Author Topic: Viral birthday present letter  (Read 3173 times)

Unkempt Stash

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 46
Viral birthday present letter
« on: April 19, 2015, 09:23:39 AM »
For those who haven't seen it:
http://www.scarymommy.com/mom-sends-detailed-email-about-what-gifts-she-wont-accept-for-her-sons-first-birthday/

I nearly posted this in the AntiMustache category but I wasn't sure that I'm not crazy.

Certainly the tone could have been nicer, but this seems like a clear 'we have too much stuff, please get less or I'll be changing it into things we need rather than want. '

How does everyone else see it?

justajane

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2147
  • Location: Midwest
Re: Viral birthday present letter
« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2015, 10:05:58 AM »
I saw it too. I didn't think the first half was that bad. We send similar precise requests to grandparents. I also didn't have a problem with saying that the kid already has X number of books, thus they don't need anymore. We have done that too. I mean if your 2 year old already has 10 pairs of footie jammies, it makes sense to communicate this to close relatives. But I'm still unclear who they sent this letter to. Just grandparents? This type of specificity is only appropriate for close family. If they sent specific requests unsolicited to friends, it was not cool.

By any measure, the second half of the letter, however, was beyond the pale. If you are going to return a gift, you absolutely never tell the one who gave you the gift or ask so forthrightly for a receipt. You say "thank you very much" and return whatever you don't like. And the part about using the proceeds to buy formula? Tacky, tacky, tacky.

That letter overall was a major breach of etiquette and deserved to be skewered. It was tactless to say the least.

Erica/NWEdible

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 881
    • Northwest Edible Life - life on garden time
Re: Viral birthday present letter
« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2015, 10:13:47 AM »
It's tonedeaf. I think I understand where the letter is coming from - I hate knowing that someone spent $80 on a gift we'll never use that we can't exchange or take back. It just seems so wasteful, of their money and generosity. So I'm sympathetic, but this letter is still tacky.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2015, 12:12:50 PM by Erica/NWEdible »

Cpa Cat

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1564
Re: Viral birthday present letter
« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2015, 10:43:54 AM »
The letter comes across as totally over the top. And yet... I don't have children, but I can understand where this letter might be coming from.

It practically screams, "HOW MANY TIMES DO I HAVE TO TELL YOU PEOPLE THAT I HAVE NO SPACE FOR ALL THE STUFF YOU BUY FOR MY KID!?!"

And it's easy to say, "Well, just say "No gifts please" or just donate what you don't want..."

But I've known many people who tried the "No gifts please" route, only to have people (particularly grandparents) totally disregard it and buy a bunch a stuff anyway. AND THEN they expect to actually see the stuff being played with or worn or on display. So just donating doesn't work for some families.

The whole line about formula is just emphasizing the message of, "Seriously people. We're poor. We can barely afford the basics.  Stop wasting your money and our space on garbage."

I have family members who just took on the policy with grandparents that gifts from grandparents stay at the grandparents' house to be played with and worn while the children stay with the grandparents. They just couldn't stop the grandparents from buying all this STUFF, but there was just no room for it anymore. I can only imagine how much more frustrating it would be if you're barely scraping enough pennies together for the stuff your kid actually needs.

Paul der Krake

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4456
  • Age: 11
  • Location: USA
Re: Viral birthday present letter
« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2015, 10:47:44 AM »
What kind of formula costs $80/week?!

MayDay

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3902
Re: Viral birthday present letter
« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2015, 01:45:04 PM »
What kind of formula costs $80/week?!

The types that are special enough to be $$$ but not special enough to be prescription. Or it's prescription but that is their copay.

alice76

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 62
Re: Viral birthday present letter
« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2015, 02:31:57 PM »
This letter comes across as incredibly rude and entitled, even though I get the sentiment behind it.

As for the $80/wk formula- it could be the German brand, Holle, that a certain set of Whole Checkbook parents seem gaga over. It hasn't been approved by the FDA, and some parents go through great lengths (and I imagine expense) to get it delivered to the U.S. without going through x-rays at the airport. Note that I am just the messenger, here ;)

MayDay

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3902
Re: Viral birthday present letter
« Reply #7 on: April 19, 2015, 02:42:13 PM »
The letter comes off as rude, but I have these thoughts practically daily.  So I don't blame them. 

The mountains and mountains of crap are just unbelievable.  For us, my mom and MIL are the worst. 

MIL goes to walmart for every birthday (used to be Kmart until that closed.... So at least now I can return some of it as we don't have a kmart near us) and I think just fills the cart of with various 3$ to 10$ items.  Because naturally lots of junky junk is better than one thing they actually want! 

My mom picks up little odds and ends when she sees them on clearance.  A pack of stickers here, a doll dress there.  Individually they are all nice and thoughtful.  But the last time we visited she spread out all the "little" stuff she had been collecting for the kids.  It covered the whole bed.  She wanted me to pack it all home with us since we won't be visiting over the summer.  Some I shoved in the suitcase (and turned around and donated when we got home), some I save for Christmas stockings (hardly have to buy a thing) some I told her wouldn't fit. 

Ugh. 

justajane

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2147
  • Location: Midwest
Re: Viral birthday present letter
« Reply #8 on: April 19, 2015, 02:55:26 PM »
My MIL just downsized and mailed us a heavy box full of crap - random books she had bought, sports memorabilia she thought the kids would like. I shit you not there was a National Geographic in there from the 1980s. What kills me is that it cost $25 to mail the box, which is far more than what the stuff in the box was worth. I guess Goodwill never crossed her mind.

She's driving her car from where she lives to us next week, even though she usually flies to visit us. Now that they've closed on their house, I fully accept that more shit is to follow.

So, yes, I understand how the mounds and mounds of stuff that enters a family's home can lead them to breaches of etiquette once in a while.

Unkempt Stash

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 46
Re: Viral birthday present letter
« Reply #9 on: April 19, 2015, 05:40:44 PM »
I'm glad I'm not just crazy.

It's certainly not kindly put, but it doesn't come off as entitled to gifts as much as tired of getting useless stuff.

I think that the email was sent to only a few people, and possibly only to a few very difficult family members.

hunniebun

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 544
Re: Viral birthday present letter
« Reply #10 on: April 20, 2015, 08:37:10 AM »
I think it is super useful to send a wish list for kids birthday parties to families and I always appreciate it when people send me one for their kids...but usually is looks more like Little Tommy likes Lego and spiderman right now...rather than a dictated list with links on where to buy it!  But people bring whatever they want and then you accept it graciously and either keep, return or donate quietly after the fact. The second part of theletter is what pushes it over the edge!    My MIL is a shopper like @mayday mentioned. She buys stuff on sale all year round and then come Christmas has a mountain of crap wrapped. My son is now 6 and was so disappointed this Christmas when he got like 20 gifts from her...but it was all crap.  All he wanted was lego and she must have spent 5X when one Lego set cost on this stuff he didn't want or need.  ALL of it is a box awaiting our spring garage sale.  Sad but true.   But on the bright side it a good lesson for my son. A) you don't always get what you want and b) you graciously say thank you regardless of what you receive.