Why have people stopped saying "Thank you" to each other? I'm not just talking about people who don't know any better. I'm talking about people who WERE brought up to write thank you notes or at least make a phone call when they receive a gift. Its gotten to where we are even grateful for the occasional email that casually refers to the gift, as that is the best we will ever get.
I rant about this periodically as I have found it to be the case even in my own family. I can't pretend that it is only strangers that completely ignore what we oldsters regard as the common courtesies.
Why do I bring this up now? My MIL and I were talking just before Christmas, and she asked me what she could do about not receiving any thank yous or even acknowledgements of some very "nice" birthday checks she had sent to one of her grandchildren and his wife. I (not flippantly at all, but wearily) said that she would probably just have to get used to it. My solution has been to stop sending gifts rather than fret over whether the giftee even received the item. If I have to know, I send a stamped self-addressed postcard in the package saying that it arrived safely. Actually, that has gotten me some thank you emails for later gifts. DH was horrified when I told him I had done that, but then he wasn't the one getting gut-aches from fretting about it. My own niece has never even acknowledged her wedding gift, a quilt I designed and made myself in her wedding colors, although her mother said she liked it.
Excuse, everybody's busy. Sure they are, but so is everybody else, and so has everybody always been busy. People choose not to observe the courtesies or they choose to, no excuses.
I jumped all over one of my SILs because her kids graduated from high school before I even saw an example of their handwriting (as in a thank you note), but she was unapologetic. She says she just does it for them, and that they will send a note if they REALLY like the gift. And its true, they both did send notes for their graduation quilts. But she doesn't seem to care that they have not developed any foundation for thanking. Perhaps these values are obsolete; my DH says they are.
I don't even give handmade gifts to most people anymore, as they are not valued. If they were valued, surely they would thank the maker. I would love to knit socks for my grandchildren, but I have never ever heard from anyone that such gifts are wanted or appreciated. I doubt if they even know such a thing as writing a thank you note exists.
I'd better quit. Just getting myself all depressed. I'll pet the dogs. THEY are lovingly grateful for even a pat on the head, and feeding them calls for paroxysms of joy. That'll do.