Thursday, September 4, 2008

Thank You Notes in the Electronic Age: Thursday's Green Tip-Toe

What can I say; my mother exudes Emily Post. I grew up believing that there was no option to writing a thank you note. After all, the gift giver deserves to know you received the gift and to see that you were willing to take the time to express your appreciation on paper. Ahhh! Paper! We have a shortage of this stuff and Emily Post's rules may take a beating.

But my children, all grown up now, are beginning to sway me to their new way of thinking. Text, talk, IM, Poke, Shout, E-mail, fax and voice message, to name a few, are all the new ways of saying Thank You. Perhaps we don't really need to teach this younger generation how to live greener. They seem to be doing a better job than those of us who still write thank you notes, like the one pictured above.

According to my eldest son, an attorney in Virginia, thank you notes should be and will soon be going the way of the Dodo Bird. And for good reason, too, as paper shortages are causing a rise in paper prices, which impacts us all. Who wouldn't prefer to receive a personal phone call from a gift recipient, than have a tree cut down in honor of their gift?
With all the electronic options available to us, I would have to say the text message has the least amount of appeal to me personally, but I could handle the IM and would even get a giggle out of a faxed thank you note. But, then, the fax itself is printed on paper, so we really haven't saved anything there. Better cross that off the list of electronic paper saving options. E-mail is better and more available....I think.

Recheck. Have I considered the senior citizens, many of whom do not have access to most of these communication methods? Although my parents do have cell phones, this is the only thing on the list that is an option for them, and many senior citizens don't have cell phones. I suppose, for their generation, we should give consideration to their customs and expectations and handle these matters in a way that makes them most comfortable. After all, in a few years, they may not be able to hear us say thank you on that voice mail we leave them.

My to do list: Keep a few paper thank you notes and stamps on hand for the grandparents. Call the kids. Save some trees.

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