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Is "No problem" a problem?

greygarious | Sep 15, 201309:28 AM

I guess it's my credential for AARP membership, but I agree with people who bristle when younger generations say "no problem" instead of "you're welcome", "coming right up", or something else appropriate to the circumstance. On this week's Prairie Home Companion, there's a humorous sung prayer including a request that young people stop using the phrase, and on today's CBS Sunday Morning, it was essayist Bill Flanagan's (sp?) topic. "No problem" is a nice response when someone thanks you for doing something thoughtful that you were not obliged to do, like help a stranger lug a heavy item up a flight of stairs. It is not appropriate when someone thanks you for doing something that is part of your routine job duties, like a barista dispensing coffee, or a waiter filling your request for a glass ot water. Flanagan addresses people born after 1980, advising that if they want good tips, or simply to avoid pissing off people who wre born BEFORE 1980, they should only say "no problem" when the thing they did, or are about to do, can be rightly construed as presenting a difficulty.

Amen, I found myself thinking. But I've never said such a thing to anyone in a younger generation. I wonder if they would appreciate being clued in, or just think it's a ridiculous geezer thing. Does the conflation of
"no problem" with "you're welcome" bug you and if so, do you speak up?

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