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A Photocopied $20 Bill Doesn’t Sound Like Such A Bad Idea…

…the next time some clueless person hands out mass-produced Thank You notes.  Particularly those brides who give their wedding guests a pre-printed, generic, scrolled Thank You as some wedding “favor”.

My 10 year old niece Jenny had a birthday party after which her mother asked her to write Thank You notes to her guests.  Jenny proceeded to write one very nice note and showed it to her mother for approval.  Jenny then proceeded to photocopy that note, cut it down to envelope size and black out the salutation, writing in the new name next to it by hand.  My niece thought she had been extremely clever but my sister informed her that a photocopied “Thank You” note was not acceptable.  Jenny argued a little bit about it but then her wise mother asked “So I suppose it’d be OK if I gave you a photocopied $20 bill??”    End of argument – new Thank You’s  written and points for my wise sister!   1015-10


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  • Kimberly November 17, 2010, 6:33 am

    Clever kid logic. I like that your sister used real logic to help your niece to understand why her solution as not actually workable.

  • Mother of a Bride November 17, 2010, 6:45 am

    Hooray for the mom of Jenny! She used that teachable moment with Jenny wisely and put the lesson in terms that she could understand. I have to say, though, Jenny was pretty clever coming up with that plan. My son is the same age and I could absolutely see many of his friends doing the same thing. Especially with printers that will scan/copy and spit out a dozen of them in a few seconds. Unfortunately for Jenny, she probably spent just as much time cutting the notes down to size and writing in new names as she would have just writing individual notes.

  • Hal November 17, 2010, 7:02 am

    Hooray for Mother! I am so sick of lazy recipients who whine about responding appropriately to a gift. If a person takes the time to put a gift together they deserve acknowledgement from the recipient and no complaints. And, we who are ignored after we give one should be just as “whiney” about that, too.

  • Sandy November 17, 2010, 7:47 am

    Way to go, Mom.

  • MamaToreen November 17, 2010, 7:50 am

    Hooray for Jenny’s Mom!!!! We need more like her!

  • AMC November 17, 2010, 8:49 am

    Loves it!!

  • Erin November 17, 2010, 9:23 am

    Good job Jenny’s mom! And good job Jenny for writing the thank-you notes, because I never knew to do that when I was a kid, and I still struggle with it (yeah, I know, I belong in e-hell too…)

  • Louise November 17, 2010, 9:59 am

    That sounds familiar; I believe I did something similar when I was younger. 😀

    Mad props for mom!

  • DGS November 17, 2010, 10:01 am

    Nice job, Mom of Jenny!

  • Kriss November 17, 2010, 10:05 am

    Sounds like daughter is almost as clever as mom.

    @MOB “Unfortunately for Jenny, she probably spent just as much time cutting the notes down to size and writing in new names as she would have just writing individual notes.”

    Isn’t that often the case when people try to get out of doing their responsibilities?

  • Lily November 17, 2010, 10:49 am

    Cute story, I just hope it doesn’t backfire and start the kid on a life of crime counterfeiting 20 dollar bills (kidding).

  • Shiksagoddess November 17, 2010, 10:50 am

    Well done!

  • AS November 17, 2010, 10:51 am

    I am sure several people we see immortalized on this site can benefit from having mothers like Jenny’s mom. Etiquette blunders are acceptable from a 10 year old. After all, they are still learning. Jenny probably didn’t even realise she was doing a blunder. But blunders from an adult – a big no!

  • Wink-n-Smile November 17, 2010, 10:52 am

    Just wait until she learns how to use a word-processing program. She’ll be doing mail-merge thank you notes, with the name printed neatly on each sheet, and the labels for the envelopes printed and ready to stick on.

    Of course, the computer-generated $20 bill argument would be just as effective. Cool mom!

  • TheOtherAmber November 17, 2010, 11:03 am

    I think the lesson that photocopied thank you notes are not acceptable was absolutely fantastic.

    I do have a question though, and while I don’t want it to detract from the marvelous way Jenny’s mom handled the situation I am confused about something. A few weeks ago we had the situation of a woman whose MIL was insistent on receiving a written thank you note for a gift that she had given the couple, despite the fact it was given in person and she was thanked in person and the OP’s mother died right around the same time. In the comments for that many people said it was perfectly acceptable not to send a thank you note for that kind of a gift if the recipient had been thanked in person. Shower and wedding gifts definitely should always receive written thank you notes, but it wasn’t necessary for something like a birthday gift when there had already been a thank you issued to the giver.

