Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Rules of Etiquette

All the rules. There are so many. We have always tried to follow them as best as we could. Sarah always promptly sends a thank you note, we RSVP in a timely manner, we send gifts, etc. However, I'm becoming increasingly confused about one specific topic - the gift give. After I explain my confusion I'm going to touch on another issue.

The Gift Give -
Ok, soooooo. Sarah is pregnant (not again, but over a year ago). We have five baby showers. A lot of people come to these showers. Many of which are friends of my mother. They give very nice gifts. We send thank you. Fast forward a year, same friend of my mother's son gets engaged. Sarah is invited to shower. We do not know wife-to-be (from Adam's house cat). Sarah does not attend, but sends nice gift. We receive nice thank you note from Bride-to-be we do not know. Bride gets pregnant. Bride has baby shower. Sarah is invited to baby shower. Again, we still don't know this girl. I wouldn't know her if I ran her over in a car.

Now, Bride and Groom neither got us a wedding gift nor a baby shower gift. Only groom's mother. And now, we are getting invited to all bride and groom's stuff. Do we send yet another gift? I think the answer is yes because groom's mother gave us a nice baby and wedding gift. Does everyone agree with that?

My question is, where is the cut-off?

I'm so confused. Clearly, you have to give a gift if you received one - I know that. BUT in actuality, I think you should give a gift because you WANT to, not because you HAVE to. But then, do people give gifts because they know their turn is coming and they'll want a gift? I sorta think so. Nonetheless, we're sending another gift. Sarah's not going - mainly because she doesn't know this girl at all, but secondly, we'll be out of town.

Keeping with the gifting issues - We've been burned by gift givers. There have been people (who I really want to call out by name here, but will not because I'm better than that) who consider themselves the benchmark for all thing "appropriate." These bench markers did all the "appropriate" things for us. When this benchmark became pregnant, we gave her a very nice gift. A VERY NICE GIFT. We felt like that was the right thing to do for her and we knew she would reciprocate (read above about gift giving to gift get - oh well, we're not perfect). Well, when she sent her gift to our baby shower, boy were we ever surprised. Our expensive gift was reciprocated with a "box of crayons". I'm convinced that she re-gifted it because it was ugly. I was shocked. Dumbfounded. Confused.

Now, I know what you're thinking, perhaps we didn't know what was going on in her life at the moment. Maybe they had to all of a sudden pay back taxes, replace the air conditioning unit, a hospital bill (from the boob job), or even keep up her coke habit, nonetheless, nothing they presented alluded to the fact there were money troubles. In fact, she's the kind of person that wants everyone to think that everything is always perfect in her world - which is far from the truth.

Anyway - wow, this has been a lot longer than I anticipated - after this incident, we told ourselves, regardless of what was "appropriate," we were no longer giving gifts to people who 1) did not give us one (it's fine if you think we're selfish) 2) going to allow the same gift budget for everyone (unless you're a really good friend of ours).

I say this because, as usual, we just received an invitation to another baby shower for another bench marker. We'll call her "Traci" Traci was invited to our shower. She didn't come. She didn't send a gift. Whatever. You don't have to. But don't invite me to one of yours and expect us to give you a gift. Not going to happen. So, she is the first recipient of new Rule #1. It may be painful, but we're going to do it. She even called and gave us some lame excuse about "Oh, I didn't get the invite until after the shower had happened and I have a gift for you, I'll just give it to your mom at work." Never happened!!!!!!! Because she's a LIAR.

So whatever Traci - you're not getting a gift from the White's. You won't even miss it amid all the other fabulous gifts you'll get.

Oh NO - Traci's mother-in-law gave us a Wedding gift and baby gift WHAT DO WE DO???????