Author Topic: Generic Graduation Thank you.  (Read 3880 times)

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Van down by the river

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Generic Graduation Thank you.
« on: July 20, 2013, 12:11:50 AM »
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

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Re: Generic Graduation Thank you.
« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2013, 12:23:25 AM »
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

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Re: Generic Graduation Thank you.
« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2013, 12:25:06 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.

*inviteseller

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Re: Generic Graduation Thank you.
« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2013, 12:34:46 AM »
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

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Re: Generic Graduation Thank you.
« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2013, 01:10:58 AM »
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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Oh Joy

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Re: Generic Graduation Thank you.
« Reply #5 on: July 20, 2013, 04:36:46 AM »
I would be frustrated, too.

That said, this time of year I seem to be having social conversations with parents of graduates who haven't sent their thank yous yet, some of whom are considering doing it themselves...would rather people get thanked than wait for the kid to possibly never do it.

Because I tend to take the most positive possible interpretation, I'd tell myself this is the result of lots of browbeating by the parent, and they decided not to do battle over some of the finer points.  Only because it would make me feel better.   :)

Van down by the river

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Re: Generic Graduation Thank you.
« Reply #6 on: July 20, 2013, 05:37:49 AM »
The experience I have with graduation announcers is the embossed type card printed w the graduated full name, high school, and even the date and time were written without numbers. I don't really have an issue with the announcement so much as the thank you note. Nothing was written. It was all printed out on the photo. The announcement was kind of like this:
http://photo.walgreens.com/walgreens/fe/p/store/facettedbrowser/FacetBrowser/app=pd/merch_oid=16354/bk=Cards/cardTypeLabel=Photo%2520Cards/designerId=5836816007/frontDesignUuid=6ff38f318112419386c1c463f20915b7/designGp=f80c755fbe6f46fd8974df9ac240fcf2/layoutUUID=5e47f2c11c2e44d0972b57c9b4e8a1fc/facetFilters=product_type%253Apt_card-facet_holiday%253Ah_christmas%253AChristmas%253AChristmas/urlEP=C/v=/. I know it's a holiday card. The website was being glitchy.

The TY was a square postcard with his same pic and the pre printed message. Included referring to himself as "the graduate"  It was all generic had a horribly impersonal feel to it. In my head I read it in a robot voice. Most HS graduates get money as a gift. That's all they want and generally, with a few exceptions, that is what they receive. So I'm willing to bet they went and had a huge stack of these cards made and sent them back to everyone. I turned it over looking for anything. A "thanks again!" With his name would have been nice. A typed out personal note would be fine. I guess what bugs me most is the "mass production" of the whole thing. I don't even know him. Never met him or his parents. It kind of feels now like a cash grab. I had no issue until the TY "note". I get warmer cards at Christmas from my lawyer. And the time frame? Considering the type of TY I got, there is no excuse on the earth to take two months to send it. Heck, he could have had them stamped and ready to go and just cycled them out as they came in. For all I know, his mom did it for him. Or someone else. There's no way to know. I don't think my expectations are high. This "your lucky you got anything back" way of looking at things I keep seeing is not acceptable. I would have preferred a voicemail or an email to this. I'm not going to lose any sleep over it, it's not the end of the world but it is a valid irritation.

I understand things are different. I'm 20 years out of HS. I don't think that in any way excuses people from having basic social interactions.

Hmmmmm

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Re: Generic Graduation Thank you.
« Reply #7 on: July 20, 2013, 07:15:00 AM »
My DD used the formal announcement/invitation for her graduation but I think most of her classmates did personalized photo announcements. It seems to be the new trend, so I wouldn't feel slighted by that.

But I do find a pre-printed thank you note to be in poor taste.  Two months is a little late in my opinion too, but I wouldn't be upset about that either. DD stayed on top of hers, but it was difficult because she had such a busy schedule for the first 6 weeks after graduation.

CookieChica

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Re: Generic Graduation Thank you.
« Reply #8 on: July 20, 2013, 07:51:25 AM »
I've always received the embossed announcements as invitations, not thank yous. How did the invite come?

