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I'm a grinch.

ViczaesarViczaesar Central Coast, CA member
Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
This is a bitch about thank you notes.  Ye be forewarned.

I just got a thank you card in the mail, for gifts that I sent last Christmas.  I made and sent packages to the girls in a girls' home in Mexico that is affiliated with a mission.  I made individual bags for each of the girls at the home with homemade soap, lotion, and lip balm and gourmet chocolates, and I also sent kids' books in Spanish and art/school supplies.  I sent it to the US address in San Diego that I was told to send it to, and then they forgot to pick up their mail at the post office for a month and a half (during which they made several trips to San Diego, btw; I did this because I know someone who volunteers with them part time).  Then after the package was finally picked up and transported across the border sometime in January I was promised pictures and a thank you note.  I did see pictures - of the girls opening and using the gifts that other people sent, but not of the stuff I gave them.  I did not request pictures, btw, but I was assured that they took pictures of the girls opening their presents and they requested my address (which was on the box...). 

I gave up on both the pictures and thank you note months ago, and decided that I simply would not be sending them anything else.  I didn't do it for recognition, but the whole thing just left a bad taste in my mouth.  I spent a good chunk of time making the products and putting the package together, and an even larger chunk of money on the supplies and the shipping, and as a graduate student it's not like my budget is overflowing with superfluous funds.  I'll find other groups this year to spend my time and money on.

So today I get a thank you note in the mail, with pictures on the front - once again of gifts that other people gave them, and not a single one of the gifts I sent.  On the inside the girls wrote generic things like "Thanks. - Name" and "Thanks for the gift. - Name"  There is, again, no mention of any of the actual presents I gave them.  On the back is a typed note that says "Thank you for your generosity and kindness to us this past Christmas!  God bless".  The post mark says it was mailed on Monday.  The return address sticker was, bizarrely, put on backwards - on the inside of the envelope flap so that when the envelope was closed the sticky side faced outward and stuck out from inside the envelope.  Better late than never, I suppose, and better something than nothing, but I'm still not planning on donating to them again. 



Re: I'm a grinch.

  • :-/ That's really strange.

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  • larrygagalarrygaga Czechoslovakia member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Anniversary First Answer
    edited November 2014
    I give them a pass because you don't really have time for proper etiquette when you are busy trying to survive in a developing country. I'm sure they appreciated the gifts more than they know how to express. I imagine they don't have a ton of one on one with adults who have time to teach them how to do all that. 

    I don't know much about Mexican culture, do they even do thank you notes and take them as seriously as we do? Anyone here know?

    I read something really awesome about expecting thank yous from the homeless, and it really shifted my perspective on gratitude from people who have nothing. I forget what it says, I'll try to find it. 


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  • ViczaesarViczaesar Central Coast, CA member
    Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    edited November 2014
    larrygaga said:
    I give them a pass because you don't really have time for proper etiquette when you are busy trying to survive in a developing country. I'm sure they appreciated the gifts more than they know how to express. I imagine they don't have a ton of one on one with adults who have time to teach them how to do all that. 

    I don't know much about Mexican culture, do they even do thank you notes and take them as seriously as we do? Anyone here know?

    I read something really awesome about expecting thank yous from the homeless, and it really shifted my perspective on gratitude from people who have nothing. I forget what it says, I'll try to find it. 


    They're not busy trying to survive, actually.  The girls are also not the ones who put together the card, they just signed it.  I know quite a bit about the home and the number of adults who work there, and I'm not sure what you mean when you say that "they don't have a ton of one on one with adults who have time to teach them how to do all that."  The people I fault for this are the adults running the program, not the children/teens/young adults in it.  They are pretty well funded by the church they're affiliated with, which is why I mentioned it.  The gifts (mine and others') weren't meant to be for basic subsistence but rather as a nice gesture to show that somebody is thinking of them.  I don't agree that this situation is analogous to giving to the homeless at all, actually, and I don't feel the need to have my perspective shifted, since I already do not expect thanks for gifts to homeless people.

    ETA: The people running the home are Americans, btw. 



  • ViczaesarViczaesar Central Coast, CA member
    Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    edited November 2014
    (don't know why this posted a blank post; I didn't delete anything)



  • larrygagalarrygaga Czechoslovakia member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Anniversary First Answer
    Well, I just went ahead and assumed things because I didn't catch all of those extra details and tried to give you another perspective. 

    If it makes you that upset, then you are fine (IMO) to stop donating to them!
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  • I personally would not expect a thank you from a charity organization. But it is really odd that you were promised pictures and did not receive pictures of the kids opening up your presents. I agree with larrygaga, if you don't feel comfortable donating any longer you definitely shouldn't.


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  • ViczaesarViczaesar Central Coast, CA member
    Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    Oh, I had already decided that months ago, as I said.  I'm not really all that worked up about it, honestly, though I can see why I sound like I am.  I was merely super surprised to receive this today, and then found the details (the unrelated pictures, the vague mention of gifts, the backwards sticker) so bizarre as to be noteworthy.  It is truly one of the weirdest thank you notes that I have ever received, and I don't have anybody here to share that with at the moment.

    The primary reason I decided not to send them any more is that I have received absolutely no indication that they liked or even used my presents, while others who sent gifts got quick acknowledgment of receipt and comments about how they like and are using the gifts.  It's fine; it was a one-off event, and I still hope they liked the presents I gave them. 

    I got a surprise thank you note yesterday as well and was going to post them both as a sort of 'weird thank you note experiences' thread, but I talked too much about the first note and decided it was time to shut my trap.  :p



  • ViczaesarViczaesar Central Coast, CA member
    Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    You know what I'm still curious about?  The backwards address sticker.  How does that even happen? 



  • ViczaesarViczaesar Central Coast, CA member
    Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    larrygaga said:
    Well, I just went ahead and assumed things because I didn't catch all of those extra details and tried to give you another perspective. 

    If it makes you that upset, then you are fine (IMO) to stop donating to them!
    Came back to say that I'm sorry I snapped at you, @larrygaga.  I meant this to be a lighthearted thread but I'm a bit stressed out this week and I reacted negatively to the implication that I should shift my perspective. 



  • larrygagalarrygaga Czechoslovakia member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Anniversary First Answer
    I was really cranky last night from stress as well. I probably shouldn't have even been posting.

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  • dcbride86dcbride86 Washington, DC member
    500 Love Its 500 Comments Second Anniversary First Answer
    larrygaga said:
    I was really cranky last night from stress as well. I probably shouldn't have even been posting.

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    I'm sorry you were stressed!!!  I should have sent you some fresh baked cookies for the taco idea (I'm totally making that tonight, by the way) :)
    larrygaga
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