Many years ago, two friends of mine were married in another state. I received a wedding invitation, but couldn’t attend. However, I wanted to send them a gift. Money was very tight, so when I went to the store where they were registered, I chose one of the less expensive items on the registry: a set of matching oven mitts and dish towels. I brought them home to wrap them for mailing and chose a box from the recycling that was the right size; it happened to be a trash bag box.
Three weeks after mailing it off to them, I received a thank-you note from the bride. It began, “Thank you so much for the trash bags. What a practical gift! It is so thoughtful of you. We are moving to a new house and really have a lot of trash to throw away, so they will come in handy…” That’s right, they hadn’t opened the box! I was horrified.
What kind of message must they have thought I was trying to send?!! I asked my husband if he thought I should call them and he said, “No — they’ll figure it out when they need the trash bags and open the box.”
Sure enough, about a month later I got an e-mail from the bride saying, “I have never laughed so hard as when I opened that box!!!” So all was well.
I couldn’t resist sending this story. Talk about perfect etiquette — the poor bride, who was faced with a friend apparently sending trash bags as a wedding present, responded promptly with a gracious thank-you note! 1117-09