We've all heard about the multiple horror stories of the "expected gratuity" and in a leading digest, one of the writers goes into hilarious detail about how everyone from the garbage men to the paper delivery folks to the lawn care team, are so bold as to leave you empty, self-addressed envelopes for you to put hard earned cash in, and stamp it and mail it back to them. They've somehow been encouraged to expect it.
In a similar vein, as we and our spouses PCS around the country and the world, ever notice how it has become almost an expectation by some of "us" that we'll receive a "going away" gift, simply because we existed through the assignment? Or on the flip-side, ever been hit-up no-notice, "Hey, I need five bucks for your portion of the gift for Them." What's up with this? When did we gravitate from presenting a gift to those that really, truly gave an effort "above and beyond" to now feeling embarrassed when we don't give a gift to seemingly everyone? Making the flip-side even more distressing-when we find that someone has slipped through the crack and didn't receive a gift, now we're horrified and they have hurt feelings. So, if there's no laying of gifts, everyone feels bad.
Personally, the boxes are already full of those things near and dear. Rather than sustaining our current philosophy, how positive a change could we effect if instead of a gift, we all agreed to put that money towards any one of the great causes highlighted on this and other blogs? Donate the money in the honoree's name, yes? Or acknowledge it by saying every 6 months we'll honor each of you that PCS in this time frame, with one, larger donation?
As an alternative to acquiring "something," let's redefine how we say "you're going to be missed, and we thank you for what you've done for us. We are helping others, in your name."
(... let me know if this also works on the paperboy and the garbage men!) O&O, MaintenanceToadOne