Monday, January 20, 2014

No Problem? Absolutely!

When Bill Flanagan from CBS News asked for a glass of water in a restaurant, the waitress answered, ‘no problem.’”   Flanagan fumed and wanted to say, “WHY do YOU think I think it would be a problem for you to get me a glass of water?   [And] why [does] everyone born after 1980 decide that 'no problem' [is] interchangeable with 'You're welcome?'"

I couldn’t agree more.  My fingers begin curling into fists when some young person says "not a problem."  Why can't they just say a simple "yes," or “sure."  Either would suffice.
 It seems this generation makes a mountain out of nothing when most of it's a routine answer, just part of their job. 

Of course if I happen to fall, and a kind person helps me to my feet, answering “no problem” is appropriate.  But a waitress reciting that phrase after I dropped a fork?   “Didn’t think it was a problem in the first place,” I mumbled, when asking for a clean utensil.
A week later I was pushing my basket through Publix and I turned into soft drinks when I saw that the two-liter bottle of Sprite I needed was on the top shelf.   Barely five, one, I’ve been known to climb sturdy shelves to reach my goals, but I didn’t want to chance it that day.  Besides, there was this great big guy just a few feet away in Pepsi.   "Could you help me?" I asked.  
“No problem."

Another problem?  Well not for him.  At least six-five, he could easily lift the bulky bottle the same as I do when reaching for a package of cream cheese from the fridge.    
I don't think that the phrase"no problem" will never go away though lately there might be a glimmer of hope.   Something different has been heard, and the young are busy rearranging their brains.  Yes, it's absolutely so. 
Absolutely what, you ask? 

I spoke to a twentyish guy behind the counter in the paint store last week.   “So you can mix these three colors together?" 
“You mean not a problem,” I said.
“Absolutely not a problem.”
“And you can do it while I wait?”
Can I have all your money? I wanted to ask while he was still on a roll but stopped myself in time.  Instead I said, “So this 'no problem' thing has been fading away?”

“I mean you'll combine these paints in a minute?"
“Absolutely,” he repeated.

I could feel my fingers beginning to move.  Yes, they started to wrap around, grow tighter, and finally curl.  I can swear on it.  Absolutely.