For decades, Hallmark’s slogan has been “when you care enough to send the very best.” They have positioned themselves as the gold (crown) standard in greeting cards – offering premium products that feature artwork and sentiments that have no rivals.

I am a Platinum member of Hallmark’s Gold Crown Club (meaning I buy a lot of cards) and I can attest that the price may be high, but the quality always matches it.

So imagine my surprise when I went into the Dollar Store and found that they now carry the Hallmark line – offering branded Hallmark cards either 2 for $1 or at the one-dollar price point. They also carry Hallmark notecards and invitations.

I am as happy as the next person to save money, but I was also saddened at how they have cheapened not just their price, but their entire brand. No longer does Hallmark have the same cache when people know you may have paid 50 cents for a greeting. Obviously, the elaborate, 3-D or embossed cards aren’t available at the Dollar Store, so Hallmark loses some of the features that made the cards special and diminishes its overall product line.

You can strive for the high end of the market and compete on quality or the low end where you compete on price, but it is next to impossible to do both. The Gold Crown today feels like it is on Humpty Dumpty instead of the throne.

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