Death of the Thank You Note?

Discussion in 'Odds & Ends' started by Cindysphinx, Dec 31, 2012.

  1. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2006
    Messages:
    15,067
    A family friend said he is utterly mortified and disappointed that his daughter and son-in-law did not write any thank you notes for gifts received for their wedding. It was a large, formal and lavish affair paid for by the bride's parents. The wedding was four years ago.

    Here's a question for the younger TT members: Do people still write thank you notes for gifts given for weddings, graduations, births? Have Facebook and e-mail replaced this?

    My own experience is that my parents would have hogtied me had I not written prompt and effusive thank you notes on such occasions. After our wedding, my husband and I actually wrote all of the thank you notes on the airplane on our way to our honeymoon, and we mailed them waiting for our connection at the Miami airport.

    I asked my own young adult and teen kids what they thought about this, and reaction was mixed. My two daughters said no one writes handwritten notes anymore. Where they got this idea I cannot say, as our practice as parents was to not let them play with the gift until they wrote a note, any note. My son's view was that he likes to write nice notes because he believes it will pay off in additional gifts down the road and is a good investment. : sigh :

    For the most part (and to the limited extent I have noticed), people I know still send handwritten notes through snail mail. Is that still done nowadays?
     
  2. JoelDali

    JoelDali G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2009
    Messages:
    10,492
    My dog is chewing a bully stick in my bed as I read this. It stinks but it makes him happy.
     
  3. dak95_00

    dak95_00 Professional

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2007
    Messages:
    838
    Location:
    Columbus, OH
    I have another question for the discussion:

    Do people still talk on phones?


    To answer the OP:

    Yes. Traditional, well raised young people still write thank you letters and are made to feel guilty if they don't. It takes longer. I just received a nice card from a wedding I attended this summer. Literally, I got it last week. I thought it was a Christmas card. I opened it to find it was a thank you card complete with a picture of the groom holding a giant sign that read 'THANK' and the bride holding a sign that read 'YOU'. His was white with black letters and hers was black with white letters and I was thinking it was genius because it was obviously taken on the day of the wedding since they were in their wedding gear and the signs were in perfect contrast to their outfits. I wished I'd had a photo like that taken on my wedding day. We were friends of the groom (of course we knew the bride too) and she wrote a very nice letter on the inside.

    I'd been just as satisfied with an email. A text might've been too little. It was nice to get the comment about the specific gift since it was delivered from the store I purchased from instead of by me. I was curious as to whether they actually received it or not.
     
  4. Dags

    Dags Professional

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2008
    Messages:
    920
    Most of my friends have got married over the past 10 years. I'd say about 50% of them have sent a thank you card.

    For the ones that do, it's always been hand-written. Most even write what is clearly a personal note, though it won't come as a shock to find that the extent of this correlates directly with how well I know them. The majority of cards tend to feature a photo from the wedding; it appears very easy these days to create your own design. Turn around is usually within 6 months of the wedding, depending on how organised the couple are and the number of guests.

    For the ones that don't bother, on a couple of occasions I've been left wondering whether they actually received the gift.

    However, I don't think it's something you can get upset about. When you give a gift, it's not supposed to be a conditional gesture that necessitates a reply. It is nice to receive one, but you shouldn't expect it.

    Of course, weddings aren't the same as other occasions where gifts are given. In general, they spend a heap of money, you bring them a gift, and everyone has a smashing day. When you move on to children, things are a little different. So far, I've received a thank you for every gift I've sent for a new-born child. One of those was an email, but they did attach a photo of the child with said gift. I'm not sure whether this difference is because there's no big party (i.e. they're not actually giving you anything in return, so appreciate the gesture more), or because I they tend to only be my closest friends.

    Graduation? That must be an American thing. When I graduated, all I got was my father telling me to go and get a job. :)
     
  5. GS

    GS Professional

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2004
    Messages:
    1,308
    Location:
    Oakland
    On another "note"---HAPPY BIRTHDAY, CINDY!!!
     
  6. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2006
    Messages:
    15,067
    Thanks! But I must disclose Jan. 1 is not my birthday. It is the date I use for web sites. Birth dates assist identity thieves, so I don't publicize mine.

    Funny thing. I get massively numbers of Facebook shout outs on my faux birthday. Oh well.
     
  7. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2006
    Messages:
    15,067
    Dags and Dak,

    It feels like the rules of etiquette are getting out of sync.

    One rule is that you should not deliver a wedding gift to the wedding itself. So most people have the gift delivered to the home.

    If the couple doesn't write a thank you, there's no way to know the gift was received. If it wasn't, then the couple is left thinking I went to their wedding, ate their food, hugged them and then didn't feel moved to send a gift. Ugh.

