Those who know me know that I love handwritten notes. Given the chance, I’ll always send a handwritten thank-you, birthday card, or holiday card, especially when I can do something that’s been letterpress printed. They’ve always been a way for me to differentiate myself, stay connected, and indulge my love of paper, pens, and decorative stamps. I’ve sent hundreds of cards and notes over the years. They’ve had a huge marketing benefit for me; I can definitively tie those cards to thousands of dollars of income.
But I fear that my love of handwritten notes has now made me a relic.
Earlier this summer, I had a really good call with a prospective client. I knew that they weren’t making the decision for another 10 days or so, so I took the time to write a handwritten note to thank my contact for her time. Two weeks later, when I pinged her for a follow-up, she said that I lost out on the project because I didn’t send a thank-you after the meeting. I was mortified. I had said lovely things with fountain pen and paper! (To the best of my knowledge, that card has never arrived.)
I then wondered whether this was a one-time issue, or if the ongoing postal service crisis was sabotaging my efforts. I started asking around and discovered the following:
- Two missing birthday cards (one containing a gift card)
- One missing sympathy card
- Several delayed holiday cards, including one that arrived seven months late!
- Two holiday cards that arrived on time, but mangled and illegible
- At least three missing thank-you notes
- One missing “get well/thinking of you” card
In the scheme of things, this is drop in the bucket. It’s less than one percent of the cards and handwritten notes that I’ve sent in my lifetime. Unfortunately, that’s still outside my scope for acceptable loss.
This upcoming holiday season, I’ll have to resign myself to emailing my well-wishes to clients and coworkers. It’s the sad end of an era.