News: IT'S THE 2ND ANNUAL GUATEMALA LIBRARY PROJECT BOOK DRIVE!    LOOKING FOR DONATIONS OF SCIENCE BOOKS THIS YEAR.    Check it out in the "Extending the Hand of Kindness" folder or here: http://www.etiquettehell.com/smf/index.php?topic=139832.msg3372084#msg3372084   

  • November 24, 2017, 05:36:47 AM

Login with username, password and session length

Author Topic: Asking about "lost" gifts  (Read 14294 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

kudeebee

  • Member
  • Posts: 2702
Re: Asking about "lost" gifts
« Reply #30 on: February 19, 2015, 11:52:40 PM »
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 have never heard of sending thank you cards to people just for attending your wedding if they did not give a gift.  I don't think that is a requirement.  It might be done is some areas, but I agree with other posters that it is probably rare.

I, too, would let it go.  It is usually accepted that a wedding is a gift giving occasion and if you attend a wedding you will give a gift, or at the least a card. However, there are some people who won't give a gift or even a card.  Even the ones that you expect a gift from.  You may be from a region where everyone gives a gift, but again, you never know what can happen.  I don't think you can assume that everyone did and therefore gifts must have been lost, misplaced, stolen unless you have proof.  I am sure it could be disappointing when people you thought would bring gifts/send a card don't, but you need to accept this and move on.  Some may send a gift/card later, some won't.

There is no polite way to word it that won't look like you are chastising those who didn't send a gift or are asking for those who didn't send a gift, to send one.  If there truly is a reason to believe something is lost and you know specifics--Aunt Sally said she mailed you a quilt and you don't have it--then you can contact the person directly.  If someone gave a check and it isn't cashed, they may contact you when it isn't cashed.

Also, be careful about the "little white lie"--it can get away from you and get out of control.  Remember the saying "oh what a tangled web we weave when at first we do deceive".  What will you say if someone asks what the gift is?  Now you will have to come up with a gift.  What happens if you tell one person one thing and then another person something just a little bit different?  What if someone asks your dh (or a parent) and he (they) doesn't have a clue or forgets and gives it up that you lied?  It will be a lot worse than just accepting that some people did not give a gift.

Wintergreen

  • Member
  • Posts: 396
Re: Asking about "lost" gifts
« Reply #31 on: February 20, 2015, 06:43:31 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.

I'm in Northern Europe, not USA, so I guess it's reasonable there are some differences. Our TY culture, for once, is not that stong compared to USA, it seems. I think I've never heard of anyone sending TY for Christmas gift for example. (It might happen, but I think it's rather rare, and for that I'd like to say that obviously I cannot speak for whole country in this sense.) In my childhood home, phone call was the Right Thing to do, highly valued. Seems to be quite common also with others. I guess geographics and such affect these kind of traditions quite a lot. I understand that in USA calling from state to other might have been quite expensive? So calling might have never replaced written notes for that kind of reasons. :D I also wonder if perhaps our "national characteriscs" for being quiet, non-talkative and grumpy have caused the fact that phone call might be valued over textual note. After all, it takes more to make the call than write a note. (Now I'm really just speculating idly! Don't take this too seriously!)

(Also, I have to say, I really like the pictures and look forward to them. They are just suitable so I can present them as cards for a while, and then keep them in a box or photo album. Also :D I am secretly dissapointed if I don't get one. Never say anything of course.)

LifeOnPluto

  • Member
  • Posts: 8131
Re: Asking about "lost" gifts
« Reply #32 on: February 20, 2015, 11:41:52 PM »
I've been on the other side of this. I posted this story on eHell over a year ago - my friend had a Destination Wedding in Las Vegas, and DF and I flew over for it. We took heaps of photos and figured we'd make her and Groom a photo-book for their wedding present once we got back to Australia, Three weeks after the wedding, when we were back home, the Bride emailed me a diatribe, saying how hurt she was that I hadn't given her a wedding gift on the day. My explanation didn't seem to appease her. We finished the photo-book and sent it to her. Never received a thank-you. 

TL;DR - I don't think there is any polite way to ask someone why they haven't sent you a wedding gift. Chances are they intend to get you one after the wedding. Or perhaps they' care about you deeply, but are just really flaky when it comes to organising gifts?