    I think with baby gifts, you often deliver it in person so you know it was received. Same for Christmas gifts, I guess.

    Interesting thing about the thank you notes that are photos. I don't think that sort of thing was available when we married.

    Whenever I get photos like that (baby, Christmas card), I never know what to do with them. I look at it ("Awwwww!"), and then . . . I slam dunk it in the nearest trash can and then pour things like cooking oil on the baby's face.

    I'm a monster.
     
  8. dlk

    dlk Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2009
    Messages:
    2,748
    Location:
    Indy
    I'm into sending those fruit-on-a-stick bouquets, as a thanks. Usually I'm thanking groups of people.
     
  9. ollinger

    ollinger Legend

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2004
    Messages:
    5,889
    Re: the handwritten thank-you note

    consider this: kids in many elementary schools are no longer being taught cursive writing. It's viewed as an increasingly archaic form of communication. The message is simple: email is a perfectly acceptable way today to send a thank-you note. If your kids did this, be quiet and get back to your myriad tennis leagues. If they didn't, why the hell are you concerned about it four years later??
     
  10. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2006
    Messages:
    15,067
    What makes you so dang nasty, dude? It's unbecoming.
     
  11. dlk

    dlk Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2009
    Messages:
    2,748
    Location:
    Indy
    Shovelling popcorn by the handfuls:)
     
  12. CCNM

    CCNM Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2009
    Messages:
    3,162
    Location:
    Albuquerque, NM USA
    I think writing a thank-you note is a good thing-I do it myself. However, if the person I gave the gift to called/e-mailed/texted me a thank you I would not get upset.
     
  13. volleygirl

    volleygirl Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2011
    Messages:
    404
    Cindy,
    I agree with you that a hand written thank you is something they should do but it appears we are dinosaurs to feel that way.
     
  14. Maui19

    Maui19 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2010
    Messages:
    1,649
    All of us are immersed in the continuum of social change. Our parents were generally contemptuous of our music and hair styles and so on--and we were generally pleased. As we grow older, we tend to cling to old, familiar traditions and eschew new ones. Many types of communication have been supplanted or eliminated with the advent of new forms of communication. Electronic communications are absolutely replacing written ones, and while something like a written thank you note may have larger overtones of caring and consideration with some recipients, it may not with others. E-communications are considered perfectly acceptable replacements (not substitutes) for written communications by a large and growing segment of our society. In cases where suitable e-communications is not practical--like in the case of thank you notes for a wedding--then the next acceptable alternative is no thank you note at all.

    Thank you notes are joining cursive writing (as mentioned), dressing up for work (or church), wearing hats indoors, and many other things as traditions that are deemed as archaic and in need of updating.

    The pace of life today is without question faster than it was 20 years ago. If a tradition is time consuming and has a suitable replacement, then I think it's days are numbered.
     
  15. max

    max Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2004
    Messages:
    2,682
    Email, etc., aren't acceptable substitutes. These require thin, minimal involvement. . . and everyone knows it. REAL communication means writing.

    I use thank you notes all the time; keep a stack of cards at my desk and use them as well as personalized stationery. It carries an impact; call it "plow weight" if you will.

    ME? I'm tired of teenagers justifying whatever personal convenience they desire (sometimes selfishly, no?) by saying "times have changed". I just don't see this at all. People are people.
     
  16. max

    max Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2004
    Messages:
    2,682
    My son learned cursive as a second grader last year. I think technology hype/sales publicity has been the driver to the notion that no one uses handwriting anymore.
     
  17. max

    max Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2004
    Messages:
    2,682
  18. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2006
    Messages:
    15,067
    It's certainly true that expectations have changed.

    I interviewed for a job last year, which means I had to write a thank you note. Decades ago, this would have meant a short type-written letter, mailed.

    This time, I was advised by people in the know that e-mail thanks is the preference. So that is what I did.

    I have to say, it felt weird. I remember that when I was last in a position to make hiring decisions (15-20 years ago), sending an email thank you for an interview was worse than sending no thank you at all. The email form essentially communicated "I know I am supposed to thank you for the interview, but I do not wish to spend more than 15 seconds on the task."
     
  19. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2006
    Messages:
    15,067
    Oh, no!

    I have not sent out Christmas cards for many years now. It's expensive and time-consuming, and I feel like it is easier to stay in touch year-round than it used to be.

    And if I cannot bring myself to do more than sign my name at the bottom of a manufactured card, why bother?
     
  20. max

    max Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2004
    Messages:
    2,682
    I sent out about 40 Christmas cards; received a bunch, too. Perhaps it depends on where you live. At any rate, in my demographic, it's the thing you do when there are people you care about.

