Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Are the Duggars Your Friends?

Trolling the message boards I see post after post asking about "How do I send little Josie the so-and-so I made for her?" and it really makes me wonder about people. You know that these women have kind and loving hearts, watch the Duggars every week, see Michelle do her interviews and probably think she is speaking directly to them. In fact, during some episodes you see her speak to perfect strangers as if they were her best friends. So it's easy to see how a person can get drawn in to feel that the Duggars really are your own next door neighbours and you know them---but what you forget is--they don't know you.

I'm sure the Duggars would love to know that their fans are out in the world praying for them and wishing them well. I'm also sure that if and when they do meet their fans on the street that greet them with a smile, and if they have time, even talk to them. They've said they don't have time to answer emails, which is the reason they wrote their book and began their website (which has long ago been rather abandoned--for good reason if you ask me--they do have a lot on their plate right now!) But until that day comes when you actually meet and greet the Duggars in person, they don't know you and this "relationship" we all have with them is terribly one-sided. They've let us into their lives, but we haven't let them into ours.

Now I have to admit I've had those weird moments where I've thought "I should send that to the Duggars." I really want them to have a copy of "The Tightwad Gazette." Which is a book of money saving tips that would help them save even more--a lot of which they use, but they aren't using to their full advantage--I think Jim Bob would devour it. I was also watching an Israeli movie called "Ushpuzin" and thought "Wow I should send them a copy" because they were always looking for family-friendly movies they could watch. This was after watching the episode when they went to the Christian film festival. Yes it was in Hebrew with subtitles, but it was a family-friendly movie with a good message that would have bridged a gap and taught their kids a good lesson. It was also religious and took place in Israel. But then, I'm not their friend, I don't know them, why would I send them things in the mail? Like I said, I've read many many posts on the Facebook message board asking how to send them gifts, and I even wrote on one "Springdale is so small I'm sure if you just wrote "The Duggar Family, Tonitown, AR" and the zip code, I'm sure it would get there." Afterall, I'm sure their local post office is used to getting plenty of fan mail for them with all kinds of unusual addresses for them.

Now this next part I'm stealing from a message board, but apparently one woman did send a gift to the Duggar for the baby, the box had been opened and a note inside said "Thank you for thinking of us, but no thank you". Please donate to your favorite charity, place of worship or children's hospital" It was signed, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar Family. I have to tell you I cried and have stewed over this. I know they are celebrities and there are some sick and weird people out there, but we are offended. "

My opinion of this is that the Duggars did the right thing by sending it back. Could the note been a bit friendlier? Possibly. Frankly at this point I'm amazed they don't have some printed up by now en masse--you'd think they have tons of stuff rolling in from fans. But the point is, if you analyze it from a truly Duggar standpoint, they stayed true to their values. They don't need anything for Josie--so keeping things they don't need would be wrong--they have plenty in every sense of the word. It would be wrong of them to donate the item on the other person's behalf, because they don't know that person, in a way, that would be even more rude. The gift was acknowledged and they let the person know their wishes.

When you think about it, in the age after 9/11 and if they read the message boards at all, you wonder why they open any packages at all--they are aware they have NON-fans out there. In this day and age it wouldn't surprise me at all if all things were sent back unopened "returned to sender." So if you look at it from that point of view, the sender was lucky to have received an acknowledgment at all.

It would be great, if the Duggars had the time and thought, to put a message out there on their website and the TLC website to have fans stop sending gifts and/or to send them to a specific charity or charity of that person's choice. It would stop, or slow, the mail flow and stop the "hurt" feelings.


  1. Interesting post, it was something I'd never thought about.

    I think the Duggars are are in awkward position with this, as well as many other situations. Because they appear in own homes on a regular basis, I can (sort of) see how people could assume they're like friends. But to the Duggar family, we're ALL strangers.

    As far as sending people you don't know gifts? It makes me question the emotional stability of the sender. And to be offended and/or crying when the package gets sent back? That's VERY weird to me. I can understand a young teen writing fan letters or even sending a gift, and being "crushed" that the object of her affections rebuffed her offering. But an adult?

    I'm surprised with all the crazy people in our world they would even open packages that came from complete strangers. It seems too trusting and naive in today's world.

