Sending Congratulation STOP but the telegram has stopped STOP
September 29, 2010 7:09 PM   Subscribe

Now that telegrams are no more, how can I send congratulations to someone? Email and snail mail are out--this is a theatre opening, out of town, and the perfect occasion for a good, old-fashioned telegram. What do we do in this modern age? Thanks!
posted by largecorp to Society & Culture (17 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
Go with your gut. Send a telegram.
posted by amelioration at 7:14 PM on September 29, 2010 [10 favorites]

Find a local courier service and have them deliver a written ( printed email?) letter of congratulations.
posted by Gungho at 7:14 PM on September 29, 2010

I would send flowers.
posted by amro at 7:14 PM on September 29, 2010

The aptly named amelioration has the solution.
posted by John Cohen at 7:19 PM on September 29, 2010

Depending on your location, your friend's location and your timeline you might want to ask a friend or put up a MeFi jobs post and send someone over to them with flowers [offer them $20 to run the errand and you're probably saving money]. I've done this [in more informal ways, by asking friends and etc] and I always think the personal touch is nice and warmer.
posted by jessamyn at 7:25 PM on September 29, 2010

A singing telegram? Seems apropos for a theater opening. As long as you go with the classy singing bellhop option, rather than, say, a sexy cop.
posted by mumkin at 7:39 PM on September 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

Send flowers! Call a florist in the location directly. Even if this is outside their normal delivery hours some will accommodate you anyway. Find out what their minimum amount for delivery is and ask them to send something wrapped presentation style (with water tubes, which will keep the flowers perky till they have a chance to go into a vase.)
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 7:41 PM on September 29, 2010

Use this one! I've sent Telegram Stop telegrams several times and they've always been very well received. They make quite the keepsake.
posted by smirkyfodder at 7:44 PM on September 29, 2010 [5 favorites]

Sending flowers is traditional and lovely.
posted by bluedaisy at 8:07 PM on September 29, 2010

Seconding Telegram Stop! I wish someone would send me one of those!
posted by Spinneret at 12:49 AM on September 30, 2010

It looks like Telegram Stop "telegrams" are actually sent via the postal service -- letters that look like telegrams -- so you won't be able to get the urgency or the timed delivery of an actual telegram with them.

iTelegram bought Western Union's telegram business when they shut it down.
posted by mendel at 8:17 AM on September 30, 2010

post an ad at the local performing arts school or college. get one of the up & coming artists to do a little telegram. they might even be able to grab some props/costumes from back stage!
posted by UltraD at 9:18 AM on September 30, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks for the help and ideas. I think flowers will me the closest I can get in order to get my message delivered to a non-home address at a particular time (before the show, opening night). One of the telegram sites touts the "urgency" a telegram provides, but then points out it takes 4-6 days for delivery! A grave loss for our world, seems to me.
posted by largecorp at 11:09 AM on September 30, 2010

I am going to third Telegram Stop. Took exactly four days to get there and the recipient was thrilled. They also email you a replica of what gets sent.
What you lose in urgency, you gain in how authentic they look.
posted by eytanb at 11:59 AM on September 30, 2010

Point of interest: The telegram lives on in the amateur radiogram.

The only hard bit is going to be finding a ham who participates in traffic handling. If there's a ham club near you (phone book, Internet), that would be a good place to inquire. The American Radio Relay League also maintains an online directory of "nets." You'll want to search for a local, sectional, or state net near you that participates in the National Traffic System, and make contact with them. (Many nets run a web page, so search for their name, and if the directory lists the net manager's call sign you should try e-mailing also.)

When you finally get hold of a ham, he or she will help you compose a message. Must be noncommercial, must be 25 words or less (where a number, group of letters and digits, or punctuation mark counts as a word), may not be profane or obscene. Some standard abbreviations are available for brevity (such as SIXTY, "Wishing you the best of everything on _____").

Upsides: You get your message delivered, probably within a day. The traffic handling system (which operates every day to keep in practice for emergencies) has traffic to carry. Your friends receive your congratulations, and probably get hit up for a reply or other radiogram themselves.

The only downside is that the receiving operator will most likely not show up at the theater on a fixie in a spiffy uniform and present the message on a happily retro typewritten form (for happily retro forms, see the Bureau of Communication). Telephone or, failing that, local mail are more usual means of delivery.
posted by eritain at 4:09 PM on September 30, 2010 [32 favorites]

I can't seem to find any information on international amateur radiograms. If it's possible, I would like to send a happy birthday message to Poland. How would I go about doing this?
posted by LiteOpera at 10:08 AM on October 2, 2010

@eritain, it appears as though U.S. amateur radio operators cannot pass third-party traffic (messages) to/from Poland, according to the list of countries with which the U.S. has third-party traffic agreements. Here is more information on ARRL's National Traffic System.
posted by SillyShepherd at 7:56 AM on October 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

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