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The Thank You Card Syndrome

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thank you card

Cheap versus Frugal. Part 2. <this is my rant > 
I have a 60+ year old sister (now an ex-family member) who is UNBELIEVABLY CHEAP!
If she is reading this, I want to say to her face, "you are a TIGHTWAD C*NT!" 
Friends, family and mutual cohorts have shared with me their experiences with my cheap, selfish, greedy sister. Even as a millionaire, she will not show true generosity but have absolutely no problem taking, accepting and even imposing generosity from others. She is a hopeless case! 

Now what is the difference between Cheap and Frugal?

Most of us will agree that being frugal is a good thing, but frugality has a rogue cousin named cheap, and while the two are closely related we never want to be known for being the second. It can sometimes be hard to know when we’re crossing the line from frugal to cheap.

Taking advantage of the generosity of others

If you’re of the frugal mindset, you get the bartering thing: you do something for me, I do something for you. If you’re cheap, I’ll do something for you…and that’s about where it will end. Some examples:

  • A neighbor drives her kids and your kids to the mall two or three times a month, you never or rarely drive them in
  • You have regular lunches with a friend who sometimes picks up the lunch tab for both of you, you never reciprocate
  • Friends or family members have you over for dinner several times a year, but you never invite them to your house, at least not for dinner
  • Rather than buying your own hedge clippers you borrow your neighbors when ever you need it; it’s been this way for years and you rely on the arrangement

These are classic examples of taking advantage of the generosity of others, which is the backdoor version of being cheap. Some people are generous by nature, but that should never mean we take advantage of them.

Unfortunately for my sister - she would "take advantage" and has multiple times. 

It dawned on me about a year ago that my sister suffers from what I like to call the Thank You Card syndrome. 
As a child, my sister had taught me that it is socially polite and proper manners to send a Thank You Card to people who had given you a nice gift, offered their time, gave you personal belongings or provided a service that benefited you - a handwritten Thank You card would acknowledge their acts of generosity and kindness that was bestowed to you without a price. 

I wholeheartedly agree with this etiquette.  I personally had received 3 Thank You cards from my own sister for orchestrating 3 special and expensive event/gifts that put a big smile on her face. She was very grateful and expressed in the Thank You card how lucky she was to have me as her brother.

Little did I realized these Thank You Cards were her crutch. 

My millionaire sister would NEVER reciprocate value for value - to anyone not even to me.
There is always a cost limit to her "generosity" (and believe me, it's a LOW limit).
In her feeble mind,  a written Thank You card holds value equivalent to the gift or service or time you had given her. 
For her to send you a Thank You card - she feels she has done her dual diligence. 
She will always accept your $100 or $1000 gift but you will never see that equivalent pricetag return from her. 

People who are Cheap will always find the cheapest way to reciprocate their gratitude - and what Cheap way it is to just write a Thank You card and do nothing more - ever!

My sister may have had humble beginnings but she completely lost her way, engulfed in the greedy selfish world of Dog-Eat-Dog, "there is no such thing as a free lunch coming from me" and forgotten the true priorities in life = Friends and Family.
She is a living example that wisdom does NOT come with age.

The moral of this blog post: a Thank You card is good etiquette but always see beyond this act. Generosity is a 2 way street. 

As for my 60+ year old sister - she will one day die and the world will be a better place. 

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