    I would like to know what the proper, and acceptable, etiquette is for these kind of situations – an annual occasion like a birthday or Christmas where the giver has been thanked in person.

  • Chelsey November 17, 2010, 11:06 am

    “Particularly those brides who give their wedding guests a pre-printed, generic, scrolled Thank You as some wedding “favor”.”

    Does…does that happen? o_O

    At least the kid was 10 and not 16 or something. But great logic on the part of the mother. =)

  • Mother of a Bride November 17, 2010, 11:18 am

    I have learned the hard way that sometimes cutting corners doubles the work. Do it right the first time and you don’t have to do it over. 😉

  • Sharon November 17, 2010, 11:24 am

    Great mom! No long eye-roll inducing lecture… just short, sweet, and to the point.

  • Enna November 17, 2010, 12:55 pm

    That is a good way to teach the child how to do write thankyou notes properly!

  • Elle November 17, 2010, 1:10 pm

    I’m gonna say it: I hate thank you notes. Give me a call and tell me how much you liked the present and we can have a nice chat. Shoot me an email if you need to put it to the written word. Because the email will probably sit in my mailbox longer than I’ll keep a piece of paper around.

    “Unfortunately for Jenny, she probably spent just as much time cutting the notes down to size and writing in new names as she would have just writing individual notes.”

    Unless Jenny has motor-skills issues there’s no way cutting down a piece of paper takes as long as writing a nice, personalized thank you note.

  • Sarah Peart November 17, 2010, 1:41 pm

    When I was a child I had to write thank you notes for all presents received at Christmas and birthday parties. This came to roughly 10 to 15. I used to write down all my news and each person got roughly the same news but in a different order. My mother remarked on it but I said that way everyone got the longest and most interesting note possible. They were all handwritten and often the cards were handmade. Maybe it was okay for a child of 7 to 8?

  • PrincessSimmi November 17, 2010, 1:54 pm

    I love that. Witty and clever. I’m going to use that one 🙂

  • Xtina November 17, 2010, 2:01 pm

    HA!!! Love it!!! And Jenny will forever remember this very perfect example; I’d say Mom will never have to worry about Jenny’s sense in proper thank-you procedures ever again.

    I remember pulling “shortcut” incidents of this sort when I was growing up–funny how a kid’s brain works like this–where it was far, far more trouble to set up the ruse than it would have been to simply do it right, and once my parents figured out what I had done, made me go back and do it the right way anyway. But those lessons remain seared in your brain for life.

  • Allie November 17, 2010, 3:20 pm

    I’m with TheOtherAmber in that I don’t think written thank you notes are necessary assuming all the gift-givers attended the party and were thanked in person (and provided with refreshments). I was only instructed to write thank you notes when gifts were sent (usually from afar), or in the rare case where the gift was dropped off by an invitee who could not attend, and where you didn’t have a chance to thank them in person.

    On a separate (but somewhat related) topic, some people think e-cards are somehow lesser than sending a paper card in the mail, but I disagree. It takes me a great deal of time and effort to compile my e-card list and properly format the e-mail addresses, select an appropriate card, write my message (the same message with slight variations goes to all of the recipients) and send the cards (addresses have to be copied and pasted in small groups because the site I use can’t send to more than a certain number of addresses at once). There is no difference in terms of thought or effort involved. The only difference is that paper is not being wasted on something that the recipient is going to chuck out anyway.

  • jen November 17, 2010, 4:15 pm

    Great job! I love stories like this!

    One thing that annoys me is getting a generic thank you card after a wedding. Two weddings I attended this summer sent special thank you cards printed out by their photographer. They featured a picture of the couple with a short thank you message on it. One couple had written a personal, thoughtful note on the back. I really appreciated that one. The other one didn’t have any message at all. That’s not a thank you. It wasn’t even signed! I don’t need much – just a quick, personalized note.

  • Kriss November 17, 2010, 4:16 pm

    @TheOtherAmber – I don’t know about the etiquette for birthday thank you cards but it is certainly good practice for the daughter.

  • Maitri November 17, 2010, 5:57 pm

    I’m with those who say a card isn’t necessary if the giver has been thanked in person.

