Expressions of Gratitude For The Win!

by admin on February 20, 2018

Hello, I’ve got a question on thank you notes. Growing up we weren’t expected to send thank you notes. I’m now 26 and trying to rectify that. I’m aware that after a wedding you should send thank you notes, but I was recently told by someone that past twenty one or so thank you notes are no longer necessary for gifts. Is this true? I’ve started sending them for birthday and Christmas gifts for more distant connections, like my step aunt for example. Often these gifts are gift cards and I was also informed you “never thank someone for a gift card with a card”. I’m second guessing this and I wondered what the consensus is? I’m enjoying writing out thank yous so I hope I’m not cast into the flames. 0111-18

Society has sunk to a new low when thank you notes are considered poor or unnecessary etiquette.

Here’s the scoop on thank you notes.  They are always a “win” regardless of whether they are written to express gratitude for the receipt of a gift or a service/kindness done for you.  Obviously wedding, shower, Christmas and birthday gifts should be recognized with a thank you note.   The only caveat to this would be if the gift giver hands you the gift, you open it in their presence and then effusively thank that person for the gift.   Christmas gifts opened on Christmas morning in front of the gift giver deserve a verbal thank you but no need for a written one. Same goes for birthday gifts.

If someone does a favor or kindness for you, a thank you note expressing gratitude for the time and thoughtfulness that person expended is very good manners.    In business, it can advance your career.

But even if the thank you note recipient thinks notes are unnecessary and pointless, do them anyway and here is why.   Just the action alone of writing a short note of appreciation and thankfulness puts you into a grateful state of mind where you assume nothing is owed to you and you appreciate it all.   That is a WIN for you!

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Wedding Wednesday – Pumping, Snacking And Baby

by admin on February 14, 2018

Dear Miss Jeanne and readers of e-hell, I have a dilemma and I need some etiquette advice!

I gave birth to my second son 14 weeks ago, next week there is a family wedding. Children are not invited, which is absolutely fine – my parents have agreed to take care of both of the children for the duration of both the actual wedding and a portion of the evening party. (My husband’s cousin is getting married.)

I breastfeed and have expressed more than enough milk to cover the day and evening events. (I actually milk share with a mother who struggles to feed her own daughter, so I have plenty of milk.) However, my dilemma is this: how rude is it to essentially “vanish” for around 30 minutes or so to either a room at the venue (I will ring and ask if there is space available) or into our car to express and potentially eat something. Unfortunately I’m still at the point where my breasts are very tender and get over full very quickly, so the only relief I get is through expressing. I am also incredibly hungry all the time so was considering bringing a small lunch pack of foods I can eat (this would not effect me eating the wedding breakfast at all).

It is very important to the groom that we attend the wedding as all of us are very close so not going isn’t really an option.

Am I being incredibly rude or would this be an ideal way to enjoy the day without feeling incredibly sore and having to change breast-pads every half hour or so)
Please help! 0213-18

In all my years of wedding work I have never known of a situation in which a nursing mother could not bring her infant to the wedding regardless of children not being invited.  Nursing infants always were the caveat to the exclusion of children.

First, I’d ask the bride and groom if you could bring the baby with the assurances from you that you will promptly exit the ceremony if the baby gets fussy. If they balk at this then explain that you are in a season of life where you will need to periodically either breastfeed a baby or disappear to express milk.   It’s biology and you have needs.  “We are so looking forward to your wedding but if you notice me missing for short spells,  just know that I’m a little pre-occupied but will join you all soon!  See you next weekend!”

Unless your husband’s cousins are selfish cretins, they will graciously never notice you missing while you pump and knosh. And if they are really kind people they will insist you bring Baby along and go out of their way to make sure you are accommodated as best can be done.

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There’s Snow Parking Spaces Anywhere!

by admin on February 13, 2018

This is equal parts an etiquette related question and a rant about the willfully inconsiderate behavior that people exhibit and which adversely impacts others in already stressful situations. The commuter train station close to my home is currently expanding its parking lot to include a large, covered lot that in the long term, will greatly alleviate the horrible parking spot drought from which it currently suffers. At this time last year, arriving after 8:30am generally meant that you would not find a spot. Commuters adjusted their schedules accordingly. However, at the moment, the situation has become quite unbearable:

1. Now that there is construction on-going, one full row of spots adjacent to the work site is out of commission for safety reasons.
2. Given that the construction workers need to park somewhere and likely arrive early, that’s several more spots unavailable to train commuters.
3. We’ve been having a spate of inclement weather with colder temperatures and more relevantly, a fair bit of snow this winter. They are optimistically describing this as a “classic winter” but what it really means is that we have been spoiled with milder weather for the last 10-15 years and now Old Man Winter is back with a vengeance ?. Presumably, in order to efficiently clear snow when required, there are two snow plows permanently parked in the lot, taking up a further 8 spots.
4. Lots of snow means the big piles of packed snow and ice shoveled off the roads and the rest of the parking lot, taking up yet more viable spots.
5. There is a bank of 12 carpool spots at the front of the lot. These are free to anyone after 9:30am. Generally, if I was unable to be at the station by 8:30, I would delay my arrival until 9:30am in order to legally park in a carpool spot. Until recently, there have been 4-5 still available at 9:30, or at least 1-2 on the odd busier day. Now, they are all gone by 8:30. One explanation could be that the number of carpoolers has gone up. More likely though, desperate people are “risking it” in order to make their trains.

All in all, the condition is pretty dire. Everyone is suffering and we understand that it’s short term pain for longer term gain. However, a bit of consideration from fellow commuters would go a long way towards improving things or at the very least, not worsening them. What prompted me to write was my mounting feeling of desperation as I scoured the lot for a parking spot today. I was later than usual and expected to have trouble but not to see the senseless waste of perfectly good parking spots thanks to morons who don’t know how to park. This is what I saw today:

1. One end spot taken by a dumpster (sad Christmas ? ) parked very close to the dividing line between spots. Fine, can’t do anything about that. Perfectly viable spot was available next to the dumpster, only, I couldn’t park in it because the moron on the other side had parked on the yellow line also, leaving a ton of space on his other side. I could have gotten my car in but would not have been able to get out of the car. I drove away sadly.
2. Another giant idiot parked over the yellow line, effectively taking up two spots. There isn’t enough snow to make the excuse “I couldn’t see the line” a valid one so I have no idea what he/she was thinking.
3. Quite a few angled cars, with angles severe enough that they are closer to or over the line on one side at the front and the other at the back, basically making their neighbors lives hell. People adjust so they can get out of their cars and eventually this results in waste down the row when everyone has adjusted enough.
4. Douchebag with a giant truck, once again, parked almost on the line on one side, inciting that same bad behaviour starting with his neighbor all the way down the line. I get it, large vehicles are harder to park but YOU bought the frakking car, YOU make the effort to park it properly even if it takes you 3 or 4 tries. Don’t make it my problem.

All of the above are problems whether there’s a dearth of parking spots or not. They’re just easier when you can shake your head in disbelief and annoyance before moving your car to another open spot. I’m not really looking for a solution because there isn’t one. How do you make people behave? How do you make them stop to consider the impact of their negligence on others? I’d love to hear coping mechanisms or fun ideas or anything, really…. Otherwise, please join me in a rant!  0129-18

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