“You’re Welcome,” R.I.P.
“You’re Welcome” as a response to “Thank You” is dead. It’s about time. Good riddance. No one has the time anymore for boring niceties like saying You’re Welcome after someone says Thank You for doing a favor for him or her.
Many people believe that No problem as a response to Thank You pushed Your Welcome into an early grave. Even when You’re Welcome was taking a turn for the worse, No problem was spreading as fast as a staph infection in a hospital. And by the time You’re Welcome was cold in the grave, No Problem had built its empire of response to Thank You by virtue of a worldwide franchising system.
No problem is perfect for today. For those of us who can still think about things beyond Dancing with the Stars, No problem really says a lot. It excuses us from doing real favors for others; it sends a message of “Don’t ask me to do anything for you that infringes on me. Even a little. I’ll do it as long as it doesn’t interfere with what I’m doing. Inotherwords, don’t ask me to go a little left if I’m going a little right. Then it’s a problem. and if it’s a problem, I might not do the favor for you.
Cultural historians believe that No problem began as a grassroots movement in America’s suburbs, where residents already had nothing to do and developed a pre-disposition to being left alone.
But a group of stubborn people refuse to give up on You’re Welcome and continue to use it posthumously. A recent report claims that the highest percentage of the “diehards” who stubbornly cling to You’re Welcome belong to the group labelled as the “Involuntarily Retired” (see my February 12 post).
Proponents of No Problem stress that persistent You’re Welcome users are beyond their productive years and, if they were really civic-minded, would start making plans for their final resting places. Preferably, in the same cemetery in which You’re Welcome is buried.
In a recent “Man on the Street” interview in New York, a reporter asked a professional-looking couple if they were concerned that the death of You’re Welcome, which some people believe is symbolic of a way of being that would be lost forever, and that this way of being includes courtesy and civility to our fellow man, they responded simultaneously: “No Problem.”