I get that it can be bewildering and hurtful when a close relative or friend doesn't get you a gift - especially if they have a track record of giving generous wedding gifts to others in your family / friends group. In that case, I still wouldn't say anything about the gift itself - although I'd keep a close eye on the relationship and adjust my expectations accordingly. Are they pulling back? Do I assume they're a close friend whereas they just see me as an acquaintance? At most, I might say "Hey, is everything ok with our friendship?" But I wouldn't make it all about the gift.

 

Lynn2000

  • Member
  • Posts: 8322
Re: Asking about "lost" gifts
« Reply #33 on: February 21, 2015, 10:15:26 PM »
I've been on the other side of this. I posted this story on eHell over a year ago - my friend had a Destination Wedding in Las Vegas, and DF and I flew over for it. We took heaps of photos and figured we'd make her and Groom a photo-book for their wedding present once we got back to Australia, Three weeks after the wedding, when we were back home, the Bride emailed me a diatribe, saying how hurt she was that I hadn't given her a wedding gift on the day. My explanation didn't seem to appease her. We finished the photo-book and sent it to her. Never received a thank-you. 

TL;DR - I don't think there is any polite way to ask someone why they haven't sent you a wedding gift. Chances are they intend to get you one after the wedding. Or perhaps they' care about you deeply, but are just really flaky when it comes to organising gifts?

I get that it can be bewildering and hurtful when a close relative or friend doesn't get you a gift - especially if they have a track record of giving generous wedding gifts to others in your family / friends group. In that case, I still wouldn't say anything about the gift itself - although I'd keep a close eye on the relationship and adjust my expectations accordingly. Are they pulling back? Do I assume they're a close friend whereas they just see me as an acquaintance? At most, I might say "Hey, is everything ok with our friendship?" But I wouldn't make it all about the gift.

I remember that thread! She was terribly rude. But I think her reaction is much more aggressive than what the OP is planning, or even thinking. I do think it would be a good idea to wait a few more months before saying anything, though, in case the gifts are just delayed.

The thing I would worry about is not so much, "They owe me a gift! Where is it?" but rather, are they sitting there going, Lynn is so rude because she hasn't sent us a TY note yet? When in fact their gift never made it to me. Now, as much as I appreciate TY notes, I honestly don't keep track of which ones I get vs. what gifts I gave, so if someone didn't send me a TY note, I'd probably never realize it. But I could see other people being more careful, especially someone in a position to be very generous with me, like a grandparent.
~Lynn2000

greencat

  • Member
  • Posts: 3899
  • Trap...Neuter...What was that third thing again?
Re: Asking about "lost" gifts
« Reply #34 on: February 22, 2015, 04:31:02 PM »
I just thought of a better way to handle it - go ahead and send thank you notes for all received gifts.  Then publicly announce that you've sent thank you notes for all gifts received, and if someone gave a gift and doesn't get a note, to please get in touch because the gift has gone astray.

gellchom

  • Member
  • Posts: 3722
Re: Asking about "lost" gifts
« Reply #35 on: February 22, 2015, 05:33:28 PM »
I just thought of a better way to handle it - go ahead and send thank you notes for all received gifts.  Then publicly announce that you've sent thank you notes for all gifts received, and if someone gave a gift and doesn't get a note, to please get in touch because the gift has gone astray.

Still not unless there is a real reason to believe one or more gifts went astray. 

"I am absolutely positive that, unlike most if not all weddings of fairly large size, every single guest at our wedding must have sent a gift already, none just haven't yet, none never will,  none could possibly have forgotten, and no one ordered something that hasn't arrived yet" is *not* such a reason.  It's wishful thinking. 

People (and not just your guests, all your a facebook list) will absolutely still see it as a prompt for "tardy" gifts, especially if anyone asks -- and on facebook, someone will -- what happened that made you post that?  Then you either have to make up a lie (that will probably unravel when your sister or someone posts, "wait, when did that happen?") or admit, "nothing, we just know everyone we invited would send us a gift, and we don't have anything from some people."

That doesn't sound very nice, does it?  But it's exactly what the post would have been about. 

