DEAR MISS MANNERS: When someone has put forth the effort to surprise me with a present, I prefer to express my gratitude in a handwritten note. Sometimes, however, I receive a gift that has been shipped to me.
Is it out of place to send an email thank-you immediately so they know I have received their surprise? Such an email would, of course, be followed with the preferred handwritten correspondence.
GENTLE READER: What is your hurry?
Although she insists on prompt thank-you letters, Miss Manners does not understand the necessity for instantaneous ones. Assuming a reasonable response time, no sensible giver would quibble over the one or two days taken by the mail.
As she agrees that the letter of thanks, not the email, is the genuine article, she suspects that your concern -- which is shared by many of her Gentle Readers -- has been shaped by the corporate world. Watching on one’s computer as a package fitfully wends its way across the country, or on one’s cellphone as the car makes multiple wrong turns trying to find you, are now everyday occurrences.
Miss Manners is mystified why customers are content with documentation of incompetence in place of speedier delivery, but she notes that they are nevertheless conditioned to waiting.