But thanking people is still important.
Some folks work hard at jobs where they may get complaints if someone doesn't like what they do, but rarely get praise. There have been times when I've thanked people like those repairing streets, collecting trash, stocking shelves in a grocery store, or cleaning public buildings and they have seemed both pleased and amazed. Unless they have something to gripe about, most people take those workers for granted, yet the world would be a lot worse if nobody did those jobs.
And a few times when someone did an especially excellent job I've contacted their employers to say so. Whenever that happened the person who took my call seemed shocked and surprised that someone would bother to contact them with a positive comment, although they often get negative ones.
It only takes a few seconds or, at most, a few minutes to express appreciation for people who do a good job, but doing so can mean a lot to someone. In 2012 I hope to thank a lot more people.