Paperchase laughing at young people in care? Please stop. It’s Christmas.


A mother is on the phone looking at a child. The child is  staring at spilt milk on the table and floor.   The mother shouts on the phone  “Is that the orphanage? Right I want a f*cking refund…” This is a card for sale in the largest card retailers in the country. Paperchase.   

“A little bit about us” says the Paperchase website in a friendly font “ With all things celebration at our core. We are the (smiley) face of the positive moments in life for customers in more than 125 stores across the Uk.”  David Alfred Grimm doesn’t think so

To the staff  who work for Paperchase,  to the deputy chairman (Timothy Melgund)  and chairman of Paperchase (Nick Wood) if you were one of  eighty thousand children in care or if you were one of thousands of adults who have been in care,  or if you were one of the foster parents or adopting parents this Christmas,  would this card be a celebration of “positive moments in life .”

This card isn’t meant for children in care or adults who have been in care. It’s meant for others to pour scorn on them.  This card is punching down, abusing children in care as disposal goods for the butt of a joke. The difference between other “edgy  card jokes” is that this one is laughing at a vulnerable foster child. . To Customer Services  Please remove these from sale! You are better than this.  You spread a lot of happiness. But this. This is the opposite of what you are about. This is beneath you. 

52 thoughts on “Paperchase laughing at young people in care? Please stop. It’s Christmas.

  1. This is just awful they need to withdraw it straight away. I do not go in paperchase as I do not live near one but ,shall definitely avoid it from now on.

  2. Punishment is very popular now . I call it trickle down violence. Instead of understanding depression, substance abuse and lack of family support systems we take Twitter worthy shortcuts to problem solving parenting.

    I am so grateful to you for picking these battles.❤️

  3. I have emailed Paperchase to demand they withdraw the cards and consider who they might be offending when they approve designs in future.
    It reminded me of when I pointed out in the students union shop that one of their cards was blatantly racist. The shop staff wouldn’t remove it. I was furious! So I went to the union. They took action, as they should, and took the cards down.
    Lets hope Paperchase do the right thing Lemn. Thanks for sharing.

  4. I cannot imagine what I would say to my son if he saw this. It is so careless, cruel and unfunny. Care experienced kids face enough adversity – this card should be taken off the shelves before it causes more distress and upset.

  5. I am absolutely fuming! As an adoptive parent, I have had to fight against prejudices and misconceptions such as ‘how much did she cost you?’ I can’t imagine how my daughter would feel if she were to come across such an ill-informed message (probably just a teenage eye roll!). Paperchase must take these cards off their shelves and apologise. Thanks

  6. Paperchase sucks — however there is a lot of real sadism (e.g. harmful levels of psychiatric drugging) that hurts children in care settings, and even as adults one finds no justice or respite or even understanding. If one brings it up one gets told off for being an ingrate who couldn’t possibly have known what was good for themselves as a child.

  7. I wrote to Paperchase customer services and received an almost immediate response apologising and informing me that following it being raised by a customer this morning the card is removed from website and they are in process of removing from all shops… result!

  8. I am disgusted and horrified by the total failure of oversight at Paper chase cards that a child in care or their parent is made out to be a cruel joke on a greeting card.
    Where is the “celebration” or “positive moment ” in this ? Already these cards are out there doing damage to an already vulnerable population. This calls for a public apology.
    I will not purchase a Paper chase product again .

  9. Pingback: Paperchase removes card with orphan joke after protest from Lemn Sissay - Livdose

  10. Dear Lemn, I have been a foster parent myself. As such I think that this card says more about the mother (and the person who came up with the card) than the child. But you are very right, to say that this card is crossing a line is putting it mildly.
    My heart goes out to any child who grows up in foster care, even if you have the best foster parents in the world that doesn’t make it easier.
    Having been a foster parent I have come away with the understanding that a parent who has their children taken from them is often not necessarily an unloving or uncaring parent, he/ she is an unable parent (often due to circumstances) and that is something else entirely. It is very important to share that thought with your foster child.
    Merry Christmas

  11. Pingback: Paperchase removes card with orphan joke after protest from Lemn Sissay – The Guardian – Under The Laurel Tree -NEWS

  12. Well done! Things like this only stop when we speak out. Sadly the people in charge don’t have the intellectual or emotional capacity to see right from wrong. Merry Christmas to you!

  13. Hi Lemn, as a former state ward, I’m so glad you chose to pick this up. For those of us who had to live out this experience, the impact of abandonment (amongst other things) carries on well into adulthood. Whilst some of us are fortunate enough to emerge into adulthood with relative success, it will not be the case for everyone; and no one needs a card illustration to repaint that experience in our minds.

    Ignorance always comes from a lack of knowledge and empathy. It would be nice to say we won’t allow people’s ignorance to define and shape us as individuals, but for many of us this can be easily said than done.

    Whilst negative imprinting on the mind has occurred, trying to practice the discipline of positive imprinting using mindfulness techniques, can move us a little closer to healing, but it’s like any trauma, sometimes it’s one step forward and two steps back, and then other times we leap.

    To all of us who have been in care, I wish you good healing and a kinder journey. Take care and be good to yourselves. Lemn, thank you for using your platform to highlight the issue. All the best to you.

  14. Thanks to you for calling this out. It looks like this is a ‘Forest Friends’ type of card (there’s a page on Facebook), and whilst some of their jokes are a bit ‘edgy’ and close to the knuckle, this is downright offensive. There are certain aspects of life and society in general that are strictly off-limits when it comes to so-called humour. This most definitely is one of them. I cannot begin to even comprehend the impact of this momentous faux-pas on those whose lived experience of the care system has been an appalling episode in their lives. Its not funny, its not clever and all the power to you for calling Paperchase out on what has been a woeful decision to stock the card in the first place.

  15. Pingback: The Guardian | Paperchase removes card with orphan joke after protest from Lemn Sissay | La revue de web des livres

  16. The comments on here are ridiculous. If you don’t like the humour, don’t buy the card. But please don’t do this internet “lynch mob” thing. Personally, I think it’s hilarious and I intend to send one to everyone I know.

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