    Another sad thought (other than bombs and anthrax) is that there might be people who thought it was funny to send them highly inappropriate gifts. I can easily imagine lots of things that would be a joke to the sender, but very disturbing to the family.

    I think the Duggars should post something on their website (if they ever decide to update it) that expresses their appreciation for the kind thoughts but requests that gifts be donated to...whatever they choose.

  2. A agree that they should post something on their website. I know they are busy...but it doesn't take long to say, thanks. I think they are wise to send packages back. They have TONS of fans and TONS of haters. I wonder do the kids get fan mail. I mean, they are FAMOUS.

    MaryBeth I think you made a comment earlier about people complaining about their website not being updated. Well, it hasn't been updated much since Jennifer's birth. We all know Jennifer was born before Jordyn.

    Hope people don't get all uptight because the Duggars are just being careful. Too bad the WHOLE World knows where they live.

  3. I've said it before--they have no clue or no reference point "tv-wise" to what fame means...they didn't know who dolly parton was--they know people know who they are when they walk down the street, but since they don't watch TV (not even the news) they don't have a gauge with which to measure fame...so for all they know, people are just waving to them because they are a big family and saw them on the "Today" show or read about them in "People"--for all they know people that wave to them don't have TVs either.

    They do lean to the naive. I think when this whole thing started they even invited strangers to their home to their home worship service--if they still do that or not, I have no idea. If you're in Little Rock you could now show up to the church they are worshipping in and just walk up to them and make friends, since we now all know where they are going to church.

    I do think in the beginning they did try to answer emails and answer mail, because they had no clue what they were in for. That's where the book came in. I've sent them an email and it wasn't answered. I got the hint--now that I see that their website hasn't been updated, I understand that they aren't paying attention and probably won't be for awhile. The babies have been coming 1-2-3 for awhile now and I'm sure they have a "personal" email they keep up with friends and family, but the "public" email is probably just not a priority right now.

    However, they do seem to keep up to date on TLC's website, you'd think they could post something there--or even a "personal video blog" since I'm sure they are getting tons of packages--and not just to their home address, but can you imagine the amount of mail they are getting at the Children's Hospital??

  4. There are people from Russia, Australia, and Iceland who are on some forums I've seen. People in ICELAND know the Duggars! Wow! Maybe you are right about them not realizing just how popular they are.

    Someone in Russia was complaining about Michelle wearing black pantie hose ALL year round. I re-watched old episodes and sure enough Michelle is ALWAYS wearing black socks or knee highs...and this is something I've never noticed after all these years of watching them. She also said Jana was wearing red nail polish on her toes during the People magazine shoot(this is the one when they all are jumping for joy). Well, you know I had to see for my self...and sure enough she had red toes. I know Anna does her toes, but I was SO shocked to see Jana's toes done in "red". Red is a very bold and sexy color. Good to know Jana actually has time to do her toes. :)

  5. Josh claims to be a website designer, as one of his businesses, and is in charge of not only his personal site, but that of his family. He has also been working on *shaking my head and sputtering* the Bates family website, which is STILL under construction, last time I checked. He uses templates for his used car lot, it's not something he designed.

    It's been said that he has more pressing matters to deal with, and excuses are often made as to why he doesn't complete the tasks he's chosen to undertake.

    I have far more questions than answers when it comes to this topic!

  6. I knew they used a web designer to do their site, but was NOT aware that Josh was behind it--his site always seems to be far more up to date than his parents'. I've seen the Bates' and yes-it is always "under construction," but to be fair, that may not be his fault, it could be that they haven't given him all the info for it--it takes a lot to get all the info together for a family that big to build a site that big!

    However I will agree that it does seem he's taken on many "hats" and doesn't seem to be wearing them all. But you have to wonder if many of them fit--just how many people are hiring him to be a "political consultant?" Probably not many. He does make money as an audio/visual guy from TLC because he's listed in the credits--so there's an additional paycheck there to whatever he makes from just appearing on the show. Who knows if he gets any additional money doing additional gigs. I remember back in the late 90s when EVERYONE I knew all of a sudden became a web designer--big freakin' deal! hahaha

  7. I will admit that I have NEVER seen an episode of "The Real World." But I do know what it is and can you just imagine one of the Duggars on it--I can see Amy on it--but the Duggar kids wouldn't last a day! hahaha

    I've noticed Michelle wearing the dark hose myself. After having so many kids she probably has varicose veins and the dark hose probably hides them.

