Thursday, October 28, 2010

Thanks: Three Out of Four

As a Grace, I am a pretty big proponent of the traditional thank you note. But these little gems of correspondence are becoming scare, what with the level of social formality decreasing, and the digital age in full swing. But in the past few days I have witnessed some examples of different types of thank yous--and I have to admit, most demonstrated their own special brand of Grace.

1. I had the good fortune to attend a cocktail party on Friday evening at the home of a friend. In lieu of the traditional host gift (wine, candles, coffee--all great, by the way) I opted for something different. Under the guise of "he's giving me dinner tonight so I'll feed him tomorrow" I made him a batch of macaroni and cheese. He emailed me over the weekend--the heading contained one word: "Yum!" and the following picture was attached. Now the truth is, he wasn't even obliged to say thanks beyond the verbal utterance when I bestowed the tray upon him Friday evening, so this was Grantly plus, and the mode certainly had panache. Well Done, Grant R.

2. Last week, I sent a couple of books as a first birthday gift for a friend's daughter. I received a prompt thank you note in the form of a very cute, striped, fold-over card. When I opened the card, there were pen scribbles all over the inside--along with a "translation" written at the bottom thanking me for the awesome books. This totally worked for me--ok, ok, it wouldn't be ideal for your boss who sent the savings bond or Tiffany spoon after your child's Christening/Bris--but for a friend or relative it was sweetly informal and very cute. Also suited the personalities of both the baby and the mom. Kudos to Grace B and Mini-Grace S.

3. A neighbor was recently notified that her driver's license had been found at the grocery store. The good samaritan was still shopping, and said she'd be there for another half hour or so. So grateful was my friend that she did not fall victim to identity theft, or worse, have to visit the DMV, she grabbed a box of chocolates from her gift stash and raced to the market. When she met her savior, she expressed profound thanks and presented her with a small box of Ghirardellis. Needless to say, the woman was astounded. This reminded me of a Major Grace Tip: Keep a stash of all purpose gifties for times like these--scented candles, bars of hand milled soap, jars of jam or salsa, chocolates, novelty note pads, modest gift cards for ITunes or Starbucks, bottles of wine. This way, you'll never be caught off guard with a forgotten birthday, and you'll have something on hand in the event that someone does you a good turn and you want to reciprocate with a little something extra. Nicely done, Grace M.

4. Doubtless you noticed the title of this post as "Three Out of Four". So here we are. I am indebted to one of my loyal readers, Grant J for bringing this last one to my attention. Apparently there is a service for hire that will produce hand written thank you notes. I am reluctant to provide the link, because that seems to promote this practice, but I am confident that no True Grace would ever patronize them for personal correspondence. I grant this: they recognize the value and need for handwritten thank yous. I also grant that when building a business, the personal touch of a hand written note to new clients may get you a second order. And you are so busy designing scarves, formulating marketing plans, building websites, staining furniture, or icing cupcakes that you don't have the three minutes it takes to write said note. So, The Grace gives a pass on one very narrow sliver of acceptability in using this type of service. If employed strictly as a business development tool in the absence of time and staff to write the notes in house then it's ok. Not Gracious, but not dreadful, and Graces must entertain pragmatism at some point. But the minute you outsource the thank you to Aunt Tillie for her birthday gift or the condolence note for your neighbor's mother, you are officially on the Grunt List.

So, the moral of the story is, say thank you. There are lots of ways to do it, and as long as it's prompt, sincere, and thoughtful, you'll stay in the Good Graces.

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