No Problem?

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I hear on the radio more and more these days, as one reporter is winding up an interview with another, the interviewer thanks the interviewee for the interview and then, instead of accepting the thanks by saying: “You’re welcome or it was my pleasure,” the interviewee thanks the interviewer. I guess for the life affirming chance of being an interviewee. When this happens, I mean, when someone thanks a thank you, well, it just leaves me cold. Most of us from the May-I-be-Excused-from-the-Dinner-Table Generation were taught to respond to a “thank you” with a “you’re welcome.” I mean who doesn’t remember, mom saying to Billy, (or Susie) “Say thank you to your Aunt Millie for the sweater.” and Aunt Millie, correctly responding: “You’re welcome, my dear, I knitted it myself.” Tradition says that when someone does you a charity, you recognize that charity by the verbal response: “Thank you.” The charity-giver then replies: "You're welcome." At work, you don’t often hear someone thanking a thank you. I’m glad of that. Usually someone is actually doing something for someone and in return, is thanked for the effort. However, unfortunately, you do hear a lot of the next worst thing: the dreaded “no problem” you’re welcome. When someone responds to my “thank you” with “no problem,” I think of either or both of two things: 1) that the charity was done with so little effort or forethought (almost by accident?) that a thank you was unnecessary or 2) that the person is saying “look at me, I’ve been raised poorly.” Now, I do think that sometimes a “no problem” can be an acceptable response. Say, when someone does go out of their way to commit a charity. For example, when a food server discreetly removes a meal because you didn’t like it and then gets the manager to comp you your replacement meal. But certainly not a good response when they brought the meal to you in the first place. David E. Burt


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