Remember the Thank-You Note
Dear Annie: Recent letters regarding the acknowledgment and expectation of gifts have prompted me to write about an issue that has been bothering me lately. I am retired, and while I'm not wealthy by any stretch of the imagination, I have invested well and live a comfortable life. Besides the social isolation, my life has not been terribly affected by this pandemic. I practice gratitude daily and have always made it a priority to give to those less fortunate than me.
So many worthy organizations need financial support, and I respond the best I can. I usually receive a thank-you letter from these organizations. I don't keep a score card, but I do appreciate the gesture. What rubs me the wrong way are the letters that thank me for my donation but then enclose a request for more money. It is a trend I have been seeing more of. I also received some Christmas cards with requests for donations. At first, I thought it might be an attempt to save on postage, but then it is followed by another mailed request for another donation. Why can't a thank-you letter be just that -- a sincere thank you? Why can't a Christmas card just be a sincere greeting? Is it just me, or does this fall under the category of bad manners? -- Tired of Being Nagged for More
Dear Tired: Yes, it is bad manners to keep asking for more and more. It sounds like you were very generous to these charities, and it is not unreasonable to expect a Christmas card to be a sincere greeting or a nice, handwritten thank-you note -- without a request. A request is a request, and a thank-you card is a thank-you card. They shall never be intertwined. No one wants to keep giving to a person or organization that they feel does not truly appreciate their thoughtfulness or generosity.
Dear Annie: Years ago, my husband and I used to send checks to his children at Christmas. They never let us know if they received them.
I finally grew tired of giving them money without any appreciation. So, one year, I sent the checks and did not sign them.
I heard from them. Just a thought. -- Found a Solution
Dear Found a Solution: A little humor goes a long way. What a charming way to get them to say thank you. And great minds think alike: Andrew Carnegie did something similar when his nephew was in college. After never hearing back from the young man, Carnegie told him that he had enclosed some cash and wished him well, but he deliberately withheld the cash. Of course, within a short time, the boy wrote to thank him but point out that the money was missing.
Failing to show gratitude for acts of kindness was an issue a century ago and will be an issue a century from now. Your solution was brilliant!
Dear Annie: Here's a suggestion for those people who would like to be thanked for their gifts: Make the next gift a box of thank-you notes. My grandmother did that to me, and I had to write a thank-you note for the thank-you notes! -- Thank You
Dear Thank You: That is a really funny idea! Thank you for your letter.
"Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie" is out now! Annie Lane's debut book -- featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette -- is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to firstname.lastname@example.org.