8.15.2007

Thank you



Two simple words which can speak volumes.

If you're like me, you lament the demise of the thank-you note. Back in the day, when I was growing up, they were the norm. My mother was a stickler for the handwritten, timely thank-you note. She insisted upon them, and we (my younger sister and I) complied--not always readily and rarely enthusiastically, especially as we got older, but we did them. We even wrote them completely by hand--no "cheating" by using a preprinted card.
Get a gift from Aunt Millie for your birthday? Write a thank-you note:

Dear Aunt Millie,
Thank you very much for the $10. I'm not sure what I'll use it for yet, but I hope it will be something fun. Thank you for coming to my party. It was fun.
Love,

My great aunt Millie took it to a whole new level: she'd write a thank-you note for the thank-you note from me!

This early training came in handy as my sister and I became professional women.
Have a good, or even just a so-so job interview? Write a thank-you note:

Dear Ms. Williams,
Thank you so much for taking the time to give me the opportunity to learn more about Blahblah Company. I hope our discussion revealed my interest in and enthusiasm for the position of ______. I look forward to hearing from you, and to the possibility of working with your dynamic team.
Cordially,

And, of course, for us, social bread and butter notes are second nature.
Stay with an out-of-town friend for a couple of nights? Write a thank-you note, (and also send a hostess gift):
Dear Pat,
Thanks so much for putting us up (or putting up with us!) last weekend. Your home, and the comfortable bed at the end of our exhausting show days were just what we needed to relax and unwind. I hope you'll enjoy the flowers--'just a small token of our appreciation.
Love,

As mothers ourselves now, we insist our sons write them too. But, in today's world of instant, yet somehow less personal contact, the thank-you note seems destined to go the way of dial phones; quaint relics of another, distant time.

Call me old, or old-fashioned, but I still think manners matter.

In my business, I always try to exhibit good manners, which includes "going the extra mile" in customer service (offering to replace damaged products, even if the damage is the buyer's fault; paying return postage; accommodating special orders, including special color requirement, etc.) I'm motivated by my belief that it's the right thing to do, despite current practice which says it's not necessary any longer. I also make it a point to follow up with each person who makes a specific request, or suggestion about how they might work with me:

Dear Dr. Grant,
It was a pleasure meeting you at the NBTF. I was intrigued by our conversation about the possibility of having my art shown at the University gallery. To refresh your memory about my work, please visit my online photo gallery: http://picasaweb.google.com/camida56/TheAncestressSeriesByMichelleDavisPetelinz. I look forward to hearing from you, and to working with you.
Sincerely,

I've bowed to the current times; my business thank-yous are in email form, mainly because it offers me the opportunity to include links, and to respond more quickly. However, I've noticed I rarely receive thank-you notes of any kind.

Am I just a dinosaur? Is formally thanking someone hopelessly passe?

What's your position in the thank-you note debate?

Please comment.

Thank you.

7 comments:

sandra said...

How appropriate that your post is on thank you notes and politeness. I just came by to thank you for stopping by my blog artful life and for taking the time to leave a comment. And no, having manners is not passe. What kind of world will we live in without respect each other?

Delta said...

If thank you notes have gone out of style, my kids are going to be MAD! My youngest just graduated this spring and every time I asked if she'd written a thank you note, it was already done. My older kids also still write real letters on real paper, and stationary is always a good gift for them. I get thank you notes from other people too and they are always a treat to receive.

Michelle Davis Petelinz said...

Thank you for returning the favor, Sandra. Of course you're right; manners connote respect, and even if common practice leans toward impoliteness, I'm raising my son as I was raised; to respect others enough to honor their gifts with formal thanks.

catherien said...

It's ironic... we're on the same wavelength here.

I was waxing rather sentimental the other day, and realized that all the customers this year have gotten the standard thank-you in their receipts. But I'd not thanked them personally. I know it's not something that is required, but I truly AM grateful for their business, and it really is important to just let them know that. No gimmicks, no ads - just a simple thanks for the attention they've given to my products.

Being grateful is its own reward.

Cat

Sonji Hunt said...

I was raised on handwritten thank you notes also and I still do it. I enjoy it. Often times, I will even make the card.

I agree also about modern thank you's for business via emails. Still, you can also send the snail mail thank you as well. Modern and traditional...great combo sometimes.

LC said...

Being thankful cures a lot of things. It also indicates a heart that accepts, enjoys, embraces, can see good in things, thinks of others, and is humble. May thank you notes never, ever become obsolete!

thank you!

Lori said...

This is SO funny and timely too. Just this morning, I mailed a thank you card to a friend who recently let us stay at her place in Atlanta for a couple of nights.

Yes, a few of us old dinosaurs still do roam the earth (smile). Good to know there maybe yet be another generation after us. My ten-year-old has been writing (or signing) thank cards ever since he could properly scribble his name.

As far as I'm concerned "thank you" ranks right up there with words and expressions like please, peace, I love you and Amen (smile)!