Just accept that for whatever reason some guests haven't sent anything and let it go. 
« Last Edit: March 02, 2015, 12:47:09 PM by gellchom »

Lynn2000

  • Member
  • Posts: 8322
Re: Asking about "lost" gifts
« Reply #36 on: February 22, 2015, 06:13:17 PM »
How about a Facebook message along the lines of, "Just got done sending all my wedding TY notes. Thanks so much, everyone!" etc.? It's a little self-congratulatory--*I* was polite and sent TY notes--but can also be used as an opportunity to express gratitude in general. If someone sees that, and then if they don't get a TY note, even though they sent a gift, they might realize something is up and contact the OP.
~Lynn2000

gellchom

  • Member
  • Posts: 3722
Re: Asking about "lost" gifts
« Reply #37 on: February 23, 2015, 12:04:31 AM »
How about a Facebook message along the lines of, "Just got done sending all my wedding TY notes. Thanks so much, everyone!" etc.? It's a little self-congratulatory--*I* was polite and sent TY notes--but can also be used as an opportunity to express gratitude in general. If someone sees that, and then if they don't get a TY note, even though they sent a gift, they might realize something is up and contact the OP.

Better, but I still don't see any good coming of it.  Why would you be doing it?  There really isn't any need to be expressing gratitude generally -- as you just said, you already wrote thank you notes, so what does this add?  So there are only three purposes to such a post:

1) self-congratulation, as you pointed out (and possibly a dollop of showing off having received gifts to write notes for)
or
2) if it's not self-congratulation, just a matter-of-fact statement, then it's just filling up people's news feed with the minutiae of your life (like "Just finished unloading the dishwasher; time to do the laundry") which are their own kind of irritant and anyway pointless
or
3) the real reason: some people haven't given you gifts.  You tell yourself that you're trying to find out if someone you didn't get anything from gave you a gift that got lost.  But the truth is that you know that that is far less likely than that they just haven't sent one, at least not yet.  Either way, it still amounts to nothing more than trying to find out the reason you have no gift from some guests.

And that's the problem.  The real reason for this -- as the OP said -- is to look into the "mystery" of why there are no gifts from some of the guests.  And you just don't do that, because there really is no reason to suspect gifts were lost, so you are just being overconcerned with the fact that they still haven't given you anything.  Doing anything other than just letting it go means you really do feel entitled to those gifts.

As several of us have said, yes, of course, if you really do have a concrete reason to believe something fishy happened, that's entirely different -- you follow up as discreetly as possible.  But if not, prettying up the wording isn't going to help, because it isn't the wording that's the problem, it's doing it at all.

 

LtPowers

  • Member
  • Posts: 474
Re: Asking about "lost" gifts
« Reply #38 on: February 23, 2015, 10:23:11 AM »
But the truth is that you know that that is far less likely than that they just haven't sent one, at least not yet.

That's an assumption on your part. If one assumes the opposite, it becomes reasonable to worry.

I suppose one could hope that recipients left without a thank-you note would inquire after the gift on their own. (On the other hand, twice I've sent gifts with no thank-you, but never followed up either time.)


Powers  &8^]

gellchom

  • Member
  • Posts: 3722
Re: Asking about "lost" gifts
« Reply #39 on: February 23, 2015, 12:36:53 PM »
But the truth is that you know that that is far less likely than that they just haven't sent one, at least not yet.

That's an assumption on your part. If one assumes the opposite, it becomes reasonable to worry.

I suppose one could hope that recipients left without a thank-you note would inquire after the gift on their own. (On the other hand, twice I've sent gifts with no thank-you, but never followed up either time.)


Powers  &8^]

But the assumption is only that a gift being lost "is far less likely than that they just haven't sent one, at least not yet."  Certainly that is the reasonable assumption of likelihood (again, always, in the absence of any reason other than lack of a gift).

After all, although sometimes, but rarely, things get lost in the mail or stolen at receptions without any clue that it has happened, at nearly all weddings except very small ones, there is at least one guest who does not ever send a gift or hasn't sent one by the time the HC finished writing notes or has ordered something that hasn't been delivered yet; add to that the likelihood that if something did go wrong, there'd be some clue of that to either the recipient or giver or both.

Same for not getting a thank you note, without any other reason to believe something went wrong with the gift.  The most likely explanation is that they just haven't written one, at least not yet, not that the gift didn't arrive.  And that's why a follow up "to make sure it arrived" in such a case always sounds like chastisement for not sending thanks.

Look at how we are all trying to think of ways to phrase it so it won't sound like "The only reason I am checking to see if gifts may have gotten lost is that we didn't get anything from some people" -- which is exactly the truth.  If that were okay, then we wouldn't feel uncomfortable just saying it.  The fact that we're trying to write stuff that will prompt someone to think "But I did send a gift -- it must have gotten lost; thank goodness she wrote that, so I can follow up" instead of "Okay, okay, I'll send a gift already, Mr. and Ms. Entitled!  Sorry I didn't pony up promptly enough for you" goes to show that it simply isn't okay -- and even if it were okay, that that's how it's going to sound to a lot of people.

