Online


Years before Summer walked into the office where Tom was a wistful greeting card writer, in 2009's 500 Days of Summer, the greeting cards business had been a fertile source for movies and other creative works. Although in truth Clinton Cards, in administration with 8,000 jobs at risk, has not featured in them.

It was the late '80s when I first realised people actually made a living from writing cards. Purple Ronnie (stick people reciting cod poetry) began to appear. Created by the Eton and Oxford-educated Giles Andreae, they were a breath of fresh air amid all the schmaltz and smut. Mr Andreae, a BFF of David Cameron's, could have done anything, but chose greetings. A wise move. Gazillions of cards, books and Vimto ads later, he sold his creation in 2007 for £5m.

Back when Longfellow Deeds "went to town" in the eponymous Frank Capra movie (1936), meek greeting cards "poets" were the epitome of smalltown ingenues - even if played by Gary Cooper.

Today, greeting cards are big business; Hallmark and its rivals created "Hallmark Holidays" to sell cards and gifts against. Last year, it launched a new range of sympathy "Sorry you lost your job" cards. That's a little double-edged, as the price of cards today is so high they are a luxury item – especially given postage costs.

It is sad to see Clinton, built from scratch in 1968 by founder Don Lewin to 628 stores (!) today (plus 139 Birthdays) go the way of so many high street names. It has failed to respond to Moonpig and Funky Pigeon dotcoms. No matter what you think of the brash stores, 8,000 jobs are at risk here. We wish all Clinton employees well.


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