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There is no substitute for "you're welcome"

by Greg Belfrage

When did "no problem" become a replacement for "you're welcome"?

I'm sick to death of thanking clerks and servers for their assistance and hearing the inevitable, "No problem."

The insinuation is that you posed some problem to the person. However, luckily for you, they are so kind and helpful that your interruption posed "no problem". It's rude.

I'm hearing the offensive phrase more and more often when I thank someone for serving me.

The immediate response that forms in my mind is, "I should hope it's no problem. This is what you're paid to do. I was simply being polite."

Of course, that response never makes it out of my mouth. Instead, I force a smile and quietly grind my teeth. That's how we do things here in the land of Minnesota Nice.

It seems to me that young people are the worst offenders, but other age groups are catching up fast as "no problem" gains popularity. Even I have mistakenly succumbed on occasion to this impolite phenomenon.

The trend has become so widespread that Forbes included "no problem" in their list of 13 Things You Should Never Say At Work .

Perhaps the most irritating thing about the whole situation is that there's already a response available for when someone thanks you...you're welcome.

"You're welcome" is gracious and courteous. More importantly, it doesn't offend old-timers like me who think civility and manners are in serious decline.

Grateful for the advice?

No problem.

Greg Belfrage @belfrageshow is heard 6am-9am on KELO 1320 AM and 107.9 FM. Greg can be contacted at greg.belfrage@mwcradio.com.