I'm not usually one to complain about things like manners regarding baby showers, bridal showers, etc. because I know that everyone has circumstances beyond their control. But lately a few things have been bugging me.
The first is the lack of people responding to a request to RSVP. I know I've been guilty of this more than once, so I'm not too critical about it. However, when you have more guests that DON'T respond than who DO, it gets annoying. It's especially awkward when you have to call each person and ask, "Are you coming to my shower?" FYI everyone - it's ok to say no, but when someone asks you to RSVP, PLEASE say something by the date indicated on the invitation. "No" is much more preferable to silence. Also, if you say "yes," please make every effort to come, especially if the people throwing the shower are serving a meal. They've prepared food for you, so it's only polite to come and eat it, otherwise the hosts could have saved their money by not including you.
The second is something that I've noticed more and more, and again I'm not overly upset about it because I know that lots of people have fallen on hard times, but if you are going to a shower, especially one that is serving you a meal, it is nice to bring a small gift or at the very least a card. Otherwise you give the appearance that you are only there for the meal, which is discouraging to the person being honored and the people throwing the shower. If you can't afford a card, then at least make one yourself and pen your own thoughts/prayers/wishes in it. Showing up with absolutely nothing at all is simply bad form and makes you appear thoughtless or cheap.
This last one is the one that stumps me the most. I've received gift cards from friends, family, coworkers and students. Gift cards are wonderful, but not when they're previously used with no balance left. I've received more than one that had no balance on it. One of them actually had the code on the back scratched off but was regifted anyway. Another was a brand new card that was never charged at the cash register. In these cases I wonder, why bother? Are you trying to look like you're giving a gift when you're actually not? Why even bother going to all that trouble? Why not just avoid the shower and not give anything at all? Or simply give a card without a gift?
I personally find this practice of gifting used or blank gift cards absolutely rude. Twice I've gone to the checkout, thinking that I had money on the gift card, and it turned out there was none. One time I actually had to leave everything I was buying and come back later when I had some cash. How frustrating! Please, if you do this, please stop. It's very frustrating for your friends, even if it saves you from embarrassment.
Don't get me wrong, I am thankful for the gifts people have given me and for everyone who has shown up at my showers. I love you and appreciate you all very much. I just think a lot of us can brush up on our manners when it comes to this stuff.