Jennifer? Are You Sure Her Name Isn’t Piggy Sue?

by admin on May 10, 2010

“Jennifer” and I were in the same graduate program, and while not exceptionally close, did socialize with one another on occasion.  Our graduate class was very small, so all of us spent considerable time together and following the receipt of our doctorates, would occasionally get together, gatherings that I have always enjoyed.  Two years ago, as I was planning my own wedding, I did include her and her then-boyfriend on our wedding invitation list but did not expect them to attend, as my wedding was taking place in my hometown which is about 1800 miles away from where I currently reside and where I had gone to graduate school.  However, I was inviting several other mutual friends and thought that it would be rude to not invite her and potentially make Jennifer feel excluded.  Jennifer never RSVP’ed, and she did not come to the wedding.  While I was briefly annoyed that the RSVP card never came, I chalked it up to her misplacing it or simply assuming that I would know that she would not make the cross-country journey.

Fast-forward to a year ago when Jennifer and her boyfriend “Todd” become engaged.  She announces her engagement to her friends and acquaintances via text message and email, and I call and leave her a message to express my congratulations.  Jennifer’s parents sent out invitations about a month later to an engagement party in honor of Jennifer and Todd.  My husband and I promptly RSVP, attend, and present the happy couple with a gift – a costly silver-plated picture frame by a well-known designer.  We had gotten several such items as wedding gifts and enjoyed displaying our professional wedding photos in them.  I thought that Jennifer would enjoy this gift.  However, weeks turn into months, and no thank you note, no phone call, not even an email acknowledging the gift comes across my desk.  Mind you, the gift was not misplaced, as I had handed it directly to Jennifer who had handed it off to her mother (the latter sat next to her and was writing down gifts and their givers, presumably to be used for a later thank-you list).

A few months later, Jennifer’s sister (her Matron of Honor) sends out beautiful invitations to Jennifer’ shower, which was taking place at a country club near Jennifer’s hometown two hours away.  Being in the middle of a pregnancy that had gotten complicated during this time, I had discussed it with my husband, and we both felt that making a long drive to a shower out of town would not be safe.  However, I do proceed to select a present from Jennifer’s registry and have it sent to her sister’s house.  This was another nice gift – a set of four silver-plated napkin rings, as well as four linen dinner napkins, all matching Jennifer’s china pattern.  I never receive a thank-you note for this gift, either.  At this point, I am seriously annoyed, as from my own recent wedding experience, I recall writing my thank-you notes as the gifts were coming in (I kept a stack on my coffee table and would pen a few each night), as well as immediately after my shower and immediately upon our return from the honeymoon.  All of my 250 guests received their thank-you notes within one month of our wedding, and all of my shower guests received their thank-you notes within two weeks of the shower.

In another few months, we receive an invitation to Jennifer’s wedding, also taking place near Jennifer’s hometown.  At this point, I am on modified bedrest, so we RSVP that we would not be able to attend and send a warm, handwritten card congratulating Jennifer and Todd.  Seeing as how we had already given Jennifer two lovely presents (which we were not thanked for), and since we are not actually attending the wedding, we decide that we are not obliged to present her with a gift, other than a card.  The wedding comes and goes, some of my former classmates attend, others don’t, and the pictures that Jennifer posts on a social networking site are truly beautiful.  She looks radiant and lovely, and her new husband is positively glowing.  Everything is fine, other than the lack of thank-you notes, right?  Wrong!

A few weeks after the wedding, we received a nasty email from Jennifer, addressed to several of her classmates who did not attend the wedding.  The email berates us for our selfishness in not attending the wedding and “not being there” for our friend who was “profoundly hurt” by our absences and further denigrates us for not giving her wedding presents.  Then, Jennifer proceeds to shame everyone individually for their shower/wedding gifts.  Apparently, since I had only given them a set of four napkin rings and napkins, as opposed to three sets of four, they are now (oh the horror) without the other three sets, which “upsets Todd, since we have the entire 12-piece china service, and only 4 napking rings”, which makes me “cheap” and “selfish”, more so since I did not bother to give them a wedding present.  Another friend got berated for writing them a check that did not cover the cost of her and her husband’s dinners – “don’t you know that’s bad manners?  You’re supposed to give as much as it costs to pay for yoru food”, etc.  I could not believe my eyes.  I did not bother responding to the email – simply deleted Jennifer’s email address and contact information from my address book and telephone, “unfriended” her on the social networking site and blocked her email address in my email program.  What a gimme pig!   0507-10

{ 39 comments… read them below or add one }

Timothy May 10, 2010 at 10:38 am

Wow…what an entitled woman “Jennifer” is. A gift is supposed be just that…a gift. It’s not required at weddings (though it is appreciated, I’m sure, especially by couples just starting out), and I’ve heard of perfectly nice showers with no gifts at all, other than prizes won at games. And gifts at an engagement party? Is that usual, or was the bride just being even greedier?