    One thing I wonder if anyone remembers...the episode when the boys and girls switched jobs--how embarassed she was when she had to explain to the boys what the pantyhose bag in the laundry room was for--they boys didn't know what "hose" was. She didn't want to describe it to them on camera and then one of them picked up a pair and held it up on film and she grabbed them so fast and put them in the bag you'd have thought it was a snake! I just about died laughing!

  8. I don't remember the pantyhose part of that episode, darn, it sounds funny!

    Marybeth, you've never seen REAL WORLD? Guess what? Until reading about it here, I'd never heard of it!

    I hadn't heard of Wife Swap (which I have no desire to watch) until the Ballon Boy incident!

  9. We don't have TV service so anything i watch is on the internet...or dvds from the library or ones i already own...i love visiting mom...CABLE! hahaha

    It would be interesting to see how the kids' faith evolves...Josh will be the first example...he is trying to be like his dad with the morning Bible study but it didn't look very productive and Anna looked a little disappointed and a little more hopeful....but at the same time they were being filmed, so it's not really fair--trying to do a bible study first thing in the morning with a camera in your face is kind of rough--i just have to play devil's advocate there, but i think Josh is trying...and i know Anna is definately sticking to her Faith

  10. One thought about parcels - the website has included (and in the last year or so) an address for parcels that is sperate from the postal address. It's actually John David's I think or Josh's business address.
    One might question why they put that rather than please don't send parcels, if they didn't want to receive them.
    Just like Marybeth I've had the 'oh the Duggars would love this...' thought but I too just realised that they don't have the time to receive it.
    One thing that does irritate me is that in almost every question and answers episode or even on Fb they always seem to get the same questions.... Why those people can't do what we all seem to and rewatch episodes, trawl through info and reread the book to get the answers I don't know and it's takes away a perfectly good question slot!!
    I have seen a couple of comments along the line of I know where they live - what would happen if I dropped by the house, which I think is scarey and according to a friend of the Duggars some people actually do that. I think they were nieve when they started this but are realising the implications now. In the book they basically gave a fairly good description of where their house is but if you look on Google earth it has been blanked out. (don't ask why I had to look)

    And just to reply to Marybeth's last comment - perhaps Josh isn't so very used to leading a bible study - after all Jim Bob would have done it for him for most of his life. It's taken me 2 years to get comfortable leading prayer out loud and I still get toungue tied sometimes, because I am not that practised. Just a thought...

  11. How many of these people that are sending the Duggars packages of things for their kids would accept gifts from strangers for their kids? I'm betting not very many.

    Now personally I would have just sent a thank you and donated it to a homeless shelter, but maybe they felt that wouldn't be honest??

    Mrs P

  12. I'm sure at the beginning they thought they'd use the website as a way to connect with other families that were like them. They could share mail and even hand-me-downs with other large families with kids the same size--so it probably made sense. It was a way to communicate with families they met at ATI and other conferences that believed the way they did. They may have even figured that TLC fans would find them through TLC's website not through their Duggar website--who knows? I have a feeling when they became as huge as they did--and when Josie wound up in the hospital--the gifts FLEW in faster than they knew what to do.

    Someone on a message board said they send a handmade poem to Anna for MacKynzie and received a personalized thank you note--but she said it was probably because it wasn't a piece of clothing--it was a poem/wall hanging type thing that you couldn't send to another child or charity. I'm sure that Josh and Anna received a lot of things as well. Rumour had it they had their baby and/or wedding registry on their website but I never looked so I can't say if it's true.

    I can see why they put a diagram of their house in their book from one angle--to show people who are interested in the steel frame home and for people to once and for all see exactly what their house looks like since we've never seen the entire thing on the show. But for those who are paranoid and do see the world from another view--I'm not one of them--yes it does show every pedophile in the world exactly where their kids sleep. My husband is like that, would never even put our kids' names on their bedroom doors for decoration in case burglars broke in--frankly my brain just doesn't function that way--I just don't think bad things will happen, or more importantly, i don't EXPECT them to happen. Sometimes I believe some people live as if they expect bad things to happen and live as if they are just waiting for the bomb to fall. The Duggars obviously aren't that type of people--they were just showing what the steel house design is like for those interested. They aren't negative-minded people. My husband would have flipped out like those other people too. I do understand why their house is blanked out on google earth--at this point it's like Graceland.