Thipu1

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Re: Generic Graduation Thank you.
« Reply #9 on: July 20, 2013, 10:30:24 AM »
I DO see problems with this TY note.  The problems aren't with the form, they're with the wording. 

Unless the kid is actually named 'Graduate' this is very odd.  Also, the preprinted reference to money is crass.  Is it possible that this young man received any gifts that weren't money? 

There should have been something hand written on the card if only a signature. 

We use computer generated mailing labels because neither of us have great hand writing but there's always a real note inside cards we send out.

BTW, back in the winter we sent a check for a Bar Mitzvah.  The TY was hand written but it was obviously a template of the 'fill in the blank' type. 

It read, 'Dear Aunt and Uncle,  Thanks for the money.  I love it!'.

Oh, well.


Shoo

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Re: Generic Graduation Thank you.
« Reply #10 on: July 20, 2013, 10:39:33 AM »
The problem with this "thank you" card is that you have absolutely no way of knowing who sent it to you.  I'd bet a million dollars the graduate didn't even send it.  His/her mother probably did it.

A hand written (I still expect graduates to be able to actually WRITE) note expressing sincere thanks for the gift is what I expect, and so I can certainly understand your frustration.  You took the time to send something, included a personalized message, and all you got in return was basically a form letter.


The Wild One, Forever

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Re: Generic Graduation Thank you.
« Reply #11 on: July 20, 2013, 10:44:27 AM »
He should have written something personal on the card, and that would have made it fine.

I got all my graduation TY notes out the week following commencement and my party.  (No prompting from the parents; there are certain things in life I learned to do on my own, and TY notes are one of them.)  However, I don't think two months is a super long time between receiving a gift and thanking the sender.  It wouldn't other me. 

I dislike those generic printed TY notes, also.  It sounds like you put a lot of thought and effort into his gift, and it would have been nice for that to have een acknowledged.
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Re: Generic Graduation Thank you.
« Reply #12 on: July 20, 2013, 11:11:55 AM »
I think this is the flip side of people complaining about getting gifts that are not up to their standards.

While using preprinted templates doesn't give the receiver the warm fuzzier, it does, I think, meet the basic requirement of saying "thank you". And stressing over the fact that they didn't handwrite the address seems a little anachronistic, when many schools have dispensed with teaching cursive "because everything is done on computers these days".

A thank you was sent, eventually. Expecting young men to write a short essay to everyone about how they cherish the gift, and/or will spend the money, is just going to stress you out, because its most likely not going to happen at their age.
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Re: Generic Graduation Thank you.
« Reply #13 on: July 20, 2013, 11:32:13 AM »
General comment: I think my son must be an exception, because at age 22 he still sends out handwritten TY notes as soon as he gets a gift. I taught him that, but it was his decision to keep doing it.

Anyway, the generic TY note. Considering that a lot of people don't say TY in any form (in person, on Facebook, in writing), I'd be somewhat grateful to get any acknowledgement. That doesn't mean that a bit of effort wouldn't be appreciated. Several years ago we gave a card/money to a neighbor kid for HS graduation. We got back an 8.5x11 sheet of paper with fill-in blanks. All he had to do was fill in what the gift was and sign. This was a kid who was in advanced courses, and quite intelligent. I know, that doesn't mean anything. It was just a bit surprising. To be honest, though, I'd have been more satisfied with a verbal TY.

Is it a hill to die on? No, but the lack of any TY, in any form, is disappointing.

jayhawk

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Re: Generic Graduation Thank you.
« Reply #14 on: July 20, 2013, 11:39:20 AM »
I totally understand.

Our family went out of town to the wedding of the daughter of friends the first weekend in January. We brought a nice gift (not cash - either cash or other gifts are considered appropriate in this part of the US).
We got the TY this week. "Thank you for coming to our wedding! Thanks also for the generous gift. Love, Bride and Groom".

It was obvious that great care was taken with every aspect of this wedding. The STD cards, invitations and TY postcards all had the same theme, for example. I understand that the B & G are still in college and were busy at school. Still not an excuse in my book. Plus the fact that it was pretty obvious that they don't even remember what we gave them left a somewhat bad taste in my mouth.