Lynn2000

  • Member
  • Posts: 8322
Re: Asking about "lost" gifts
« Reply #40 on: February 23, 2015, 01:29:40 PM »
I realize this is pretty unlikely to do permanent damage, but I always think of a situation where Bob sends a gift, but Carol never receives it, so Carol doesn't write a TY note. So Bob thinks Carol is rude for not thanking him, and Carol is disappointed that Bob didn't send a gift (Bob probably wasn't rude, but if he's seriously bucking tradition Carol may assume he's trying to send a message about cooling their relationship). And both are too polite to broach the subject with the other one, so then you have two people thinking poorly of each other, when it was really just a mix-up at the post office or whatever. I guess that's always the main thing I fear in a situation like this (whether I'm Bob or Carol). It's not about the gift but rather the feelings. But gellchom is right, it's very tricky to resolve that without some contortions, because if you guess wrong--if Bob really didn't send a gift, or if Carol really isn't writing TY notes at all--it becomes very awkward.

I feel like with a lot of my family, the situation would resolve itself through the family grapevine. Like if I didn't get a gift from Great-Uncle Herman, and thus didn't write him a TY note, if he was really counting on the TY note and looking for it, he would probably eventually mention something to my grandma about it, and my grandma would mention it to me, and then I could look into it and explain that I didn't get anything. Or someone would be like, "I got a lovely TY note from Lynn about the wedding present I gave her," and he'd be like, "Huh, I haven't gotten one," and then the same thing, it would get back to me and I would check. It's probably only a very small percentage of people in the world who would 1) send a gift that 2) manages to get lost, and 3) they're avidly waiting for a TY note, but 4) keep quiet and stew horribly instead of mentioning it to anyone.
~Lynn2000

sammycat

  • Member
  • Posts: 7934
Re: Asking about "lost" gifts
« Reply #41 on: February 23, 2015, 06:34:09 PM »
I realize this is pretty unlikely to do permanent damage, but I always think of a situation where Bob sends a gift, but Carol never receives it, so Carol doesn't write a TY note. So Bob thinks Carol is rude for not thanking him, and Carol is disappointed that Bob didn't send a gift (Bob probably wasn't rude, but if he's seriously bucking tradition Carol may assume he's trying to send a message about cooling their relationship). And both are too polite to broach the subject with the other one, so then you have two people thinking poorly of each other, when it was really just a mix-up at the post office or whatever. I guess that's always the main thing I fear in a situation like this (whether I'm Bob or Carol). It's not about the gift but rather the feelings. But gellchom is right, it's very tricky to resolve that without some contortions, because if you guess wrong--if Bob really didn't send a gift, or if Carol really isn't writing TY notes at all--it becomes very awkward.

POD!

gellchom

  • Member
  • Posts: 3722
Re: Asking about "lost" gifts
« Reply #42 on: January 10, 2016, 05:27:08 AM »
I just got an email that made me think of this string.

My daughter got married in August of 2014.  Several of the guests had not sent gifts by the wedding date.  Gifts from most of them arrived in the first few months after the wedding.  Some came much later, and there were a few from whom nothing ever came, at least not yet, about 17 months after the wedding.  A couple of those guests from whom no gift has been received were in the "absolutely, positively, would send a gift" category.  I truly do understand the impulse to follow up in case a gift was sent but lost with such people.

The email I got yesterday was from one of those folks.  It was a postal receipt; he had sent a gift -- in May, 2015 -- to the HC's old address;  they moved last spring, and the gift wasn't delivered. 

So this was indeed a case in which a gift was sent but didn't arrive.  However, note that he didn't send it until nine months after the wedding.  So checking a month or so after the wedding would have been just as bad as in the OP's situation. 

There's no safe time frame.  I know my daughter and her husband got at least two gifts almost a year after the wedding, and maybe there have been more since.  There is at least one dear friend I know of who has not sent anything yet but definitely intends to.  He may or may not ever do so.  But she doesn't let herself worry about it. 

There's really no safe time frame.  So I stand by my position that unless there is something fishy that happened that makes you think a gift was lost, not just that you are sure that this or that person would never fail to send a gift, say and do nothing and just let it go.