Thank You. (No Problem)


I thanked a clerk yesterday. The response was “No problem”.

When did this start? When I moved to Phoenix in the late sixties? No. When then? It may have had something to do with the insertion of Spanish as a growing second language. In fact I believe I became accustomed to “de nada” long before I heard “No problem”. So, “what’s the problem?” with “No problem”?

Nothing. That in fact, is my point.

“No problem” is not an answer to “Thank you”.

Had I apologized for aborting the clerk’s intended egress from the Customer Service arena, her head already filled with ideas of what package of treats to extract from the vending machine, her focus revealed by the glazed look of endorphin deprivation, of course that answer would be appropriate.

What must I do to receive a proper “You’re welcome”? Even the old lady clerks and the old men clerks are saying it. Perhaps that isn’t a good example. A lot of older people who have been thrust back into the work place after spending a lifetime of anticipation of Globe Hopping in the Winnebago are angry at the way things turned out for them. I can understand that one, yes I can. I can definitely understand how some people, when they hear the words “Thank you”, actually think they heard an apology.

Okay now, there other examples of linguistic nuisance rattling around in my noggin such as the re-entry of “aksed” into the English language after a four hundred year absence, or the diminishing use of the silent “G” or the rampant mis-pronunciation of the “I” as in “short-lived”, brought on by the practice of lowering the hiring requirements of those who will read the news from teleprompters.

Perhaps, if I wait long enough, the practice, of using commas, will become an individual choice. And punctuation propriety will vanish, along, with, paper money, automobiles, and monogamy.

(I never did learn how to properly use commas…….or money………or how to conserve car mileage or the other thing.)

Thank you


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