Tuesday, September 17, 2013

No problem?...It's a Problem

Limbo on the beach, Jamaica!
from coulourschool.co.uk

This past Sunday morning I'm sitting at home watching what my friend Princess Di of Rancho Winslow refers to as The Happy News, The CBS Sunday Morning News Show. She calls it that because the show presents human interest pieces, devoid of the normal angst associated with network national and international news. One of their slots is always an opinion piece, and yesterday's opinion was voiced by contributor Bill Flanagan.

He was pissed off about something that  I also find unbelievably annoying: restaurant servers that reply "no problem" when I request something or thank them for some task they performed. Flanagan hits the nail on the head with his opinion piece, and I couldn't have said it better myself (although I see it less as a generational issue than an overall breakdown in the rules of American society; a degeneration, if you will).

Saying "No problem" implies that under a different circumstance whatever I had requested of my server could have been a problem; maybe even a big problem or major inconvenience. It tells me that I'm fortunate that my server happens to be in a magnanimous mood, and will concede to perform the task they are being paid for, providing service.

It is the most used response to a thank you after complying to a customer's request. The proper response to "Thank you" is simply, "You're welcome", which doesn't imply that the server went above and beyond. I politely thanked the server and they politely responded in-kind.  "Certainly", or "Pish tosh", or "You betcha darlin'" works just as well.

I made reference to hearing "You're welcome" from The Best Waitress in Austin in a recent gustidude blogpost (see previous gustidude

post). She understands the social contract and the rules of basic etiquette, and I was shocked simply because it is so rarely heard these days.  "No problem" doesn't work at all. It's a bad reflection not only on the server, their floor manager, the server's peers, their teachers, and even the parents that improperly raised that server.  From now on, whenever I hear "No problem" from a restaurant server, it will result in an automatic 5% reduction in the generous tip that I normally leave. I suggest you do likewise.

Mick Vann ©

Bill Flanagan on CBS Sunday Morning:

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