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Author Topic: Asking about "lost" gifts  (Read 14311 times)

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gellchom

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Re: Asking about "lost" gifts
« Reply #15 on: February 17, 2015, 11:34:55 PM »
"If anyone sent us a gift and hasn't received a thank you note from us, please get in touch - we have reason to suspect/b] some gifts may have gone astray."

I like this. On the off chance something actually was stolen or misplaced, it lets the sender know in case they need to do something about it (stop a cheque, for instance).

But what do you say when someone asks you, "oh, no, that's terrible -- what happened?"  Do you make up a story, or just admit that your reason for thinking gifts went astray is that you haven't gotten anything from some people yet? 

I'm sure our friends and family all intend to give gifts when they attend a wedding.  But people do sometimes forget, or take their time, or order something that was out of stock.  Katycoo, I believe you that you'd mention it at the wedding, but not everyone would.  It wouldn't even occur to me to do so.

Unless there really is a real reason to believe gifts went amiss, you just have to let it go; anything else will seem pushy (or like pushiness thinly disguised as "concern").  You just have to take the risk of the possibility -- and you know it is a very unlikely possibility -- that something got lost.

PastryGoddess

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Re: Asking about "lost" gifts
« Reply #16 on: February 18, 2015, 02:22:55 AM »
Whether someone gets you a gift or not, you have to send thank you cards for attending your wedding.  So for those people who got you gifts/cards you can reference it in the thank you.  If someone did not give a gift/card, you can use more generic wording. 

menley

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Re: Asking about "lost" gifts
« Reply #17 on: February 18, 2015, 05:43:25 AM »
"If anyone sent us a gift and hasn't received a thank you note from us, please get in touch - we have reason to suspect some gifts may have gone astray."

I like this. On the off chance something actually was stolen or misplaced, it lets the sender know in case they need to do something about it (stop a cheque, for instance).

But what do you say when someone asks you, "oh, no, that's terrible -- what happened?"  Do you make up a story, or just admit that your reason for thinking gifts went astray is that you haven't gotten anything from some people yet? 

I'm sure our friends and family all intend to give gifts when they attend a wedding.  But people do sometimes forget, or take their time, or order something that was out of stock.  Katycoo, I believe you that you'd mention it at the wedding, but not everyone would.  It wouldn't even occur to me to do so.

Unless there really is a real reason to believe gifts went amiss, you just have to let it go; anything else will seem pushy (or like pushiness thinly disguised as "concern").  You just have to take the risk of the possibility -- and you know it is a very unlikely possibility -- that something got lost.

Regarding the bolded, I agree - I wouldn't say that. You'll have a flood of people asking what happened. It's not uncommon for weddings to be burglarized, and you'll have some guests assuming that everything was stolen even if they got a note, etc.

There were several people who didn't give gifts at our wedding, and only one of them eventually gave one afterwards. None were stolen or misplaced or lost, there were just about 4-5 couples that didn't give anything, and that's the way it is. A gift is not required (even if it's generally expected).

Wintergreen

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Re: Asking about "lost" gifts
« Reply #18 on: February 18, 2015, 06:34:16 AM »
Unless obviously something did happen that made them suspicious. But, then it is easy to answer with the reason ("there was somebody suspicious around" or "I clearly remember having seen a big blue box, however, in the morning it was nowhere to be seen").

But yeah, I would not say anything, unless there really was something else than "we did not get a gift from Mr and Mrs B".

However, around here it would be perfectly fine to send everybody attending the wedding  thank you even if they did not give a gift, just a general one. Actually, that is basically always done, TY:s sent to everybody. Couples often include few pictures or little official wedding picture in the thank you letter, so they go out to everybody who was there. And obviously then to those too who gave gift even if they did not attend the wedding. 

LtPowers

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Re: Asking about "lost" gifts
« Reply #19 on: February 18, 2015, 08:52:38 AM »
Whether someone gets you a gift or not, you have to send thank you cards for attending your wedding.  So for those people who got you gifts/cards you can reference it in the thank you.  If someone did not give a gift/card, you can use more generic wording.

Where in the world did you get this idea? No, you do not send "thank you" notes to thank someone for enjoying your hospitality. You can and should, while at the event, thank people for coming -- that's what receiving lines are for. But sending a note after the fact? No. In the case of a wedding, it just looks like fishing for gifts.

Miss Manners on the topic:
Quote
In the midst of a thank you letter famine, Miss Manners is loathe to label any such attempt as excessive. But yes, your fiancÚ is right.

