Dos and Don’ts of carding

When I became an intactivist a year ago I learned about “carding“. I jumped at the opportunity to start spreading the message and ordered my first cards. I made a lot of mistakes in the beginning, learned from them and now present the Dos and Don’ts of carding, to make your life easier.

1) DON’T card like a maniac leaving too many cards on store shelves and in other open places. They are easier to spot, yes, but they are also easier to remove when employees discover them. Your cards will go to waste, won’t reach their potential reader, and will make the store people mad. Not what the goal is here.

DO put cards inside the merchandise instead. Pregnancy books, newborn baby items, maternity clothes, etc. work perfectly and are guaranteed to reach that expectant parent you are targeting. You cards are not wasted and no one gets mad when they are discovered, because they won’t. Hopefully.

2) If you are using stickers DON’T place them on walls, doors, mirrors and other items, that would be considered vandalism. Destroying property is not something you want to do, people will get mad, again. I know people would get mad a lot when confronted with anti-circumcision messages, but the less frustration you cause them on their own territory, the better for the message.

DO put your stickers on your outgoing mail, as long as it is not meant for your grandma or your boss. Unless your grandma is an intactivist and your boss will not fire you for that. You can also place stickers on some items in stores that are packed in boxes and boxes will be thrown anyway once the item is taken out. These would be diaper packs and boxes, car-seat boxes, etc. You get the message.

3) If you are not comfortable carding and are afraid to get caught, know this. It is indeed something that the store owners won’t be happy about when they discover your cards. But as long as you are hiding them inside the items, and do not advertise that you are an intactivist and have a bag full of cards to unload, no one needs to know. Be careful, look around, don’t look nervous. Absolutely don’t. Store people smell fear and anxiety, just like dogs. Look cool, act cool, smile and wave, whatever it takes. I was extremely nervous in the beginning and could only leave a few cards at a time and run away. Over time I got more confident and even smile and chat with employees sometimes while having my cards in my hand behind my back. Once they move on I get back to my cards. The less suspicious you look, the less people will pay attention. But that is something that comes with practice.
Having kids also helps. No one would suspect a mom with a child or two who are spending a bit more time than needed in a specific section. I also shield myself with shopping carts my kids are sitting in. So far never got caught personally but here is something I learned the hard way.


– I left too many cards in public restrooms at a local library and local big chain store, also openly on shelves, etc. and wrote my local page’s link on the back of the cards. BIG mistake. Cards got discovered, people got very unhappy, I got a few messages, even threats about calling the police. But no one knew it was me so that was fine. That is when I learned to be more discreet.

– I also put stickers on changing stations a few times, another mistake. People got mad again, I got angry emails. Same old, same old. I learned again. Also stopped putting any contact information that can lead back to me. Only write big sites on my cards now, nothing too local.

– I used to card a lot in the same section, like baby-wipes containers, for example. Learned at some point that my cards got discovered at a local Walmart and they have sent a team to check all containers and got rid of my cards. And that was a LOT of cards, such a waste. Nowadays I only card a few of the same item, even if my cards get discovered, oh well. Most likely these few items will be sold by then anyway. But this way I try to card various things in different sections. They can’t check the whole store, right?

Phew, this is what I remembered off the top of my head. Will add more if something comes to mind.

Ask us anything and happy carding.

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2 Responses to Dos and Don’ts of carding

  1. Erin says:

    This is great! Thanks so much for sharing. I am always scared of getting caught carding, but I do it anyway. I card all the regular baby stuff (inside blankets, towels, diaper packs, boxes, etc.) and in maternity pants pockets. I try to be slick by keeping them in my hand with a long-sleeved shirt on, or in the front pocket of a hooded sweatshirt. I walk around like I’m shopping and just “check everything out”. If it’s an article of clothing or a folded up blanket, I will touch it as if I’m feeling the fabric, and then discreetly slide the card in.

    I also leave them in changing tables and the tampon dispensers in restrooms, on RedBox machines (there is a perfect little mini-shelf built in), and in brochure holders or menu holders. Lots of gas pumps have brochures, so I always stick one in the front. Also, when I walk past the Baby Registry desk at BRU I like to stick an info card facing where the parents will sit, and hope that the employee won’t notice it first. Another good spot is when restaurants or small shops have those fishbowls to leave business cards in for drawings.

    My favorite, and the most discreet way, to “plant seeds” is by stamping money with a special stamp from VistaPrint ($10 total with shipping included)…and yes, it is legal. It is not considered “defacing currency” as I originally thought.

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