My husband and I went out to dinner the other night and we left our car with the restaurant valet service. “Thanks” we said after handing over our car keys to the pimpled faced kid.
“No Problem,” he replied.
“Reservations for Dawson,” we said to the maître’d once in the darkened lobby.
“Ah, here you are,” He noted and checked us off his list. “I’ll have the hostess seat you in a moment.”
“Thanks!” we chimed in.
“No problem,” he replied.
Once shown to our table and I noticed the beautiful surroundings, I was pleased we were finally dining here. I was helped with my chair, I sat down, we were advised of the name of the person who would be our server, and then we thanked the lovely hostess.
“No problem,” she replied.
Water was poured, warm bread and whipped butter were brought to the table, we were handed menus, and the evening specials were delightfully announced from memory. We expressed our thanks to the server who said he’d give us a moment to make our choice, then noted he would return with our drinks. …thanks again and no problem replied all around.
Wait, what problem? When exactly when did no problem become an acceptable response to thank you? What happened to You’re Welcome? Why would anyone think the job they are getting paid for is a problem for the customer? I’m here for a special service, not to cause anyone any trouble. If I thought there was going to be a problem I wouldn’t be there! I wouldn’t patronize any place or service where my being there was going to be a problem for anyone.
So in other words, am I being told that right now that I’m not a problem, but I could have been, or may become one sometime soon? Was there a memo on this that I missed?
I could understand someone holding a door for me that I may not have been moving fast enough to get through at the same time they were. So that person may have waited a few seconds for me to catch up. And when I breathlessly thanked them an acceptable answer could have been No Problem, but a You’re Welcome would do the job nicely as well. I’m able to understand when someone goes out of their way to be helpful, especially if I’m feeling like I may have put them out a bit. I’m observant that way. But they’re letting me know it really wasn’t a problem for them to wait and hold the door, they were being kind, and that makes sense to me.
But replying to my thank you for complementary bread and water served with a No Problem, tells me they went out of their way to do their job, just for me. Perhaps they had to travel far and wide for the water. Or it was up high on a shelf and they needed aid in bringing it down; maybe it under lock and key. Better yet, could this have been special water?
What’s the protocol here? Does a Thank You now require the advice that someone just went out of their way for your service? That you may have in some way put them in some type of jeopardy or a position that might have put them in harm’s way?
What happened to You’re Welcome, is that no longer an acceptable, polite response?
But wait, he escaped unharmed and the water was served without incident.
So, No Problem!