While you’ll surely do this anyway, judging by you deleting her contact information from everything possible, I’d suggest that if she manages to contact you through an in-mail invitation or phone call, send back your congratulations. Of course, you wouldn’t send a gift. After all, you’d probably just upset her, and how rude is that? ;-)

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janie May 10, 2010 at 10:43 am

I’d chalk this experience up to bridal immaturity and boorish behavior and cross her permanantly off your Christmas card list. You can do better when it comes to friends.

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Casey May 10, 2010 at 10:53 am

I would say write her back and shame HER for being a jerk but if she didn’t see the problem with the letter in the first place I doubt she’d suddenly realize how rude she was.

I hope you weren’t embarrassed. Other than being embarrassed for her!

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livvy May 10, 2010 at 11:27 am

Wow. I don’t even know what to say – being publically berated for not giving enough? I think I’d have been tempted to ask for my gift back, since it was so patently NOT appreciated. Amazing.

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Gloria Shiner May 10, 2010 at 11:51 am

You could tell her that if she gives you the napkin rings and napkins, you will take care of the problem. After all, if she has none the husband can’t be embarassed that they don’t have enough.

When my oldest niece graduated I gave her a handmade pottery salad serving bowl and three matching individual salad bowl along with a note explaining that the potter had only the three small bowls at the time. The note asked her to let me know if she wanted one more or five more or none so that I could contact the potter and have them made. Glazes on handmade pottery is unique and can be duplicated for only a short period of time. When I didn’t hear from my niece for over a year (no thank-you and no request for more small bowls), I assumed she didn’t want more. Two years later her mother asked if I could go to the store and buy my niece another one of those bowls so she would have a set. I’m still tempted to ask for them back and replace them with a set from Target.

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Erica May 10, 2010 at 12:17 pm

There will always be someone who manages to take “crass and selfish” to a whole new level — naming and shaming is beyond the pale.

Or maybe she’s just regretting marrying a husband who finds an unmatched china set and napkin ring set to be so upsetting. :-)

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AS May 10, 2010 at 12:23 pm

Appalling! I can’t believe such people do exist! And given that you said that it is 2 years since all of you finished your doctorate, I am assuming she is at least in her mid-20s if not more – old enough to understand how rude she was.

You probably did the right thing – cut off all contacts with her! If anything, she just made a monster of herself. Not writing a thank you note can be pardoned as an overlooked blunder, and some lesson on etiquette from her friends like you might help her. But if she did not find anything wrong with the letter, OH! Well … probably nothing can help! Trying to tell her anything might only lead to arguments. I hope she got the cue when you cut all contacts with her. Maybe you can send her an etiquette book (anonymously if you so want). I am curious how your other friends reacted.

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J. May 10, 2010 at 12:40 pm

Wow. I would have done a Reply All and informed her that if she was not pleased with my gift she was more than welcome to return my gifts and list my address.

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phoenix May 10, 2010 at 2:01 pm

It might not be correct, but I would immediately email back, saying that as you never received thank-you’s for the previous two gifts after going to expense for them, you assumed that gifts were not wanted or were not being received.

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Claddagh Lass May 10, 2010 at 2:12 pm

That is certainly a gimme pig. The best thing the OP can do is to cut Jennifer out of her life. Any form of retaliation wouldn’t do any good.

Besides, if Jennifer is so upset about the lack of napkin holders and what not she can go out and buy them herself.

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Xtina May 10, 2010 at 3:01 pm

Well, I always say nothing surprises me….which it doesn’t, but causes my mouth to drop? Oh yeah. Wow, people are really this self-centered that they would actually publicly berate someone’s generosity in giving them ANY gift! Although it would give me great satisfaction to demand she give my gift back if it was so lacking, the best move is simply to detach and not speak to her again.

Oh, but I am NOT above mailing her an etiquette book that contains a note telling her that you thought about it, and she was right….she DID deserve a thoughtful gift for her wedding, and you found just the perfect one…..with the appropriate pages about gifts bookmarked for her convenience! haha

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Joe May 10, 2010 at 3:26 pm

Wow – there are no words. Actually, there ARE words, but this is an etiquette site, after all…

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Raccoon Princess May 10, 2010 at 3:39 pm

Others have already gone through the worst bits of nastiness, but I am still struck by even more: where did this rule come from that you have to give a gift equivalent to the dinner you might eat? If you start your wedded life out by demanding some quid pro quo, I don’t think you’ll ever be happy with anything anyone does.

