What is the best message you ever received on the front of or within a greetings card; you know, when you used to send cards? Billy says his is, "Forget about the past, you can’t change it. Forget about the future, you can’t predict it. Forget about the present, I didn’t get you one." Cute.
When Neil was 40, back before paper was invented, he received a message etched onto a piece of granite: "Men at 40 learn to close softly, doors to rooms they will not be going back to." Not funny, but nice (very nice).
Then there is one that Michelle received last year: "I'm not saying you're old, but if you were milk I'd smell you first." Enough.
The reason for the above is that Paperchase is printing itself a 'Happy Administration' card right now - as it's going to need one very soon. Paperchase is one of the better stores at which to buy a card for your Gran and speculate over who buys the gonks guarding the counter with rubbers up their backsides, or the sequinned pink velvet hedgehog on a keychain. But it is still, when all is said and done, a card shop.
It has about 173 stores and employs 1,500 people, all of whom are trained to almost smile and ask if you want stamps with that. The thing is, the shops haven't been open and people have discovered that Moonpig is not what you do on a farm to an obstreperous resident. Apparently, Paperchase do about 40 per cent of their business in November and December and we skipped straight from October to January last year, and people are quite cross about that.
A Notice of Intention to Appoint Administrators (PwC) has been filed, giving them ten days breathing space. A spokesperson said, almost smiling: "The cumulative effects of lockdown one, lockdown two – at the start of the Christmas shopping period – and now the current restrictions have put unbearable strain on retail businesses across the country. Do you want stamps with that?"
Paperchase tried a CVA in 2019 and quite liked that, but are hoping not to complete the insolvency set with Mr Bunn the Baker and a Liquidation. With all birthdays cancelled until mid-March and Valentines Day being put on hold until after the Euros in the summer, it isn't looking good for a store that should have 'done a Moonpig' years ago, but opted for nice, glass-fronted stores into which now we can only glance as we pass on the way to our 'business appointments' seeing people weeping inside.