The season of goodwill is almost upon us but not at discount retailer Dealz where a niche range of Christmas cards has been launched.
Messages include “Santa thinks you’re a loser”, “Merry Christmas you Dipsh*t” and “Nothing for you, B*tch”.
Some people are annoyed that browsing for Christmas cards is now a minefield where snowy nativity scenes have been pushed aside by crude greetings.
Parentline chief executive, Rita O’Reilly, said: “This is just awful. Young kids shop in this store and parents will be very annoyed by this. These sentiments are not for Christmas. It’s a time for joy and wishing people well, not for this uncouth and unpleasant sentiment.”
The bargain store with its pocket-money prices is popular with children.
While some may find the cards edgy and humorous, mental health campaigners warn that the passive- aggressive messages could be used for bullying.
Psychologist John Wills provides training in schools on bullying and mental health. He said: “To some people, these cards will be hysterical, but others could be upset by them and they could be used as a tool of abuse. The statements on them are very blunt.
“Someone who buys one of these cards has someone in mind to send it to. The problem arises if there is a pre-existing issue and dynamic which these cards could compound — receiving one could be damaging and hurtful.”
While there is a sign warning “parental advisory: Explicit content”, the card range emblazoned with slogans such as “Merry Christmas, you absolute prick” and “Happy Christmas, you loser”, is prominently displayed on low-level shelves.
Stores have an audible alert at tills asking if the buyer is over 16, but consumer champion Dermott Jewell described these “token efforts” by the retailer as disingenuous: “There is a requirement that care be taken by the retailer with such material. These are on low shelves in easy view of young people. They are in bad taste and challenge the entire positivity around Christmas.”
Anti-bullying campaigners yesterday called for consumers to boycott the cards. Founder of Stop The Bully Ireland, Pat Forde, said: “They can argue that these are aimed at adults or that we are all too PC these days, but that’s nonsense. If your child came home from school with a card like that or got one in the post, would you be happy?”.
A Dealz spokesman said: “Our new Banta Claus cards are a winner with Dealz customers.”