Friday, 8 August 2008

The loss of courtesy

When I was a lad, my parents taught me to write my "thank-you" letters the day after receiving presents, and so some of Boxing Day was set aside to write to Uncles and Aunts thanking them for their gifts, as was the day following my birthday. It was common courtesy to reply.

It seems that this courtesy has disappeared, along with the art of hand-writing letters.

I wrote to the Inspecting Architect of one of my churches on 23rd June asking a question that required a response. I heard nothing, and so I sent a follow-up letter, with a copy of my original page, on 30th July. I have still not had a reply, or even an acknowledgement of my letters. If I have not heard anything by Monday's post, another letter will be sent. He's not doing himself any favours with this in-action as we can easily ask the Diocese to appoint someone else as the architect for that church, and may well do so.

Back in February I left some documents and a book for the attention of the College Archivist at the Security lodge of a well-known public school on the south coast. I have never had any acknowledgement of this gift, and last week I wrote to the Headmaster asking if the items had been passed on. No reply so far from that quarter either.

Last year I offered this old 19th century amateur watercolour of Liverpool docks to the city Museum, and they said they would very much like to have it for their Local History collection. It was sent, but once again, I never had a "thank you".

In my schooldays, the comment would have been, "Could do better".


  1. I agree with all of your observations. One comment I will make is that, during my seven years in this part of the USA I have found that simple courtesies are still very important and are very much encouraged.

    Thank you for this post!

  2. Yesterday the Headmaster's secretary phoned and apologised for the delay in replying, but that the school hoildays meant that the office had been closed. I half expected that. She is now on the archivist case, and seeing if the items I left ever reached her.