  13. Hi, Marybeth,
    I've been reading your blog for some time about the Duggars and find your perspective so fresh.

    I would like to know why the word of one Internet person who said her baby gift was returned and was done so in a less than gracious fashion is taken at face value. If a person was trying to snark on the Duggars, wouldn't a good way to cause ill will be to : State that a gift had been made or purchased ( I don't know what category the gift even falls under, whether clothing, toy, or religious item).
    State the fact that the gift was returned after being opened, the implication being that it was somehow judged to be inferior. (BTW, if there is any validity to the anecdotal story, the Duggars' would have saved on return poostage by simply writing " REFUSED" across the box somewhere and handing it back to the Postal worker at the window. I am sure most people, including the Duggars, know this).

    It's my personal opinion that the story was fabricated. I believe that the Duggars do not solicit or expect any gifts for their children or themselves, nor do I know what they would do with the gifts received, but I do not believe they would do what this one person has said they did.

    Let's go back and remember that Josh and Anna had a public bridal registry which was shared with Internet posters who will never meet THEM.
    I think the family does not look for or accept charity but would accept a reasonable, new gift which could be cleaned to the standards which Josie will probably require for a long time.

    Thank you for allowing me to state my opinion on this. I am using the guidelines for polite gift receiving which my parents taught me.. I was raised as a mainstream Southern Baptist, and like you, was also an adopted baby. My parents had no reservations about giving me gifts from third parties. My father was in a position of public prominence due to his career in the public eye and people did feel like they knew our family... The big difference might be what has happened with the Duggars and packages in the past, of which we have no knowledge.
    Another is that I was adopted into my quasi-celeb. family in the 1960's... different world.

    1. i'm sure that the greedy Duggars wouldn't turn down anything that came from an online registry because it's safe and FREE.

  14. Well, if it happened, i think opening it, acknowledging it with a note, and returning it, is more polite than returning it "refused." It seems more "Duggar" to me. But I do think that it would have been rude of them to keep it, since I'm sure they received FAR MORE than any baby could ever need, and that would be some form of gluttony, since they could well provide for her themselves. And giving the gift to charity would have been wrong too--the gift wasn't meant for charity, it was meant for Josie and it wasn't their place to give it to charity. Giving it back was the right thing to do--but the note probably could have been worded better. I'm just back to what makes people send people on TV things--and think they're the ONLY people sending them things. Because think about it, this woman probably DID think she was the only one sending Josie something.

    Josh and Anna? That's another story, they were at least honest and posted it on their website--but they were in a different boat, seemingly poor, and just starting out and if people wanted to send them stuff, go for it.

    I think Jim Bob and Michelle need to take 10 seconds to tell someone to put a message on TLC's website and their own "please stop sending gifts" or do a mini-video clip saying "thank you for those sending gifts, but please don't, just send your prayers" It would save hurt feelings, if indeed there really are any.

  15. I am the person who sent the Duggar's a present for Baby Josie and then had it sent back. No, I am not mentally unstable. While I can fully understand that the Duggar Family may have as many non-fans as they do fans, we also had twin boys that were born very premature. We have good jobs, good insurance and two other children, but we are only wealthy because we have jobs, our home, food and four great children along with good family and friends near us. We are not bible thumpers or snake worshippers. Just you average Christian Family who wanted to help. The reason we sent the two outfits and the gift card was because we know first hand how expensive preemie's in the NICU can be. We have all heard how their family support's itself debt free and I am happy for them, but although our insurance paid a good amount of our babie's hospital stay, there were parts of it that were our responsibility.
    Just because I was upset they didn't need our little gift of two preemie outfits and a $25 gift card, doesn't mean I am emotionally unstable.
    Some of you are correct, the more it was thought about, I can understand why they may not like to receieve something from a stranger, but may I look back for a moment. Jim Bob always comes on the show and literally asks business owners for "a deal or better price", Whether it be for a bus tire, dental work, or for a discount at a Weight Watchers Meeting They were at a salvage yard with The Bates Family and they were asking about discounts there, Jim Bob asked about a door, but had already persuaded the owner to donate a new front door for the Bate's new home.
    The family shops at Thrift Stores so getting something new snd a $25 gift card for diapers or what have you seemed logical. Unless they buy their diapers used also. Seems to me Jim Bob would want anything he got for free or at a discount. Also, for those who do not know, the Post Office in Arkansas that processes any packages addressed to The Duggar's gets ex-rayed immediately.
    Only then, do the packages go on to Josh's Champion Used Cars for he and John David to open.
    Also, if they were getting THAT many packages, I am sure a story line would have been done on it by now since they are running out of ideas.

