Etiquette question: sympathy card from a VP

My Grandfather died last week. Work was really great about it - since we’re, among other things, the third largest florist in the country, I kind of expected that some flowers would show up at the funeral home. I was right.

Anyway, I also ended up getting a hand-addressed sympathy card from somebody who turns out to be our VP of HR.

What’s the proper etiquette for this situation? Normally, with friends and acquaintances, I follow up with an email, a call, or a personal thank-you, but this is the first time I’ve received any kind of notice from anybody Up There.

I’m sorry to hear about your grandfather. I’m glad your employer was supportive, that can make a big difference when you are trying to cope with an emotional family situation.

A thank you note, handwritten, would be fine, with a very basic “Thank you very much for your thoughtful card, your words of sympathy were greatly appreciated at this difficult time. Sincerely, Black Rabbit.”

Because it was sent to you based on a professional, rather than personal, relationship, you could also reference the company, if you wish (and it seems like you really did feel your employer was supportive), and say something like “Thank you so much for your thoughtful card. My family and I were very touched by the support and kindness shown to us by everyone at LargeFlorist. Sincerely, Black Rabbit” It is okay to reference the entire company, because the VP of HR is also acting as a representative of the company. And the VP of HR would probably appreciate the feedback about the general climate of support for employees at your company.

delphica said it best. A handwritten thank you note using either one of her suggestions would be exactly the thing to do.

The etiquette here is usually that a sympathy card which is only signed doesn’t require a thank-you note. Personal notes and any contributions are supposed to be acknowledged, according to standard etiquette. So, if the VP just signed his or her name, you are off-the-hook according to the strictest interpretation of the etiquette rule.

That said, since this was sort of above-and-beyond (personally addressed and signed, and from a bigwig in your company) and because you say that the company (for which the VP was acting as a representative) was supportive, I definately think an acknowledgement is in order.

I can’t improve on the wording suggested by delphica in her second example. If you have personalized stationary or note cards, you should use that to write the note (so long as it isn’t in a frivolous style). Good quality blank writing paper would be fine, too. Or, if you don’t have good, plain writing paper, get a very simple thank you note (nothing with flowers or anything – just a plain white or ecru card with ‘Thank You’ on the front in black) and copy those exact words inside.

Well, maybe not those exact words. :wink:

I didn’t know you had to say thank you for a card. However, in this case you can express gratitude for the card and the gracious treatment by the employer so it makes sense.

I’m sorry for your loss.

Sounds good. Thanks.

And thanks for the good vibes.

Or if you really wanna go old school, get some proper mourning paper, plain paper with a thin black border around it.