Main | Monday, November 30, 2009

The Problem With "No Problem"

A columnist in the Boston Globe notes the problem some folks have with "no problem."
As “no problem” has caught on and spread, replacing “you’re welcome” in situations ranging from casual personal encounters to business deals, the number, vigor, and shrillness of the complaints in etiquette columns and Internet forums has spread along with it. The reasons given - or unstated - are varied. Many especially dislike hearing “no problem” in commercial transactions and from folks in customer service jobs, since, as the customer is always right, nothing a customer could ask for could ever be “a problem.” “I assume my business is not a problem,” huffed one complainer on the message boards at the Visual Thesaurus. Others on the Internet have taken the same tack: “Why would it be a problem? It’s her job, isn’t it?” and “It better damn well NOT be a problem, because I just gave you my money.” Some dwell on the counterfactual: “I always wonder if the person would have helped me if they had known it would be a problem.” And from Twitter: “I know it’s no problem. You rang up my orange juice. How could that be a...problem?”
According to the language nudges, other no-nos include: anytime, no biggie, no worries, no problemo, don't worry about it. The only one I don't care for is "no worries," but I don't tend to like Australianisms and Britishisms in general. Unless you're actually Australian or British. In that case, no biggie.

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