How long does it take to say thank you in person?  One second?  Two at the most, right?

That’s why verbal “thank you”s, offered at the time of the courtesy, are so often forgotten or dismissed as a reflex.

When someone does something nice for you, you should respond with an appropriate card, sent via mail carrier.

Thank you notes are also an effective way to be remembered by members of your community.  It is even more effective if the kindness you’re thanking the person for is rather simple or was easy for them to provide.  The thank you card will then seem less like an obligation and more like sincere gratitude.

I keep a stack of thank you cards right next to my computer.  Since I sit down to write here everyday, I am thinking about my day while I stare at the monitor.  Make sure you put a stack of thank you cards (and postage!) in a conspicuous place so you’ll remember to use them.

SPECIAL NOTE:  If you’ve experience a kindness for which etiquette dictates a thank you card (wedding, baby shower, birthday gift) make sure you send the card in a timely manner.  A friend of mine recently gave a very nice gift to good friends for their wedding.  When the card arrived six months later, he was more offended than he was before he received the card.  So be warned:  a late card is WORSE than no card at all.