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When NO PROBLEM is a Problem

The waiter screwed up our order. I tell him that it is okay, and he responds with, “No problem.” Ummm…it actually was a problem. Have you ever walked out of a store and said thank you and gotten the, “No problem” response? Did I miss a problem? When did everyone born after 1985 decide that “No problem” was interchangeable with “You’re welcome”?

It shouldn’t bother me, but it does, probably because I was born well before 1985. As a motivational speaker, I often ask people about their pet peeves and this one comes up regularly, so I can’t be alone in this thinking. Here’s the deal–no problem reverses the terms of the transaction. Rather than you doing a favor for an establishment by shopping or eating there, now suddenly the establishment is doing you a favor by having its employees help you. Then they tell you that it was no big deal, seeing as how your server, associate, or whomever is getting paid to do that very thing (I think that’s the definition of a “job,” no?).

No problem is an appropriate response when telling someone you’ve gone out of your way to help–essentially communicating that the person shouldn’t feel indebted. That is cool. But too often, hearing “no problem” when there is NOT a problem causes a problem. I understand that the words,”You’re welcome,” may get tiresome, so let me offer a few alternate responses:

1. My pleasure.
2. Happy to help.
3. Certainly!
4. Sure thing!
5. Enjoy!
6. Thank YOU!
7. Thanks for coming in today!

It seems that “please” and “thank you” are becoming a lost art. And now we are losing “you’re welcome”? I’m losing it along with my close vision. It is all too much.

Thank you for reading my rant. I hope you didn’t just yell, “No problem!”

   What do you think? I would love to hear your comments!

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