    I received only one email "card" and didn't open it. What's the point? To me it showed minimal regard of a dismaying kind.
     
  21. maggmaster

    maggmaster Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2010
    Messages:
    1,750
    We wrote thank yous for our wedding 7 years ago. My mother would have flayed me alive had we not. I don't see why people wouldn't, it is polite and easy to do. As far as that nasty poster, he is an eternal pessimist as well. Apparently he is also a practicing therapist which makes me very sad for his patients.
     
  22. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2006
    Messages:
    15,067
    I don't open email cards. It's nothing personal. It's just that I am a Luddite and I don't open attachments etc. unless I have a very good reason.

    I might do better with Christmas cards if they didn't have to be sent, you know, during the holidays. Another thing on my bulging holiday two-do list? No thanks.
     
  23. Richard Pur

    Richard Pur Rookie

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2004
    Messages:
    281
    While I agree with Cindy that a Thank You note is in order, I am of the older generation. MAUI19 is spot on that some things need to be updated. In general, some effort that takes a little time and effort showing appreciation is warranted. A sincere email can suffice.

    That said, I saw an interesting email with various pictures of youngsters at museums, at dinner, at the beach, etc. doing nothing but looking at their phones/wireless devices. At the end, it shows a quote from Albert Einstein "I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots."

    A friend of mine has a much younger boss. They sit right next to each other, and the boss sent an email to him explaining something he wanted my friend to do. He could have just asked him by asking him verbally!!!!!!!! Email is an easy way out. It's easier to deal with controversial situations or to say no via an email than have to say something face to face, where you have to be diplomatic.

    Change of some traditions are acceptable, but only if they make sense.
     
  24. Zolar

    Zolar New User

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2011
    Messages:
    77
    I know some teenagers that don't send thank-you anythings and I just quit doing things for them. If you like something someone does, and would like it repeated in the future, then thank them. If you don't care about getting again whatever you got, then don't thank them. Pretty simple.
     
  25. max

    max Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2004
    Messages:
    2,682
    re: Richard's above comment.

    There are some who feel that today's teenagers are missing out on vital social skills. . . thus harming their future jobs, future enjoyments, etc. . . . easier to just stare at a screen.
     
  26. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2005
    Messages:
    34,691
    Thank you notes are a waste. In fact, gifts are a waste. They are just encouraged by businesses to make people spend. People should live within their means and buy what they can. What is the purpose of gifting? Is it charity? If not, can't the giftee buy what they want by themselves?

    Regarding jobs, big companies do not encourage thank you notes, or any communication after the interview. Several times candidates have asked for my email address after interviews, and I had to tell them the HR line: I cannot give out my email or phone number - your contact is HR only. Sometimes they will contact HR asking them to convey the thanks to me. We do not take any such thing into consideration when hiring. We want people who will do their job for what they are paid - nothing more or less. Only qualifications for a job can be taken into account legally.

    It may be different in small companies though.
     
  27. JohnnyCracker

    JohnnyCracker Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2007
    Messages:
    696
    I felt the same way when I received a wedding invitation via phone text message.
     
  28. goober

    goober Legend

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2004
    Messages:
    8,491
    Sorry but "the times they are a change-in".

    Social and electronic media are so pervasive and in every day use and I would say they are considered acceptable by the large majority of society. Certainly almost anyone under the age of 40 and by many over that age.

    I haven't written a real letter in ages. I communicate more with people I care about than I ever did in the age of handwritten notes sent in envelopes and long distant phone calls costing a small fortune. I consider that a good thing.

    As for thank you notes- what is acceptable and what is not is determined by what your friends and family deem acceptable. I am personally not offended at all if someone thanks me by email or any other electronic means. The only thing that matters to me is their intentions not following some form of convention that is rapidly becoming archaic.
     
  29. Janne

    Janne Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2006
    Messages:
    733
    I agree whole-heartedly with some of you. We should all return to old traditions and go that extra mile. But writing a simple thank you note in cursive? That's not good enough. We should also seal the envelope the letter rests in with a wax seal. Needless to say, we should also make the wax seal ourselves - if not, you clearly don't appreciate the gift you've received and everyone will know that you're a filthy little brat.

    Post it like regular mail? Are you crazy? Or was it lazy? The note should be delivered by horse and carriage. Or a courier pigeon, but this option is only reserved to those who are lying in their deathbeds and are too sick to leave the room. Of course, these people first need to prove that they really are sick. Not coughing up blood? Saddle up, squire!

    Email? Bah! Humbug!

    ;-)
     
  30. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2006
    Messages:
    15,067
    You must be a real hit with the ladies. "Buy your own flowers, sweetie. What do I look like, an ATM?"

