The Power of Thank You

D.K. Wall
5 min readJul 9, 2023

Despite this week’s postage rate increase, a handwritten letter still far outweighs the cost and enhances the power of thank you.

The price of a first class stamp in the United States increased from $0.63 to $0.66 Sunday. That has a couple implications. Your Forever stamps languishing in your desk drawer outperformed your retirement investments last week. And mailing anything will cost more this coming week, not that it matters much since we rely on the mail much less than we used to.

In 2006, the USPS delivered an estimated 213 billion units of mail. By 2022, that dropped to 127 billion, a 40% decrease.

First class mail has declined even more dramatically. It fell from its peak of 103.7 billion units in 2001 to only 48.9 billion in 2022, a reduction of more than half.

Not a single bill comes in my mail any more. Nor do I pay anything by check. Everything has become electronic. For the most part, I’m fine with that.

But I have one major exception-handwritten thank-you notes.

Like much of my generation, I heard from my parents the importance of writing a thank-you note after receiving a present. As a kid, I didn’t quite get it. Hadn’t I told the giver thank you? Why waste the time sitting down and scribbling out a brief note to repeat what I had already said?

Like so many other childhood lessons, though, the value became clear early in adulthood.

I went for the first round of job interviews. I did well in the short meetings with several managers, but wasn’t at the top of their list. In fact, I probably wouldn’t have heard from them again, except for one detail. I was the only candidate who sent thank-you notes. Not just a note, but a separate note to each person I had met that day.

When I received the call to meet the big boss for the penultimate interview, I didn’t know that was the deciding factor. I found out when I sat down in his office. He opened a folder and showed me the stack of notes.

The recipients had even compared them to see if I had written the same thing to each one. But I didn’t. Oh, yes, they each started with a thank you for taking the time to meet with me and ended with the same expression of interest in the job. In the middle, though, was a sentence or two about something particular from that interviewer.

When I left the meeting with the big boss, I raced to write him a thank-you note. I didn’t have to, though, because they called with the job offer before he had received it.

Certainly, a thank-you note doesn’t always have that dramatic effect, but I’ve found they’ve always had a positive impact. And I think that sway is even greater today than when I was starting my career a few decades ago.

In today’s digital age, people receive dozens, even hundreds, of emails a day. Phones ping repeatedly with texts. Video conferences are constant. I can’t walk our neighborhood greenway without seeing at least one person talking on their cell phone.

But how many of those people have received a handwritten note today? This week? Month? Year?

Your own mail probably looks a lot like mine. Magazines. Ads. Maybe a computer-generated envelope made to look like a handwritten letter. I let my mail pile up and deal with it once a week. Sometimes I let it build for a second week. Nothing is that interesting.

But a handwritten missive? Something that feels personal? Yes, I will open that immediately.

And that’s why a letter is so much more powerful than an email. Or text. Those are good-better than nothing-but not the same.

In my desk drawer, you’ll find a stack of card stock with only my name printed at the top. The entire note will fit on that card. A simple sentence saying thank you along with the specific thing that makes me grateful. A second sentence that says how I will use the gift, knowledge, or whatever was shared. And a third sentence saying thank you again. The magic formula. The card slips into a hand-addressed envelope. A stamp, now three cents more expensive, applied.

A simple challenge for you this week. Find a piece of paper. It doesn’t have to be special paper. Anything works.

Grab a pen, sit down, and write a note. Mail it. And know you just put a smile on someone’s face.

P.S. — I’ll close with something just for you.

July 2023 Reader Survey Question

How Hot is Hot?

Each month, I ask the readers of my newsletter a question or two. Sometimes, my questions are random fun things that have nothing to do with books. Other queries are about reading and writing.

Join in the fun and answer this month’s survey when I ask about your favorite thing to cook on a backyard grill. The results will be shared in next month’s newsletter, so be sure you’re subscribed.

June 2023 Reader Survey Results

During summer, thoughts turn to backyard grilling and tasty meals. What menu item comes to your mind when firing up the grill?

Visit the results page.

Sour Notes: A Novel

To read a sample chapter, please visit the book page where you can also find links to various retailers. Happy reading!

Gratuitous Dog Photo: Squinting Into The Sun

Landon says that midday sun is really bright. And hot. And why isn’t he headed for some shade? Or, better, inside to the air conditioning? Don’t worry, that happened just a few minutes later.

Until Next Monday

Go ahead and write that thank-you note. Make someone’s day.

If you have questions or thoughts, drop them in the comments below.

See you next Monday.

The Power of Thank You was originally published at on July 9, 2023.



D.K. Wall

Author living in Asheville NC with a herd of rescued Siberian Huskies. My stories are totally true except for the parts I make up. Visit