What Do You Mean … “No Problem”?

dscn2559-copy.jpgEnough! I have had it up to here with people, especially those serving the public, tout these two ill-used words. “No Problem.” When I attempt suggesting they try other more positive and appropriate ways to enlist and engage the customer or person on the other end of these tidbit exchanges, I get understanding nods (up and down movement) of their heads accompanied by blank stares. I suppose they think they are being criticized or simply do not care to make the effort to improve the way they tell a customer that they are not a problem, or a task is not a problem. Whoever said a request was any type of problem?

When a person says these words they are indirectly indicating that there is, might be, or could be a problem. Wow. I am in your restaurant yet you tell me my order is “No Problem”. I ask politely for a glass of water or a bottle of A-1 Sauce. What do I hear? “No Problem”. It’s cavalier to say the least and the world, mostly Americans from the USA, are touting these negative words and telling us that the service is in fact a problem … even when it really isn’t. Well, I have a problem with this because it conveys they are not glad and happy to see me there and to offer me the service for which I am paying. And most handsomely most of the time, too.

In a final attempt I ask the public to pass along these phrases (hopefully to spread quickly) and for us all to use them in place of the ever-popular and negative speak, “No Problem.” No matter what cost the meal or service we are paying for … it should not matter. We should be allowed to expect the best from anyone serving the public. Just remember to be polite, good customers and on your best behavior, too. Servers want to be treated well. Respect people … respect.

~~~

“It should only take a few moments/minutes to do this for you madam/sir.”

“How glad I am that you chose to have me serve you today.”

“It is my pleasure to add value to your stay.”

“You are most welcome.”

“I hope your meal/stay will be everything you wish it to be.”

“I look forward to bringing you the best service today.”

“What a good selection you have chosen.”

“May I be of service to you?”

“Today we have something special to tempt your appetite.”

“Might I suggest an appetizer or cocktail?”

“The pleasure was mine.”

~~~

The call I received this afternoon is the reason I decided to write on this topic. After everything I explained the voice at the other end of the line thanked me and ended with “No Problem.” To which I repeated “No Problem.” It’s time to let this phrase go … forever.

Remember … You may have just given the best service of your life but if you tack on these two words … “No Problem”, then you are leaving your satisfied customers with a bad taste in their mouths. Pamper them with one of these phrases and see the delight reflected in their smiles.

Copyright © 2014 “Sleeping Kitten – Dancing Dog!” All rights reserved.

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15 thoughts on “What Do You Mean … “No Problem”?

      • I have to say, whether it is or isn’t offensive, I’ve sure thought about this post each time it has slipped out of my mouth in conversation recently. 🙂

      • Our entire family see to say two words with a frequency that drove Mother to distraction. “You Know”. Mother set down the rules that whenever any of us uttered these two words we would call out BEEP. Before long we were broken of this habit and every now and again, someone will say BEEP and it makes us chuckle.

  1. I do not find No Problem or No Worries to be offensive just maddening! 😀

    I understand what you’re suggesting but before long I would run screaming into the night. Eeeeeekkkks! 😛

  2. Theresa, this is one of my all-time pet peeves. I’m sitting there having a nice time and a delicious meal, I ask for water or another napkin and I get “no problem”. All of a sudden I’m thinking, problem? There’s a problem? I thought everything was fine and now you tell me there’s a problem? I have now trained myself to reply automatically, whenever I’m thanked for anything, “It’s my pleasure.” It’s only one syllable more and it makes all the difference. Great and timely piece!

    • A woman after my own heart. A few well-chosen words make all the difference to those on the receiving end. Were we to change our speaking voices to offer the best in us our world would be a kinder place in which to live.

  3. Very compelling points Theresa. I personally think cliches such as the “No Problem” is very robotic and insincere. We’re so used to this expression that we’re not even thinking anymore whether or not it’s appropriate to be used in a situation.

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