    It may depend on industry and culture. When I was involved in hiring, everyone wrote a thank you letter. It was a nice way to express continued interest and raise the flag one more time. A few interviewers took it badly if no etter was received, although most of didn't hold it against the applicant.
     
  31. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2006
    Messages:
    15,067
    Look on the bright side, Max.

    As fewer people make the effort, those who do will stand out more. Giving those people more bang for the buck.

    I have some classy friends. The wife always sends handwritten note for things. I have to say, a cleverly written hand written note really stands out when they are so rare.
     
  32. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2005
    Messages:
    34,691
    In my position, if I am buying "the ladies" flowers, it is a huge problem.

    I still do give small gifts on special occasions, like when I go to stay with relatives. Even then, I do an online gift card for them. Same for weddings. What I meant was gifting as an obligation whether you have a personal connection or not. Like in offices, year end, etc. My club office had stockings put out for each staff member to gift to each other. That is an obligation. Even today, senior executives with dedicated personal assistants/secretaries are expected to give gifts to them. Then there is the matter of business gifting from vendors to businesses. These giftings are required and have become institutionalized, creating a protocol of how much to gift, when not to gift, implication of not gifting, what is an appropriate gift, and require vast amounts of time and money.
     
  33. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2005
    Messages:
    34,691
    In LA, there are gift consultants to whom you can outsource gift selection. Say you are a close friend of the Brangelinas, and wanted to get them a wedding gift. These gift consultants will track what you have given to them and others in the past, what others have given and are likely to give, and what would be considered a unique gift from you. Then they will procure it for you. In return, you might get recommended for a key studio job by the couple if they are pleased.
     
  34. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2006
    Messages:
    15,067
    Oh.

    In that case, I agree with you.

    Then again, no one expects a faceless corporation to send a thank you note for the box of bonbons another faceless corporation gives as a gift.

    When I wrote the OP, I was thinking of "major" gifts -- gifts given for milestone events (weddings, births, graduations), which of course have a personal connection.
     
  35. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2006
    Messages:
    15,067
    Where can I get such a job?

    On second thought, never mind. I hate shopping.
     
  36. 6-1 6-3 6-0

    6-1 6-3 6-0 Banned

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2012
    Messages:
    4,657
    No, it's a sign of weakness. :p
     
  37. Dedans Penthouse

    Dedans Penthouse Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2004
    Messages:
    3,956
    Location:
    Antarctica
    You're right, it's called common courtesy. To spin the old Luther Ingram song: if being a 'dinosaur' is wrong, I don't want to be right.

    sidebar:

    Had Michigan not blown coverage at the end vs. South Carolina, I'm thinking you probably would've been in 7th heaven with 3 of the 'unbeatable' S.E.C. teams taking it on the chin thus far...haha.

    Best,
    Al E. Sauras


    [​IMG]
     
  38. Maui19

    Maui19 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2010
    Messages:
    1,649
    The responses are interesting, and IMO indicative of the ebb and flow of social change. Sometimes, new social practices are readily accepted by almost everyone. Other practices may receive a mixed reception and a longer time before they become accepted. Still others are tried, reviled and rejected.

    Thank you notes are in middle. They are going away--slowly but surely.
     
  39. dParis

    dParis Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2004
    Messages:
    1,630
    I get upset when I receive thank you notes obviously hand written with a ball point pen. It's as if the sender is telling you they didn't have the time/couldn't be bothered drawing ink into their quill themselves.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2013
  40. volleygirl

    volleygirl Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2011
    Messages:
    404


    Agree with you max and youre not the only one who still does Christmas cards. I send out about 30 and got back close to that amount.
     
  41. Fuji

    Fuji Legend

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2010
    Messages:
    6,587
    I can honestly say I haven't written a thank you note within the past 12 months, but I'm a huge person with phone calls. I absolutely love talking on the phone with people, so quite often I'll be doing the "Thank you call" way more then the written note. It also doesn't help I have some of the absolute worst handwriting in the world haha!

    -Fuji
     
  42. max

    max Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2004
    Messages:
    2,682
    Yeah, I'm a fan of the telephone.

    It is so much better than email. You actually get an on-time response! and can discuss, negotiate, persuade, get better informed, etc.

    Telephones are a nice technology.
     
  43. max

    max Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2004
    Messages:
    2,682
    I guess not where I live. So it goes.
     
  44. Janne

    Janne Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2006
    Messages:
    733
    I'd actually prefer in most cases to get an email instead of a phone call. Email allows me to open, read and reply to it at a time that I feel is convenient. As opposed to getting a call when I'm carrying grocery bags, driving, working or studying or something along those lines.

    Maybe I'm just asocial. :p
     

Share This Page