Sincere condolences??

condolence six-packHow do you say “I’m sorry for your loss” in French when someone dies? Apparently, with a six-pack of greeting cards. Yes, in France, you can buy packets of “Sincere Condolences” cards, which I guess is handy if a lot of your friends drop off in fast succession, or if you don’t have a chance to get to a card shop when someone has popped their clogs (quite possible, considering shop opening hours in France).

At first, I was shocked that anyone would consider buying a six-pack of cards for death, but then I wondered what the difference is between this and buying a packet of Christmas cards. Choosing a card that you can send to at least six of your friends doesn’t exactly say “this is personal and sincere”, but I think the difference is that Christmas happens once a year, so you can be a bit more blasé about it. Death is pretty much a one-off (unless you’re Slash or pretty much any other member of the old Guns’n’Roses who dabbled in drugs a little too much before being resuscitated), and I’d feel embarrassed if the only card I could find to send to a mourning family was one from a six-pack. Also, just saying “six-pack” reminds me of Australian beer. Although my brother would probably appreciate the sentiment, I’m sure he’d just prefer the beer.

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I'm a technical author, journalist and writer from Australia who has been living in Europe since 2000 and exploring the world from there. My passions are writing, snow sports and travel.

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3 comments on “Sincere condolences??
  1. tavia lewis says:

    In Jamaica you’re not supposed to announce when you leave a funeral. just kind of sneak out. why? because the lonely ghost will hear you and follow you home…

    i think liquor/beer would be OK to me too. I’d at least smile at it.

    i never know what to say on a condolence card with out sounding generic anyway so why not just accept that it’s the thought that counts and that’s really what this 1 of 6 cards is, a thoughtful (even if not very) gesture.

    🙂 fun post!

  2. Funny! 6-pack of condolence cards, 6-pack of beer…. 🙂

  3. April says:

    Great Jamaican anecdote – thanks Tavia. Anne, I’m wondering if it’s a ‘well planned’ coincidence!

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Wendy Hollands writer in Annecy, France

I'm an experienced professional writer based in the French Alps. I enjoy learning French language nuances, winter sports and travel. Read more...

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