General Etiquette > Life...in general

Generic Graduation Thank you.

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Van down by the river:
I'm more than a little irritated. I received a commencement announcement for a distant cousin a few months ago. I sent a monetary gift in a card that I made a special trip for and personalized the card including a nice quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson. I sent it off w a monetary gift and got it out the same week I received it. I patted myself on the back a tiny bit for actually getting a card out on time, admittedly something I have struggled with my whole life.

The check was cashed within the next week. I got the thank you card today. The commencement announcement was sent in the form one of those rectangular picture cards that you get from family members as Christmas cards a lot of times. The thank you was pre printed using the same photo that was used in the announcement. Here's what is printed on the photo:
The Graduate says thanks!
Thank you so much for the gift of money! It will be used when I attend *university name* in the fall!

I'm annoyed by this for several reasons.
The fact the check was cashed more than 2 months before I received the thank you. (My mother made me sit and write all my Ty notes before I could touch the money. Even to deposit it.)
The length it took to get the TY
The impersonal TY note all the way down to the fact it literally says "The Graduate" instead of his name
The use of the word "money" instead of "gift"
Even the outside of the envelope is adressed w a printed sticker. Nothing on it was hand written.
The fact it's the same photo that was used before. If you are going to be so generic, you'd think I at least deserve a pic of him in his cap and gown.
Are the pretty printed commencement announcements not used anymore? Thinking on it, I wonder if I was a "B" lister or something.
He is a small town boy. That side of our family is generally pretty spot on w proper etiquette as far as announcements and TY notes go.

I assume I just have to suck it up? I feel like saying anything might be considered rude, however if this is how cousin is going to be, should I ever get a wedding invite down the line or a birth announcement, I'm going to be hard pressed to send anything.

Surianne:
Perhaps I'm not that familliar with graduation etiquette in your part of the world, but I see a lot of assumptions here that confuse me.  What "pretty printed commencement announcements" do you mean?  A photo sounds like a pretty printed announcement to me?  How are the ones you expect different?

I do think that it would have been better for him to handwrite a quick note on the card, but is his handwriting that good?  I have a few guy friends who are very self-conscious about theirs.  Getting it computer printed might be something that makes him more comfortable.

He did personalize it by referring to your gift (money) and how he would use it (letting you know the university he's going to attend).  But yet you're also angry that he mentioned the specific gift?  So it sounds like you want something more generic (gift rather than money) but also...more specific?

What are the exact deadlines you'd expect him to send a thank you card after cashing the cheque?  How would he have known these?

Even reading your post I'm confused.  I can't imagine how the cousin could have possibly known your expectations for feeling properly thanked.  He sent you a thank you card and a photo...even if it wasn't perfect, he's showing appreciation for the gift.

I think in the future, if you have very specific and unpredictable expectations for thank yous, it's probably better to avoid sending gifts.  Gifts are probably better sent because you like the graduate than because of what you hoped to get in return.

Aeris:

--- Quote from: Van down by the river on July 20, 2013, 12:11:50 AM ---I'm annoyed by this for several reasons.
The fact the check was cashed more than 2 months before I received the thank you. (My mother made me sit and write all my Ty notes before I could touch the money. Even to deposit it.)
This is unreasonable. I have always been told it is absolutely correct etiquette to cash checks immediately so that people may keep their accounts in order. Waiting to cash checks for any length of time increases the likelihood that one will screw up their account on the cashing of it.
The length it took to get the TY
I don't know what is considered entirely a proper time frame, but honestly, 2 months doesn't seem excessive to me. It may be pushing it, but it does not seem patently unreasonable. I wouldn't expect a graduate to send out thank you notes until after all exams, the graduation, and moving out of dorms had occurred in any case.
The impersonal TY note all the way down to the fact it literally says "The Graduate" instead of his name
Was the entire note pre-printed? Or just the first line? If it was entirely pre-printed, then I will agree with you on this one.
The use of the word "money" instead of "gift"
There's no etiquette rule against referring to the specific gift that you were given. In fact, many people would consider it more polite to refer specifically to the type of gift received rather than saying, generically, 'gift'. This is not a reasonable objection.
Even the outside of the envelope is adressed w a printed sticker. Nothing on it was hand written.
While your irritation with the pre-printed *message* is understandable, I do not think that it's imperative to hand write the addresses for envelopes. Some people are really bothered by this, but I think unless it is an invitation for a black tie event, labels are perfectly acceptable (and efficient). The reality is that some people's handwriting is terrible, and a label makes it far more likely to actually get through the post.
The fact it's the same photo that was used before. If you are going to be so generic, you'd think I at least deserve a pic of him in his cap and gown.
There is no etiquette rule that says that one has to use a different photo in a thank you note. Perhaps he did not purchase any of the expensive photo packages of cap and gown pics. You do not 'deserve' a picture of him in any particular attire.
Are the pretty printed commencement announcements not used anymore? Thinking on it, I wonder if I was a "B" lister or something.
He is a small town boy. That side of our family is generally pretty spot on w proper etiquette as far as announcements and TY notes go.
Was his commencement announcement not pretty enough?
I assume I just have to suck it up? I feel like saying anything might be considered rude, however if this is how cousin is going to be, should I ever get a wedding invite down the line or a birth announcement, I'm going to be hard pressed to send anything.

--- End quote ---

*inviteseller:
Schools usually have you order your announcements through them.  They are printed like an invitation and are fairly formal.  Where I used to work though, we did personalized invitations, and we were seeing more and more parents coming in for us to do them as either the schools quit doing it, or they were charging an outrageous sum. 

I agree with you OP on the numerous faux pas .  When I send a check to a graduate, I think 2 weeks is long enough to wait for a thank you before it seems rude (my niece's on ex hubby's side had them to me 4 days after their parties, his cousins sons, one never sent one and the other took 3 months  grrrr) and if someone can't take the time to try and personalize the note a little bit, it doesn't feel like a thank you.  Sure for big occasions there are probably a lot to do, so you do some every day.  I have gotten thank yous with the pictures too..I wouldn't care about the actual picture, but the fact his name wasn't even on it???  I would put the blame on the parents though..they had to order the announcements& thank yous so it was their idea to make it easy on their son with the generic wording, but they aren't teaching him anything.  Hope by the time he finishes college he learns how to write a decent thank you for job interviews!

Lynn2000:
I feel like TY notes should be more prompt than 2 months for a graduation and I think they should be personalized--not necessarily handwritten because sometimes people have trouble doing that, but a computer-printed note that said, "Dear Aunt Van down by the river, Thanks so much for your gift! I will use it to buy books for my classes this fall at State University. Love, Bobby," would be great in my opinion. Bobby could even use that for every person who sent him a check and just swap out the names on the computer if he wanted, frankly. So I can get behind those complaints, at least.

On the other hand I honestly feel like expecting decent TY notes is a lost cause these days. I sent my cousin a check for graduation back in May and haven't heard anything, nor do I expect to, actually. Even an email, or a message on Facebook (where were are friends) would be appreciated. But, I've gotten very few TY notes from them over the years, and once his mother told me that she "doesn't make her kids send TY notes," like it was a philosophical choice.

I dunno. I hate to be a downer about it. I try to send what I think are good TY notes, and I know some people for whom my notes aren't good enough, so I wouldn't be surprised if people who consider them a marginal activity anyway just completely give up when faced with super-high standards.  :-\

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