I Gave, You Received, Now Thank Me, Darn It!


Okay, okay, it's not as if I can't spout the party line about how it's more blessed to give than to receive, but let's be honest, when you give, you don't really feel all that blessed until the recipient acknowledges your thoughtfulness. And it wouldn't hurt if they threw in a little something about how you look as if you'd lost weight, too. After all, they're getting the hard goods; the least they could do is throw some cheap praise your way.

I am such a compulsive thanker that I actually send thank you cards to people for sending me a thank you card. I sometimes worry that I will get caught in a thanking loop with someone like me and neither of us will be able to stop. We'll just go on endlessly thanking each other, sounding like the Goofy Gophers Mac and Tosh, "Thank you, my dear." "Oh, no, thank you, my dear" "No, no, I insist, thank you," ad infinitum.

If my recent experiences with gift recipients are any indication, however, I needn't lose sleep worrying that I will be swept away by a giant wave of gratitude any time soon. It's been five weeks since I mailed out two separate gifts and I have yet to hear one word, grateful or otherwise, from either recipient. No card or call, not even an email or a stinking Facebook message. And bear in mind, I was hardly required to gift either of these people -- there were more than six degrees of separation between us, a friends-of-friends kind of thing -- but I thought it would be a nice gesture and, yes, I had been looking forward to the feeling of satisfaction that comes from knowing your efforts were appreciated.

Unable to fully believe that people could be so blatantly rude and ill-mannered as to neglect acknowledging my gift, I consider all the alternate explanations for their lack of response. Perhaps the thank you cards were delivered to the wrong address, to a band of hooligans who shamelessly trash wrongly delivered mail rather than redirect it to the proper destination. Or maybe they were stolen out of my mailbox by someone even more desperate for recognition that I am. Or maybe they were lost in the mail altogether, even though every instance I know of where something was "lost" in the mail it was "lost" only by virtue of never having been put in the mail in the first place. This is particularly true with alimony checks. Still, it remains a possibility, and if I accept that it's possible that the cards got lost in the mail, then I must concede that it's equally possible that the gifts themselves got lost and never reached their intended destinations. So, I will reserve final judgment on the two mailed-gift recipients until I figure out a way to confirm that they in fact received the packages. (I will ply our common friend with prescription-strength chocolate and then get her to agree to grill the offenders on my behalf.)

Unfortunately, there can be no such reprieve from judgment for a third recipient, as I delivered the gift to her in person, thus eliminating all doubt about whether or not she had received it. And I must say her reaction, or, more precisely, her complete lack thereof, was the most stunningly rude of all. I presented her with the gift bag before work one morning last week. She took the bag from my hand, set it down on her desk and simply said, "Oh, I have a gift bag with this same design." And that was it. I stood there for a moment and then awkwardly babbled something about just wanting to give her a little something for the baby she'd had shortly before she started working in my office (which, P.S., was before I even knew her!). She moved the tissue aside a little, peered in the bag, said "Hmm" and then pushed the bag to the side and continued typing.

Feeling more uncomfortable by the second, I excused myself with, "Well, okay, that's all then, um, thanks" and scurried out of her office. When I got back to my desk, I realized that I had actually thanked her! For what? For letting me give her a gift for which she offered no thanks? Oh, well, at least someone got thanked, I thought. Mac and Tosh would be proud. But next time I thank someone for letting me give them a gift, I suppose I should add something about how they look thinner to me. After all, it's the polite thing to do.

Photo: Nevennova via Depositphotos