  • Tori November 17, 2010, 7:10 pm

    One of my friends has a cousin who made generic thank-you notes.
    they went something like this. Btw where it has quotation it would be a blank space for her to fill

    Dear(insert name hear)
    I am so glad you made it to(insert evernt here). It meant so much to(insert name of person event was for) that you could be there. Thank you for the(insert gift here).

    Love(Insert friends cousins name here)

    she uses this for b-days,weddings,baby-showers,etc.

  • gramma dishes November 17, 2010, 7:36 pm

    Sarah Peart ~~
    If you did that and it was all your own idea at that age, I think you were a quite creative and remarkably polite and thoughtful child. I’d love to get a Thank You note like that today . . . even from an adult!
    You did much, much better than just “okay”.

  • Pam November 17, 2010, 7:52 pm

    My opinion on whether or not to send ThankYou notes in “iffy” situtations is “if in doubt, do it!” I have called AND sent a note, and sometimes not called, but sent a Thank you and other times called but not sent a note. If the person was close enough to give you a gift, then you probably know what they would like. I think you can trust your instincts. If you are confidenct that the person has gotten the message of how much you appreciated the gift, then you’re good. If not, send a note. If you just really want them to know how much you appreciated their kindness, then thank them in person, call them later AND send a note (just kidding). I like to thank the person and then after I’ve used whatever they’ve given me, mention it again and tell them how helpful it was or how many complements I got on the sweater they gave me, etc….. The idea is to be gracious!! Granted some gifts can be a little odd…. that’s when a nice “thank you note” is quite adequate and said gift never mentioned again : )

  • chocoboo November 17, 2010, 8:16 pm

    I don’t see what’s wring with getting a generic card at the wedding, unless it is supposed to substitute for writing thank you notes/talking to your guests?? Personally I dislike wedding favors that are actual objects. No one ever uses them, it’s a huge waste of money. I’d rather get a picture of the couple on a card to put in my purse, or something I can eat.

  • Mother of a Bride November 17, 2010, 9:11 pm

    @ Elle
    Have you ever seen a 10 year old tackle cutting 8×11 paper down to fit in a small envelope? Unless she’s an engineering marvel or has possession of a paper cutter with marks for where she needs to cut she probably tackled it like any other child would. Cut a little here, cut a little there, a little more off the top, etc. I suppose a girl who’s done some scrapbooking or does a lot of card making might be able to accomplish it faster, but I don’t know a lot of 10 year olds who do that for a hobby. I know of adults who couldn’t handle it.

  • Elle November 18, 2010, 9:26 am

    I did plenty of papercrafts as a kid. Maybe I was gifted, but cutting a piece of paper down would have been far less work than writing a two paragraph note in my ‘good’ hand writing.

  • Mariam67 November 18, 2010, 11:55 am

    Well, you can’t blame a kid too much for this. Good for her mother for teaching her the right way to do things. Reminds me of the thank you notes Greg made in Diary of a Wimpy Kid by making a form to fill out- ie. Dear _____. Thank you for the _____. It looks really good on my _____. All my friends are jealous that I finally have my very own _____. Love, Greg. xD

  • Kara November 18, 2010, 3:19 pm

    Heh. This story reminds me of an incident from my tender youth.

    I was in second or third grade and was very into stamps – the rubber and wood kind, that you use with ink pads, and not the kind you use for letters. I had gotten a very nice set of stamps for Christmas, and was very enamored of them. One of them was my name in a fancy script.

    Can you see where this is going?

    Yep, come Valentine’s Day, every single Valentine that I sent out – to my friends, my classmates, my relatives – had my name stamped all over them. Yep. I didn’t actually sign my name to a single card, but I sure went gonzo with that stamp.

    I still cringe when I think about it.

  • Ms. Manners February 20, 2015, 7:07 pm

    I just received a photocopied thank you from my nephew’s wife for the baby shower gifts I recently gave her. On the bright side, it was a step up from the nonexistent thank you I received for their wedding gift four years ago (or was it?). The whole baby shower event was a super icky affair given by the now-wife (former mistress) of my sister’s ex-husband. I didn’t even want to go, but I held my nose and went in support of my nephew and sister. It required a cross country flight and all the expenses that go along with that. And she couldn’t even be bothered to send a hand-written thank you note. Pathetic.