Hosts do not write to thank guests for their attendance, even though they may respond to their parting thanks with thanks. It is guests who must write letters of thanks to those who entertain them, although this is not necessary for ceremonial occasions.

Of late, Miss Manners has had a number of inquiries from brides who have suggested doing this as a way of prompting guests whom they deem remiss to send presents. While not accusing you of any such motives, she warns you that the suspicion will arise.


Powers  &8^]

HannahGrace

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Re: Asking about "lost" gifts
« Reply #20 on: February 18, 2015, 08:56:01 AM »
The only thing I think would be appropriate would maybe a general post on social media about it without mentioning any names and combined with a general thank you for people having sent their gifts.

I would do a general post but say "All of the wedding thank-yous are sent but there was one gift without a name attached. If you don't receive a thanks, please contact me!" If someone sent/left a gift and it was lost, she'll hear from them. If she doesn't hear, they didn't.

I'm confused - was there a gift with no name attached?  I didn't get that from the OP but maybe there was another thread.

JenJay

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Re: Asking about "lost" gifts
« Reply #21 on: February 18, 2015, 09:11:57 AM »
The only thing I think would be appropriate would maybe a general post on social media about it without mentioning any names and combined with a general thank you for people having sent their gifts.

I would do a general post but say "All of the wedding thank-yous are sent but there was one gift without a name attached. If you don't receive a thanks, please contact me!" If someone sent/left a gift and it was lost, she'll hear from them. If she doesn't hear, they didn't.

I'm confused - was there a gift with no name attached?  I didn't get that from the OP but maybe there was another thread.

No. It's a tiny white lie that opens the door for communication in case something was lost.  ;)

peaches

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Re: Asking about "lost" gifts
« Reply #22 on: February 18, 2015, 09:12:43 AM »
Whether someone gets you a gift or not, you have to send thank you cards for attending your wedding.  So for those people who got you gifts/cards you can reference it in the thank you.  If someone did not give a gift/card, you can use more generic wording.

I've never heard of this custom (thank you notes for attending a wedding). I've never gotten one.

We do get thank you notes for wedding gifts, which often come before the wedding takes place because I like to send the wedding gift early.

Typically, the happy couple circulates at the reception, thanking people for coming.

Writing a note specifically to thank a couple for attending -  when they didn't give a gift - would be risky. There's a chance this could be seen as the couple having noticed the absence of a gift.

We could think of ways of shaming guests into sending that tardy gift. But it isn't worth the bad feelings it would engender. And it isn't being in the right frame of mind. Attending the wedding is the most important gift, in my view.
« Last Edit: February 18, 2015, 09:47:36 AM by peaches »

HannahGrace

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Re: Asking about "lost" gifts
« Reply #23 on: February 18, 2015, 09:21:20 AM »
The only thing I think would be appropriate would maybe a general post on social media about it without mentioning any names and combined with a general thank you for people having sent their gifts.

I would do a general post but say "All of the wedding thank-yous are sent but there was one gift without a name attached. If you don't receive a thanks, please contact me!" If someone sent/left a gift and it was lost, she'll hear from them. If she doesn't hear, they didn't.

I'm confused - was there a gift with no name attached?  I didn't get that from the OP but maybe there was another thread.

No. It's a tiny white lie that opens the door for communication in case something was lost.  ;)

Aha OK :)  Among my friends, people would get really worried so this kind of a white lie would create more issues.  To the OP, we had a few people who attended our recent wedding that didn't give us a gift or a card, and in at least some cases I was kind of surprised.  I didn't realize it until I was doing thank you notes and double checked to make sure I hadn't skipped anyone.  Anyway, my response was to shrug and move on - for me, nothing good would come of giving it any more thought.

JenJay

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Re: Asking about "lost" gifts
« Reply #24 on: February 18, 2015, 09:40:54 AM »
The only thing I think would be appropriate would maybe a general post on social media about it without mentioning any names and combined with a general thank you for people having sent their gifts.

I would do a general post but say "All of the wedding thank-yous are sent but there was one gift without a name attached. If you don't receive a thanks, please contact me!" If someone sent/left a gift and it was lost, she'll hear from them. If she doesn't hear, they didn't.

I'm confused - was there a gift with no name attached?  I didn't get that from the OP but maybe there was another thread.

No. It's a tiny white lie that opens the door for communication in case something was lost.  ;)

Aha OK :)  Among my friends, people would get really worried so this kind of a white lie would create more issues.  To the OP, we had a few people who attended our recent wedding that didn't give us a gift or a card, and in at least some cases I was kind of surprised.  I didn't realize it until I was doing thank you notes and double checked to make sure I hadn't skipped anyone.  Anyway, my response was to shrug and move on - for me, nothing good would come of giving it any more thought.

