It is fair to say that anyone who sends a timely and sincere “thank you” card after receiving a gift, clearly has menschy manners. Such authoring of appreciation is a classy gesture oozing with etiquette, pulsating with politeness and saturated with suavity. When you put in writing that a gift is gratifying, you show that you have the knowledge to acknowledge, which is something they don’t teach you in college.
Some would argue that “thank you” cards are one of the things that separate humans from the animals and prevent our society from suffering a dreadful and disastrous dystopian downfall. Others would argue that the sending of “thank you” cards actually is the product of a secret and sinister campaign by those in the stationery business who are desperate to stay relevant. Yes, that “thank you” card cartel abhors innovation and progress and thus will do anything to keep stationery stationary.
As long as “thank you” cards remain in vogue, proper “thank you” card protocols should be followed. The cards should contain only glowing remarks, heartwarming sentiment and tasteful tributes, all imbued with authenticity and sincerity. Obviously, a “thank you” should be devoid of anything negative or controversial because that would turn it into a nasty-gram, condescending correspondence or ruthless response. For example, a “thank you” card should absolutely NEVER contain any of the following statements:
Thank you for attending our wedding, even though you were a last-minute, seat-filling add-on who we begrudgingly invited because one of our actual friends was unable to attend.
Thank you for being at my bar mitzvah and for not starting petty, mean-spirited fights or acting like a spoiled, jealous and venomous brat who must always be the center of attention and controversy. My parents were totally wrong about you.
Thank you for celebrating my bat mitzvah and for once, not creating a situation in which the authorities had to be called or apologies letters had to be sent.
Thank you for your monetary gift, although given your occupation, likely annual income and rumored investments, I would have expected a much higher dollar amount.
Thank you for your generous gift, notwithstanding that you purchased a U.S. savings bond that ties up the money for three years at a ridiculously low interest rate, thus depriving me of the opportunity to make more lucrative investments. Oh, and by the way, when you give someone a $50 savings bond with a $100 maturity value, your official gift is the lesser of the two.
Thank you for your generous gift, even though a check, regardless of the amount, is the most impersonal, unoriginal and unthoughtful gift and makes our invitation to you feel like a quid pro quo business transaction that taints and cheapens our entire relationship.
Thank you for your generous gift, even though our liability to the venue will be twenty times that amount just to clean up the unprovoked, unnecessary and unending food fight that you started in the middle of what otherwise was an exceptionally elegant affair.
Thank you for attending our wedding and especially for heeding my cries and blood-curdling screams when you were about to lift my frail and frightened grandmother up in a chair all by yourself with one hand tied behind your back and while dangerously close to the hot buffet.
Thank you for attending our simcha and for dressing with a modicum of fashion sense instead of your usual tasteless, mismatched and out-of-style ensemble that belongs on only one type of a runway: an airport runway.
Thank you for attending our affair and, for the first time, not unloading half of the buffet into an extra-large Igloo cooler for the ride home.
Thank you for celebrating with us and for not bribing the D.J. to play your excruciatingly awful homemade recordings of you belting out your favorite polka hits.
Thank you for sharing in our simcha and for not sharing the same meandering and tedious stories that have no punchline, payoff or point.
Thank you for gracing us with your presence, notwithstanding that you rudely slunk out within the first hour and missed my speech in which I talked about what a loyal and reliable friend you are.
Thank you for showing up, even if you brought several of your friends, none of whom were invited and one of whom gave the most inappropriate toast imaginable.
Final thought: If sending a “thank you” card is good manners, why stop there? Why shouldn’t the recipient of a “thank you” card be required to return the favor with a “You’re Welcome” card? Discuss.
By Jon Kranz