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PrincessSimmi May 10, 2010 at 6:14 pm

Saddle that gimme pig, I’ll ride it home!

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Timothy May 11, 2010 at 12:33 am

@Raccoon Princess: I’m not exactly sure where it began, but it’s not the first time I’ve seen it pop up on this site. Nor will it be the last, I’m sure. Strangely, it always seems to be the etiquette-challenged people saying that. Huh. Not sure why…

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Me May 11, 2010 at 12:48 am

I think the thing I hate most about weddings is the ‘you’re supposed to give a gift equivalent to the cost of your plate’ assumption. So am I supposed to call you and ask how much you’re forking out per head before I buy your present? What if I find something perfect that costs half as much? Or want to make something? And if you’re having some crazy, extravagent wedding, would should I have to fork out hundreds of dollars just because you can/want to?

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Sandy May 11, 2010 at 12:53 am

What a greedy pig!

I attended a cousin’s wedding this weekend, where they had no register, they asked for no gifts. They wanted the love and support of their family and friends, not ‘stuff’. And they’ll get it, in abundance, and it will see them through the hard times much better than a packet of napkin rings.

That said, I couldn’t resist slipping the mother of the bride a box of truffles, to give them after the honeymoon!

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jenna May 11, 2010 at 1:41 am

Wow. Just wow. I can’t believe some people actually *do* that.

At that point I, too would have thrown etiquette to the wind and replied with “Wow, just…wow. If you don’t realize how rude this letter is, my telling you clearly isn’t going to help. I suggest reading up on real ‘etiquette’ – you’ll find nothing in there about being obligated to attend or to send a gift, or to send gifts of a certain amount. You will, however, find a lot in etiquette books about the necessity of thank you notes. As I never received any, I figured that gifts were not welcome. Best of luck to you.”

Then I would have deleted/unfriended/blocked her.

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PlaidMama May 11, 2010 at 8:43 am

Appalling.

The whole “gift must equate to the cost of your dinner at the reception” rule is stupid. First, who on earth knows what a bride is serving before the wedding? A handful of people at best, and only the truly tactless would ever divulge the cost to a guest. People who subscribe to this point of view are only one rung away from charging admission or presenting a tab to guests at the end of their meal.

My only suggestion would be to send her a link to this post, and THEN block her email!

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Sensible Shopper May 11, 2010 at 9:03 am

Apparently, wedding guests are supposed to be psychic, and know not only how much the dinner/decorations/and other sundry expenses cost, divided by how many guests attend, and do the math, they are also supposed to know what other guests are getting the couple. After all, buying 4 items off a registry would have been fine, if some other guest had completed the set, but because no other guest bought the other 8 napkin rings and napkins, it is ALL YOUR FAULT!!! You lazy pig, you, how dare you not use your omniscient psychic powers to learn that no one else had completed the set, and then step up and complete it yourself, you selfish twit! And by the way, if you had been doing your psychic duty all along, you would have received her thank you “vibes,” which, as you know, are so much more ecologically friendly than killing trees to write a thank-you note, and don’t even use the electricity it would require to send a thank-you email, or a phone call. Yep, psychic is the way to go, and she’s SO MUCH holier than thou for going pure psychic. It’s a 100% renewable resource. Why, this super-green bride only deigned to send an email to berate her friends because they weren’t doing their psychic duty, and were not receiving her psychic how-dare-you-vibes, and the only way to teach them proper green manners was to do the email. She was doing them all a favor. How dare they complain?

Sarcasm off.

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Sensible Shopper May 11, 2010 at 9:04 am

PlaidMomma – I like your suggestion.

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livvy May 11, 2010 at 9:42 am

Just thought of something….although revenge is not polite…you could “reply all” to the message with a link to this posting! :)
As far as being polite, you did the only thing possible – recognizing that she isn’t a friend at all, but a self-important, greedy vulture.

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Andrea May 11, 2010 at 10:54 am

@ Claddagh Lass
Don’t forget, she probably can’t buy more napkin rings because the other guests did not give her gifts of money that were more than the price of their plates.. poor thing is coming out behind.

The focus of my wedding was having as many of my friends and family there as I could and making sure that they, along with myself and my husband, had a good time. The gifts were great and oh, so appreciated, but they were not the reason for the wedding.

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Tracey May 11, 2010 at 1:29 pm

I agree with Xtina….my mouth literally fell open about half way through your story!!! That was awfully ballsy of her to berate you via email en masse when she was committing her own faux pas.

I would most definitely have wanted to use phoenix’s email :
” as you never received thank-you’s for the previous two gifts after going to expense for them, you assumed that gifts were not wanted or were not being received.”