    Our bill was over 3.2 million dollars. (We thank the Lord for our insurance every day)but I would have welcomed a few preemie outfits and a gg to get some diapers.

    Thanks for the insight.

  16. And no, the story was not fabricated, My name is Carrie Underson and I reside in Williamsburg, Va.

  17. Carrie--thank you so much for writing your side of the story. Please be assured that I never meant to insinuate that you were in any way mentally unstable. The person that wrote that was probably one who was on a conspiracy theory about the anti-Duggars.

    I do agree with your logic and, as I've said, I too have thought several times to myself "hey, I should send this or that to the Duggars." Your reasoning was far more true to the heart than any of mine ever have been :)

    I still agree with you as well that the wording of their note could have been a touch more gracious, considering how sweet and kind they portray themselves on television and in person--frankly it sounded a bit cold to me. For all we know, the DO have someone mass producing them and that's what you received.

    I think the Bates family would have far more appreciated your gift as they are in tougher financial straights than the Duggars ever will be (unless they wind up with their own show too.) Even with insurance, I think the Duggars will come out of this just fine--since the Children's Hospital takes children regardless of ability to pay, it's a sliding scale--they'll pay what they can and that'll be that. Plus there's always TLC. We've all kind of surmised that since they live off what they make in real estate and not off of TLC--their TLC money is probably wisely invested.

    I believe you are a wise, kind-hearted woman like I guessed before you shared your story. I think we can all learn a lesson from your generosity and kindness.

    Thank you again for sharing your story with us.

  18. It was not polite to send the gift back. What they should have done was, the very first time they got any gifts, put a note up on the website and say it on the show - that any gifts they get will be given to - name of childrens' hospital or if there is a local organization or church or something that helps needy people.

    And then have cards printed up to send to the people saying thank you so much for the gift, and for the extra gift of being able to present it to the (whatver charity). They do so much for the needy people in our community, blah blah.

    Sending the gift back seems like it would be at variance with their beliefs anyway - the shipping charges are an unnecessary expense, plus some poor baby or adult or whatever is deprived of the item.

  19. I disagree that sending it back was wrong. The Duggars didn't know the sender and the gift wasn't solicited. I do agree they should have put up a post saying "please don't send gifts" because they should have known gifts would be flooding in. I also think the note should have been friendlier. However, the Duggars giving the gift to charity would have been wrong, because it wasn't theirs to give--it wasn't meant to go to charity, that would have been even more rude. It was meant for Josie or no one at all. Only the sender should choose what charity it should go to, or be given the option of taking it back or giving it to someone else, or whatever the sender wants to do with it. The Duggars don't have the right to give it away if they are "refusing" it. That would not be polite behaviour.


  20. Christina smith WeinbergMay 22, 2010 at 7:40 AM

    I agree with you Marybeth, they need to post something for people not to send more gifts. They must have someone who handles all the gifts that come in. They really need to send a note stating a No thank you or something.

    Christina smith Weinberg

  21. Hello;
    Just an update on the gift we sent to baby Josie that was sent back. I had meant to bring up in the previous post that if some of you recall, John David was covering for Josh one day at the car dealership and someone dropped off a gift bag for "Kenzie". Josh asked John David who it was from and I believe John David said "some lady". He could have said something a little nicer, but I guess in truth, it was just some lady. Just like I am, some lady from Virginia who thought Michelle would like something new for Baby Josie.
    We donated the gift to a local shelter for teen mothers who really have nothing. The shelter workers put it in their "shower bank" for when they give the teen mom's small baby showers. Matter settled, case closed. Thank you for letting me explain the whole ordeal.
    Carrie Underson Williamsburg, VA.

