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Hallmark Fail: ...are thank you notes dead?

(SNN) - Nearly every morning before we get a serious start on our work, my coffee buddy and I make our way across the campus Quad to get caffed up on a cup of joe with a shot of espresso (or an iced, vanilla latte for me). A couple of days ago, she was chatting about how her tween daughter loves Star Trek Voyager and how the family has been watching episodes of the series. One particular night, Tween Daughter was quite anxious to sit down to watch another Voyager episode, but there was homework to do first. She is really pretty good about doing her homework, so it wasn’t a super tough battle. But then the topic of overdue thank you notes came up. With a promised Voyager viewing, this was incentive enough to get her cranking on the notes. “Thank you notes?” I asked. “She’s writing thank you notes?” “She sure is,” my buddy said. “Her birthday was last month and she needs to get them done now.”

From my experience over the last few years, Tween Daughter is a rarity. It seems like the good old traditional thank you note is dead. Gone are the days when people actually write notes. If we’re lucky, we get a verbal thank you, an email, or a Facebook message. But sometimes we get silence. No thank you for a gift sent? What if the giver had to really sacrifice to afford the gift? giftcard? money?

A case in point: A friend was invited to a wedding she was unable to attend due to a death in the family a few years back. She still really wanted to send a gift, so she chose a gift card for a popular home goods place. A couple of months went by; she didn’t hear a word. She wondered if the card had even made it to the mailing address. So, she finally sent an email message to the bride. This was the response, “Oh yeah, we got it. We’ve been bad about getting around to sending notes.” And that was it. Not even a thank you along with the explanation! Seriously?

If the recipient doesn’t want to cross the threshold of the old-fashioned Hallmark store, that’s fine. She doesn’t have to. But how hard is it to just say “thank you” or send a short note via text message, email, or Facebook message? Maybe it is old-fashioned, but I think it is just common courtesy. In most cases, no one demands gifts from the giver. Maybe the bridal couple, birthday boy, or graduate expects it; but they are usually not standing at the checkout counter with their gift and Uncle Bob’s credit card, or logging Aunt Sue into Amazon directing her to purchase their online gift card using her account. Most likely not anyway.

I am impressed by Tween Daughter and her parents for taking the time to acknowledge the efforts of all those friends and family who helped them celebrate a special day. Kudos to you, my friends!

Photo by: AForestFrolic's flickr photostream, Some Rights Reserved, The Sage nor this article endorsed.

DISCLAIMER: The above article is OPINION.The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the authors of The Sage Opinion and forum participants on this web site do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the The Sage News Network or the official policies of the The Sage News.
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