The nerve of some people! Do their mamas get embarrassed for them or encourage this behavior?!

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Louise May 11, 2010 at 2:06 pm

1) Jennifer behaved appallingly. I hope it’s some consolation that by trying to shame you, she only shamed herself. I bet you weren’t the only e-mail recipient aghast at her behaviour.

2) People get upset over napkin rings? Really?

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ladycrim May 11, 2010 at 2:58 pm

Jennifer needn’t worry; if she keeps treating her friends this way, she’ll never have enough people over at one time to require all those napkin rings.

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Enna May 11, 2010 at 5:32 pm

I think ask for the gift back if she doesn’t like it and point out it was said HOW many napkin rings she wanted and how rude she was in not acknowleding your gifts! Then cut her off.

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Fanboy Wife May 12, 2010 at 8:08 pm

Her behavior is completely deplorable. I would regret having wasted my money on her since she obviously didn’t appreciate them.

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Satish May 12, 2010 at 9:53 pm

Unimaginable behavior. I never thought that someone would do such a thing.

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LeeLee88 May 15, 2010 at 5:18 pm

@Satish: Oh my dear, come with me… I have much to show you :-P

@Louise: Of course ‘Jennifer’ and ‘Todd’ were terribly upset; their lives are *ruined* now by their lack of perfectly-matched napkin rings! Have you no heart?! *runs off sobbing* ;-)

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Dani June 11, 2010 at 5:43 pm

This is super-super rude. Just because you register for service for twelve, doesn’t mean that the giver needs to buy twelve items. When I was married we registered for enough wine glasses for twelve, but most people purchased in 2’s or 4’s. If it’s that important to you to have a full set, then go out and buy the remaining items yourself. Be grateful your guests took the time to buy you anything at all.

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Alexis June 13, 2010 at 11:35 am

I believe that out of the china for which we registered, we got two place settings. Hmmm. What to do? Ah yes! BUY THE REST OF THE SET! And to think I could have just thrown a tantrum and lived with two place settings of china for the last 17 years instead. Drat!

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Maryann June 14, 2010 at 7:47 am

This is one of the rudest things I’ve ever heard. I’m having a hard time picking my jaw up off the floor. I don’t know what gets me most, but I think it may be the hypocrisy. Jennifer failed to so much as RSVP for your wedding and yet berates you for daring to politely RSVP that you can’t attend hers due to your difficult pregnancy? Don’t even get me started on berating your expensive gifts instead of thanking you for them.

When rudeness reaches this level, to me, it goes beyond simple etiquette and into morality. She obviously treats other people exceptionally poorly and has no empathy. I realize I’m being judgmental, but my guess is that she’s literally not a good person. I wouldn’t even want to know how she treats, for instance, someone who works for her in a service position.

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Cherry October 9, 2010 at 3:45 pm

What, is this the same person who didn’t show up to your wedding, didn’t RSVP, and as you didn’t mention anything, I assume didn’t get YOU anything?

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Emmy October 29, 2010 at 1:32 pm

I had the same thought Cherry. The OP mentioned Jennifer couldn’t be bothered to even send in the card stating she wasn’t coming to the wedding, so I assume that she did not send the OP a gift or card for her wedding. This makes the story all the worse because in addition to being a gimmie pig, Jennifer would also be a complete hypocrite.

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Simone October 29, 2010 at 10:11 pm

Maybe she’s distressed and not herself because after the wedding she found that she’d saddled herself with a man who gets upset over not having enough napkin rings…

Poor girl. What’s he going to do when Junior gets a bad report card? :)

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Writer2teacher January 11, 2011 at 12:12 pm

Wow! I did not receive all of my place settings, either, but I did return some of my duplicate gifts and use that money to buy the remaining settings. And after two years of marriage, I am still *gasp* one place setting short of my silverware. Think my husband and I will throw a tantrum about it to our gift givers! *snark*

If being short on napkins and napkin rings is the biggest of this couple’s worries, I predict they will be just fine. However, given bride’s spoiled attitude, I predict bigger problems for these two. And OP, you were right to distance yourself from this kind of person.

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Angie January 11, 2011 at 3:01 pm

One year my sister-in-law asked for six dessert bowls in her favorite crystal pattern for her birthday. When we got to the store, we found they were only sold in sets of four, so we bought her eight. She got very angry at us, because she apparently had exactly six of all her other pieces and now it was all out of balance. What happened to gratitude? Those things weren’t cheap either. If it had been my sister I would have grabbed the two extra bowls and just taken them home.

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Angie January 11, 2011 at 4:11 pm

Oh, and to add to my post above (could this be edited in if possible) – the bowls were in boxes of four, not loose stock. So we could only buy four or eight.

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