Gratitude Is So Passe

by admin on May 8, 2009

Let me start by saying, this is amateur hour compared to some of the atrocities I’ve seen on this site. None the less, it miffed me.

We had a baby shower for a coworker this week. These are not her first children (she is having twins) but she didn’t work here when her first was born, and she is having twins, so a shower seemed reasonable.

She mostly needed diapers and extra bottles, so we all chipped in and made some bulk purchases of those kinds of necessities. We ordered sandwiches, and then most people made a side dish or dessert.

One woman made tomato salad, from tomatoes she’d grown. Another woman, who was traveling on business that day and could not attend, baked cookies and dropped them off at the office pre-dawn, and then caught her flight. I had had a particularly exhausting week, but had agreed to make cupcakes, so I dragged myself home from work and did so the night before the shower. Several others who contributed no doubt had their own lives to deal with as well.

The shower was on Friday. The following Monday, we received a mass email thank you.

The worst part of this, to me is the following. I griped to a friend (not a co-worker, who knows no one involved but me) about how rude I found the email. She saw nothing amiss! Her response was essentially that no one sends thank yous anymore, so what’s the big deal?  09-09-08


{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Stephanie May 8, 2009 at 2:15 pm

I’m also not sure what the issue is. While I’m normally a stickler for thank-you notes, I think a mass e-mail thank you is appropriate for a work event. While it sounds like you and your colleagues went above and beyond the usual for such an event, you weren’t obliged to make anything. Was her note short and abrupt (as in “Hey, thanks everyone.”) or was she genuinely touched and grateful?


Hijinks May 11, 2009 at 3:44 pm

I agree with the previous commeter.

I am also a stickler for thank-you notes, and whenever there is a shower around here, the guest of honor sends a mass email to thank everyone. Likewise for when someone receives flowers for a birth or death, from the company, that everyone contributed to.

I wouldn’t expect a mother-to-be to write out thank-you cards for everyone who participated in a work shower. Did someone write down who did what for her? How was she to know who did what? It seems overly uptight to expect such a thing.


Beth May 12, 2009 at 8:33 am

I agree with the other posters. I don’t see that anything was wrong here. This is standard in my workplace for shower, birthdays, etc…the guest of honor always emails the whole office with his/her thanks for the thoughtfulness, etc.
I think is it expecting too much for individual thank you notes for a work event.


PurpleyBlue May 12, 2009 at 4:17 pm

I don’t see why a work shower would be any different than any other kind of shower. Each of these people took time out of their lives making food for the shower, and taking money out of their pockets to buy her a gift. Sending a mass email, to me, is no different than someone typing up a generic thank you note, copying it and sending it to your friends and family who came to your shower.

The least she could have done was send out personal emails thanking each person for their individual contribution and gift.


Helen June 25, 2009 at 5:39 pm

I must be old-fashioned, but I just had a shower yesterday given to me by my co-workers and I plan on giving individual hand written thank you notes…


Alexis July 6, 2009 at 1:55 pm

Bless you Helen! I agree. If individual thank you notes are ‘too much trouble’ then let the ingrate buy her own baby supplies. Organizing and paying for a party food and gifts for someone who can’t be bothered to thank people for their efforts individually in writing, is WAY too much trouble.


Jennifer September 15, 2009 at 4:15 pm

I think part of thep roblem here is that there wer “bulk purchases” of items. There weren’t individual people associated with specific gifts for her to thank. If this is, in fact, the case, I can see he mass email being the practical (and possibly least offensive!) way for her to thank everyone.
Also, showers held in offices, on work time, have a slightly more obligatory feel to them, like a glorified staff meeting. Thus, perhpas dampening any etiquette rules the woman thought she might should follow.
Just a thought.


Christine March 11, 2010 at 2:44 pm

Good heavens – how is this person supposed to know who did or gave what? Or should everyone get a standard ‘thank you for the wonderful gift’ note? What about those that brought food – “thank you for the wonderful food and gift?” Isn’t that just a tad too generic for a specific thank you note? And which type should go to which participants?

I work at a large company and the usual ‘sign a group card and chip in a few dollars for a gift’ is standard for acknowledging co-worker’s events (wedding, new baby, get well, etc). We all get together, have a bit of cake (picked up by one of folks in the department) and give the card and gift to the recipient. It’s nice when they send out an email to thank us all but sending hand written notes to all of us? There are 78 of us – how on earth would he/she know which of us donated or didn’t? If I had given a specific gift from me to him, I would expect a thank you note but not for a gift from a large group.


Yellow.Zinnias May 12, 2011 at 12:11 am

It’s hilarious (and very sad) to see the kinds of excuses that people come up with for not writing thank you notes.

If you aren’t sure who went in on what gift, you simply say something like: Dear X, thank you so much for attending the shower held on ____. It meant so much to me that you all wanted to show your support. All of the gifts were so thoughtful! They go perfectly in the nursery and I cannot wait to use them once the babies arrive. In Gratitude, X”

OP, you are not wrong. There are so many crass human beings now-a-days, they seem to outnumber those of us with sense and good manners. Stand strong!


Yellow.Zinnias May 12, 2011 at 12:13 am


Unless I am mistaken, people actually were present. They didn’t just dump a gift on her from a whole department. And I find it’s always much better to include those who did not give rather than exclude those who did by thanking no one at all. It’s a shame that such an attitude of ingratitude (and entitlement) is spreading.


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