This is Not the Way to Thank Someone


A handwritten thank you note is one of most personable and kind things one can do whether in a business transaction or on a personal level. I don’t care how bad your handwriting is, it’s always a pleasant surprise to receive a note from someone who went to the trouble to write it out and mail it to you. I love it, and I don’t know anyone who doesn’t. But sometimes even something simple as a thank you note can backfire if it’s not executed properly.

thank you note


So you can imagine how glad I was to get a thank you note from someone on his personal stationary. However, the label with my name on the envelope should have given it away, but I still opened it hoping for the best. It was not to be.

Obviously this was a generic “thank you” printed on personal note stationary. And to make it even more disappointing it wasn’t even signed. The whole thing was ruined for me. I now wished the person hadn’t even bothered to tell his secretary to send it out. Maybe I’m too sensitive, but I’ve tried to think of the gesture, but the botched execution is the only thing I can focus on.

Moral of the story:

No matter what your intentions are, you’re going to be judged on the execution.

I heard it just today “he’s a visionary, but he can’t execute anything.” I call that happy talk: it means nothing, just hot air. Too many people have a vision but only those who find a way to make it happen will be rewarded.

Am I too sensitive on this issue? Should I have been happy with the generic thank you, since at least I got one?

  • well said!

  • I don’t think you were too sensitive. I feel the same way about generic Thank You’s. They come across as very stock, with no thought or real effort put into them. It’s more like they are doing it just to do it, than really being thankful for your business. That’s why I send out handwritten thank you notes. It might take longer to do, but it’s more meaningful.

  • Anonymous

    No, you’re not to sensitive on the issue.  If you’re going to take time to do it, then do it right.

    However, this does remind me. I need to get some “thank you” cards out!


  • This is precisely why I hate those pre-printed, mass ordered cards.

  • I don’t think you’re being overly sensitive on this.  Moreover, I think your moral to the story is spot-on.  In my world of app-development, execution is what you get judged on – every single day.

  • I also don’t think you are being too sensitive.  I would rather have received an email thanks instead of a generic thank you pretending not to be.   Even a phone call JUST to say “thank you” is preferred.

  • Sharon Henning

    No!  You are not being too sensitive.  It’s so important to show people they matter to you for the reasons you stated.  
    I once played for a friends wedding.  Later I received a long, beautiful letter stating heartfelt thanks, what my friendship meant to her, etc… only to find out at the end her mother had written it.  I never received a personal letter from her.  I don’t care how wonderful the letter was, it came across as empty because the wrong person wrote it.
    Thanks for the post.

  • Roy Wallen

    @Maurilio –  In this day of impersonal communication, where we do business without ever meeting the person, a personal response goes a long way.  From my perspective, you are NOT being too sensitive.  If it was as generic as you say, why did he not just send an e-mail thank-you message?

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