Is there such a thing as a Thank You note from hell?
This year two young guys we know graduated high school (both are 17 years old). One was a family friend, the other was a close relative. We gave them both a card with the same amount of cash in it as a gift. A couple weeks later we received a nice, handwritten thank you from the family friend, who told us a bit about what was in his future and how he was doing otherwise and of course, thanking us for the gift. A couple days later we received the thank you note from the relative.
First off, the address on the envelope was handwritten by his mother. (I know his mother well, so I knew it was her writing.) The thank you note was custom made and on the inside was printed a general thank you (thank you for your kindness, blah blah blah). Printed. In it, the boy wrote, “Love, Jack.” Obviously his mother made up all the notes and addressed all of them herself, and just had her son write “Love, Jack” inside all of them. I was very put off by that thank you, especially since he is a CLOSE relative, you would have figured he’d write a little more.
Later I’m with his mother and she is belly-aching about ALL of the thank you notes that they had to send out. And how it was SUCH a burden because there were SO MANY. They had to split it up and do 10 cards a day. The kid received probably close to $2,000 and she is complaining about having to send out thank yous?!?! Maybe the mom deserves Etiquette Hell more than the kid? 0627-14
People who gripe about the work needed to write and send thank you notes are greedy, lazy gimme pigs who want something for nothing. They write those notes because they fear the negative feedback if they didn’t but they grumble and whine about it while doing as little as possible to get the job done. I once told a young woman who similarly griped about having to write thank you notes, “Had I known how deeply offended you would be with the burden of gratitude upon receiving so many nice gifts, I would have not added to your distress .”
And then there are the happy thank you note stories…
I recently had a great experience and wanted to share it with you. This season my mother’s family saw two high school graduations and three college graduations within eight weeks. We are so proud of all our graduates! But too much celebrating can wear anybody out, so Mom and one of the aunts hosted a combined party for all five. We have a big family, so the party was really hopping, and all five graduates found themselves with more congratulatory cards then they could fit in their respective pockets and purses. As for me, I only left the nest a few short years ago, so I know how nervous my cousins must be! I was able to pull together $20 for each graduating cousin, a small token compared to what I knew they’d be gifted with by some more established family members. Each one gave me a quick hug and “thanks” upon receiving their card, and made sure to socialize with every table at the party. It was a great way to spend a Saturday night. Imagine my delight when, the following Wednesday back in my city, I find a thank you card in the mail! A thoughtful, handwritten note thanking me for making the trip, for the “completely unnecessary” gift and the kind words I had written to this particular cousin. By the end of the week, I had another thoughtful, handwritten thank-you from another graduating cousin! Maybe it’s tacky of me to be impressed by my own relatives, but I’m so happy to see such good etiquette right at the beginning of adulthood. 0529-14