True. I suppose if you posted the above at the same time you sent the notes you'd still get a lot of "What was it?" as people worried maybe it was theirs. It would be better to send the thank-yous, wait a week or two to make sure everybody got theirs, and then post about a gift missing a name. That way anyone who definitely sent a gift would have received their note and would know it wasn't their gift that had no name.

Personally, I wouldn't be worried about anyone who didn't send a gift, and it sounds like the bride wasn't worried about it in general. It is tricky, though, when you've been led to believe someone is definitely sending a gift and then it doesn't appear. On the one hand you feel greedy asking about it, but at the same time if I sent a gift and it never showed up I'd want to know so I could make a few calls and get a new one sent asap.
« Last Edit: February 18, 2015, 09:44:48 AM by JenJay »

gellchom

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Re: Asking about "lost" gifts
« Reply #25 on: February 18, 2015, 10:00:12 AM »
I'm also very surprised to hear that there are any communities in which it is considered standard practice to send thank you notes to people who didn't give gifts just for attending.  Pastrygoddess and Wintergreen, where are you located?  I don't mean also thanking them for their attendance in a note thanking them for a gift, I mean a note that just says "thank you for coming," sent to people who haven't sent gifts.

If there are such communities, they are definitely the outliers.  The etiquette rule, as explained by Miss Manners as quoted by LtPowers, is exactly the opposite.  Guests thank hosts for giving hospitality; hosts may say "thank you for coming," but they don't write thank you notes for it.

And because that is the convention, to write to people who didn't give you a gift just to thank them for coming is absolutely going to come across as a prompt for a gift (or chastisement for not giving one).  Including a photo might help a little, but not much (people aren't dying for them as much as HCs often assume), and definitely not enough to cancel out the "gimme" message.  I'm not saying that people are trying to say "gimme"!  Just that no matter how innocent their intentions, that's what it's going to look like.

Unless you are absolutely positive that it is a near-universal practice in your community -- not just that you've seen it or heard of it, but that everyone always does it -- don't do it. 

This is the corollary to gift-givers who didn't receive thank you notes wondering if they should call the recipients "just to make sure it got there."  Just as here, if there is something concrete other than just not being thanked that makes you suspect your gift didn't get delivered, then follow up.  But if it's only that you haven't been thanked, that's really not the likely explanation, so just let it go, or follow up with the store or post office -- don't ask the recipients (or their parents!), because no matter what you say your reason is, it will come across as "You never thanked us, you ill-mannered ingrate," or at best will make them feel guilty and defensive.

Likewise, if there is a specific reason to think that a specific gift got lost, then yes, follow up.  But "I was sure they were going to get us a gift, and why would they wait until after the wedding" does not qualify.  For whatever reason, whether it's surprising or not, the very strong likelihood is that they just didn't give a gift, at least not yet.  You just have to leave it at that.

HannahGrace put it well: "nothing good would come of giving it any more thought."

Lynn2000

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Re: Asking about "lost" gifts
« Reply #26 on: February 18, 2015, 12:35:35 PM »
I do think the idea of using social media, with JenJay or greencat's wording, is pretty clever. As JenJay also said, I would wait until after the TYs went out, so people would know it wasn't their gift you were talking about. I don't think it would be difficult to come up with a brief, non-elaborate reason for suspicion--one could respond, "Well, I don't want to say any more as I didn't see it myself, but I just wanted to check with people."

I would do all the TYs and give it a couple more months, though. People might yet send something. If you wait a few months and a few people sent something later, and then you're down to just a couple people who didn't send gifts, I would let that go. But if we're talking a "large" number of people, that might be worth investigating just for the likelihood of all those people not getting you a gift--especially if you know they're the type to give a check/cash, which is much more easily misplaced.

In other words, I would wait a while and see who's still on your list, and then if the number/composition is suspicious, you have legitimate grounds for asking a general question.

IME, everyone who attends a wedding does generally give a gift. Except... when they don't. I have never been that person so I don't know what kind of reasoning they have. Of course a gift is not required but I would say it's 99% expected, as in traditional. Even when someone orders something that's back-ordered or whatever, they usually give the HC a card with a message inside explaining that (or sends an email, etc.), because no one wants it thought that they didn't give a gift. One possibility is that some of the guests mentioned a reason like this verbally to someone at the wedding, like the HC's parents, and the messengers then forgot to pass it on.

