‘Call him Richard’: Company refuses to use shortened name on e-card

Eric Pfeiffer
The Sideshow

Ruth Levy has been sending greeting cards to her 90-year-old friend Dick for decades. The tech-savvy Levy, 77 years old and a fan of e-cards, was shocked to be told that a personalized card she made for Dick was considered profane.

"When it came up with, 'Your message cannot contain profanity,' I didn’t get it. I’m obviously too innocent,” Levy told the Daily Mail about trying to create the card on the Marks & Spencer website. “I thought it must be the word ‘significant’ that it thought was dodgy, but it still would not accept it. I tried various ways, taking out bits of text, but it still said no.”

Levy wrote to the store to find out what was wrong. "I could not believe it when they sent me a prissy letter [back] saying it was because my friend is called Dick,” she told the paper. “It is political correctness gone absolutely mad.”

The company suggested that Levy call her friend instead. Levy handwrote a card and sent it through the mail.

“I don’t mind them weeding out profanities—I’m glad for my grandsons to be shielded from the horrors of the Internet—but it should not be beyond the wit of man to have a system that knows Dick is a name,” she said.

For its part, Marks & Spencer stands by its decision, telling the Daily Mail, “We must ensure our system is robust to protect our content standards.”