DEAR MISS MANNERS: I have an online wedding registry, and 90% of the gifts I have received have been off there. The other day I received a present with no tag inside saying who it was from. I tried to check the registry, and there isn’t a name on there, either.
I am a stickler for thank-you cards. It bothers me not to be polite and say thank you, so I have been very upset that I don’t know who to thank.
It was a pretty expensive gift, and I know someone is going to be upset they don’t get a thank-you note. What should I do? My head has been spinning trying to figure this out.
GENTLE READER: Being a detective may not be in the job description of a bride, but solving problems certainly is. Miss Manners agrees that someone needs to be thanked, so it is time to get to work.
Step 1. Ask the shipper. Step 2. Due process of elimination against the guest list. Step 3. Share the problem with close family and friends, and ask if they know the giver, or if the gift itself suggests anything to them.
Each step is likely to be time-consuming and frustrating, which Miss Manners can only mitigate by allowing you a reasonable amount of additional time in which to send a charming letter that, in addition to giving thanks, recounts the research you had to do -- with humor and good will. This will excuse the tardy reply, but must not be phrased so as to imply any misdeed on the part of the sender: The shipper’s website, having no feelings (or remorse), is the intended target of your wit.