  22. Carrie--You bring up an excellent point, and thank you again for sharing your story...I think Josh and Anna handled things a lot differently--they did, from what I understand and have heard, but have no proof--put their wedding registry on their website for the entire world to see--so anyone on the planet could send them wedding gifts. Whether or not they had a baby registry I have no idea, no one has mentioned it. I will say this--from watching the shows, their child is dressed FAR BETTER and FAR FANCIER than any Duggar baby I've ever seen in any previous episode and none of those outfits look like they came from the used clothing store they visited in a previous episode. So it's possible that Anna dresses her up for filming days (what new mom wouldn't, let's give her the benefit of the doubt) but you have to wonder if the younger Duggar family is far more lax on accepting gifts than their parents are.

    I don't remember seeing the exchange you mentioned, but I've only seen this season's episodes once and online, so I'll try to rewatch as much as I can and see what exchange between John David and Josh you're referring to. But then, everyone in Springdale knows them right? (sarcasm, people post from Springdale on other blogs all the time saying that the Duggars are NOT all that famous around town and actually people think they are a little ridiculous) I don't think they are ridiculous, but then I don't live in the same small town they do--so if I did, I might get tired of the attention they draw.

    Thank you again Carrie, for sharing your story. You are always welcome here!

  23. Carrie R. UndersonMay 26, 2010 at 4:53 AM

    Thank you MaryBeth. My brother and his family live in a small town in Connecticut. They have eleven children and trust me, it has nothing to do with the qwiverfull movement. They have three sets of twins. My brother always wanted a big family. They are Irish Catholics (sure Catholics, can be over the top also. My-sister-in-law was an only child who never wanted her kids to be alone like she was. It's not for me, but we love them and visit when we can. However, they are done, no more children. (TG for that)
    That being said, no one in their town even pays attention to their family. The big question they do get is "are these all yours?" Of course, they don't have a reality TV show and I am quite sure they do not want one. They also do not home school, (my sister in law) is not really the type to be home schooling anyone and my brother works all day at their family businesses. All the kids go to parochial school and there is one away at a big ten school on a baseball scholarship.
    It is fun to go grocery shopping with my sister in law and I actually got her to sit down and watch the Duggar's with me after I told her the package was sent back. The only time we could watch was at 2:00AM, LOL.
    This was Josh and Anna's Babies R Us registry in case anyone wanted to see it.

    ANNA DUGGAR and JOSH DUGGAR 's Baby RegistryRegistry #: 97854767
    Maiden/Alternate Name: KELLER
    Location: FAYETTEVILLE, AR
    Expected Arrival Date: 10/18/2009

    Thank you for letting me participate.

  24. PS;

    I agree that Josh & Anna's Mackynzie is dressed much better, but what is up with the whole head band thing? I feel badly for baby Josie being sick, yet having to endure that huge flower just makes it worse. Those head bands do not seem to be serving any purpose other than being tacky adornation of a little girl who cannot even hold her head up. I can see a hat to help retain heat. What if one of those little petals fell into her mouth and she choked? I know, I know, probably a little far fetched, but I think about those things amongst all the other worries I had as not just a preemie Mom, but any Mom. The flower is bigger than Baby Josie's head and a few that "Kynzie" had were also a little over the top.

    Also, this may have been dicussed on another section of this blog, but can someone help me understand why some of the kid's beds do not get properly made up? By properly, I mean a mattress pad, fitted sheet, top sheet, blanket and maybe a comforter? Many times, all I have seen is just the plain mattress with no sheets, only a blanket or some of the beds only have a sleeping bag and a ratty pillow. I've seen the same thing on Lil People, Big World (a whole other blog about a filthy house, LOL).
    I can understand if perhaps that day, a child had a night time accident, but these are some of the older kids and more than one bed was fixed that way. I sincerely doubt Jim Bob would have allowed any bed wetting by an older child.
    This seemed to be more prevalent in the boys dorm room.
    I was just curious, thanks for listening.