Friday, November 18, 2011

A Simple Thank You

One thing I’ve had to get used to living in the south is writing Thank You cards. It’s a little known fact that, when the south succeeded, they actually addressed the ritual writing of Thank You cards in their Constitution. Article I, Section 1 reads:
2:  Any Person shall be required to write a Thank You Card to a friend, neighbor, acquaintance or virtual stranger, in response to any of the aforementioned persons doing any or all of, but not limited to, the following: sending a birthday gift, sending a holiday gift, delivering baked goods (whether solicited or not), hosting a dinner/holiday party or similar social function, or performing any ordinary or especially mundane task or tasks which would generally necessitate monetary compensation be paid to a day laborer, domestic or the same.  

And trust me, southerners love their Thank You cards. I now buy them in bulk so as to avoid the inevitable stink-eye that follows an unintentionally forgotten or delayed Thank You. People have been uninvited to Mommy and Me groups for lesser infractions (I say this from experience).
Each subset of thank you has its own format in which the card must be written. Thank You cards for gifts typically follow this format:
Address the person formally but with genuine affection,
First sentence thanks them for the item, which you’d better name specifically, otherwise they’ll assume you’re sending a form letter. Second sentence explains how you are currently using the item daily. Third sentence insists that you just love it, you can’t remember a time before owning it, and that you’re not sure how you ever lived without it.

Final sentence repeats thanks, and expresses a desire  "to get together soon."
Close sincerely (your name)

For example:
Dear Neighbor I Just Met Last Tuesday,
Thank you so much for the exquisite fine bone china tea set you gifted my cat. Mr. Scrappers has always enjoyed a hot cup of tea first thing in the morning after a night of knocking all of the books off of our bookcase. I insist that I just love it, can’t remember the before owning it, and I’m not sure how I ever lived without it.
Thank you again so much, and I hope that we will be able to get together soon.
Sincerely, etc.
I have become very good at writing these cards. And I must admit, as much as I shudder at the thought of the deforestation that is caused by the sheer volume of mail exiting this household on a regular basis, it is a nicety that I thought was extinct. It makes you feel good to know that people still take the time to say thank you.
But today takes the cake. I just received a voice mail message thanking me for my Thank You card. I am at a loss for what to do next. Do I ignore the message? Return the call? Send a bouquet of flowers? What exactly is the etiquette for this situation?
Any ideas you have for solving my social conundrum would be greatly appreciated. I thank you in advance.
            Sincerely, etc.


  1. Was there someone else who called you right before you wrote this post, or was I the inspiration? Just trying to connect, call when you can about the December 4th!

  2. Someone else. Thank you's are rampant here.