Story: A friend, Mike, got married and invited me to the wedding. I had to decline but was going to send him a gift anyway. Our mutual friend Louise also thought she would be invited but after some miscommunication, she wasn't. Despite this, Louise offered to go in with me on a gift for Mike. On my own, I would have ordered the gift online and had the store ship it directly to him, but Louise preferred to buy the thing from a store and said she would take care of shipping it. Louise and I went out and bought a couple things. Mike's wedding was on Valentine's Day a few years ago.

That same year, as we were preparing for another friend's wedding in August, I asked Louise jokingly, "Hey, you sent Mike his gift, right?" She gave me a guilty look and said she hadn't. There were excuses about the box getting used for something else but really she was going to ship it soon, promise. I was very unimpressed. She tried to tell me we had a year to send it and I was like, "I don't care, I intended it to be there before the wedding! He's going to think I didn't send him anything!" Finally she mailed the gifts (and to her credit, included a card taking responsibility for the delay). So Mike's wedding gifts were at least six months late, due to riding around in the back of Louise's car all that time. ::) (My suspicion is that part of Louise's reticence, if only subconscious, was because she herself wasn't actually invited.)

I could also imagine my parents not getting a gift sent. Each one thinks the other is taking care of the gift, then discovers neither of them has. Then, each one thinks the other is going to fix this, but actually, neither of them does. Then, it just seems embarrassingly late to send a gift. Fun times.
~Lynn2000

wolfie

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Re: Asking about "lost" gifts
« Reply #27 on: February 18, 2015, 12:47:15 PM »
I wouldn't bother posting it on facebook. Unless you tag all the people who didn't give you gifts there is no way to guarantee that they will even see it. And it will start people asking what happened, or to describe the gift with no known owner so they can help figure out who gave it.

LtPowers

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Re: Asking about "lost" gifts
« Reply #28 on: February 19, 2015, 08:47:56 AM »
This is the corollary to gift-givers who didn't receive thank you notes wondering if they should call the recipients "just to make sure it got there."  Just as here, if there is something concrete other than just not being thanked that makes you suspect your gift didn't get delivered, then follow up.  But if it's only that you haven't been thanked, that's really not the likely explanation, so just let it go, or follow up with the store or post office -- don't ask the recipients (or their parents!), because no matter what you say your reason is, it will come across as "You never thanked us, you ill-mannered ingrate," or at best will make them feel guilty and defensive.

Actually, my understanding is that this practice is etiquette-approved. It's a legitimate concern and the giver has a vested interest in making sure the item was received. The secondary effect of making the recipient feel a bit guilty for not offering prompt thanks would be rude by itself, but an acceptable nudge coupled with the former.


Powers  &8^]

gellchom

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Re: Asking about "lost" gifts
« Reply #29 on: February 19, 2015, 11:05:13 AM »
This is the corollary to gift-givers who didn't receive thank you notes wondering if they should call the recipients "just to make sure it got there."  Just as here, if there is something concrete other than just not being thanked that makes you suspect your gift didn't get delivered, then follow up.  But if it's only that you haven't been thanked, that's really not the likely explanation, so just let it go, or follow up with the store or post office -- don't ask the recipients (or their parents!), because no matter what you say your reason is, it will come across as "You never thanked us, you ill-mannered ingrate," or at best will make them feel guilty and defensive.

Actually, my understanding is that this practice is etiquette-approved. It's a legitimate concern and the giver has a vested interest in making sure the item was received. The secondary effect of making the recipient feel a bit guilty for not offering prompt thanks would be rude by itself, but an acceptable nudge coupled with the former.


Powers  &8^]

It's not "etiquette-disapproved," but even Miss Manners points out that it is a way of staying within etiquette while making people miserable for failing to thank you (Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior, pp 436-37). 

Of course it's fine to follow up with the recipient when there really is a reason to fear nondelivery and all other means of investigation have failed.  I've done it myself, once when I was supposed to get a confirmation from the company that never came, and another time when the store mistakenly delivered the package to our house instead of the HC's, and I had reason to doubt the redelivery.  In both cases, I made sure to tell the recipients the reason I was concerned and assure them it had nothing to do with thank you notes (it helps if it is so soon that a note wouldn't have been late at all anyway), and in both cases, sure enough, the gift did not arrive.

My point was just that when the givers really have no particular reason to believe that their gift wasn't received other than the fact that there has been no thank you note, it is going to sound and feel like a thinly disguised PA comment on the absence of thanks -- and if the givers are honest with themselves, that's probably exactly what it is (yes, gifts can get lost in the mail, but so can thank you notes -- and both are much rarer than someone, even someone usually very polite, just not having written a thank you note).  And that is punishing rudeness, which is itself rude.