I am afraid a rant is coming on. I know, it's hard to believe that I would complain about something. But here I go...
It seems to me that expressing thankfulness has gone by the wayside. Or, at the very least, people showing their appreciation is more the exception rather than the rule.
Apparently, it is too much for the people checking me out at Giant Eagle to say thanks (in all fairness, I don't live near one of those fancy-shmancy Iggles, where perhaps they do say thank you). It is not as if I am looking for "have a nice day." Just a simple, even if insincere, thank you would do. But considering that most of the cashiers don't even bother to speak to me, I am probably asking for the impossible.
And I bet not much more than half of the kids in the cafeteria bothered to say thanks when I handed them a requested napkin or spoon or helped them open something the numerous times I volunteered in the cafeteria this past school year. As many times as I have had to remind Jordan to say thanks to someone, I guess I should not be surprised that so many children fail to do so.
And how about the people that I let pull out in front of me in traffic? I expect every single one of them to give me a thank-you wave or a courtesy beep of the horn. Not half of them. Not most of them. All of them. How hard is it raise your hand in appreciation? I am not looking for a hug!
But my biggest pet peeve is when I (or Jordan) bring a gift to a party that is never acknowledged. I have no problem when gifts are not opened at parties, particularly large events. But if the feted person opens the gifts and cards in private, then she misses out on saying thank you to the gift-giver right on the spot. Considering how apparently challenging it is for people to write and send thank-you notes these days, one would think people would much rather do the in-person thank you while opening the gifts. And to be clear, I don't care how my gift or attendance is acknowledged (in person, on the phone, via a personal note), just so long as it is.
A mother recently told me that her kid had too many thank yous to write because she had such a big party. I kept silent, when I really wanted to tell her that if could not acknowledge those gifts in a reasonable amount of time, then maybe she should not be having such big parties.
What is reasonable? IMO, within a month seems pretty fair. Perhaps two if you had a large party (weddings seem to buy you even more time). Just over 12 years ago, I managed to write thank-you notes for wedding gifts from 150 invited guests within a month, which I realize is pretty darn expedient. But I am still waiting for a thank you note for a party Jordan attended last summer (yeah, I don't really think that one is coming). And Jordan was one of about 15 kids at a party two months ago and no thank you there either. Regardless, I am all for "better late than never," having sent a thank-you note a few years after the fact and being late for other occasions. (See this and that sad blog posts from July 2008. I really have gotten better, which perhaps makes me like those former smokers who constantly berate current smokers.)
Feel free to tell me I am being too nit-picky and that I expect too much of people. But even if saying or sending thanks is no longer the norm, I am still going to try my best to continue down the path of gratitude when I can.