Saturday, January 14, 2012

NY lesson in Etiquette

I will be the first to admit we New Yorkers aren't known for our being overly polite.  On the flip side, we tell it like it is.  None of that fake southern backhanded pseudo-polite "bless your heart" stuff from us New Yorkers (unless we're being sarcastic or want you to know we're insulting you).

With all of that said, I can't stand when I say "thank you" while paying someone for a service rendered or a product purchased and they respond "no problem".

So, it's no problem for you to take my money and give me what I payed for?  Well, I'm so happy for you!  I didn't mean to put you out giving you my money.

I see the response of "no problem" to "thank you" as a rude step back from "you're welcome".  How about "my pleasure"? I'm sure some witty sort (probably from Texas) might challenge me about expecting to hear a "you're welcome" after my saying "thank you".  Such a person might say I shouldn't expect politeness in return for politeness.  Well, sorry, but I do expect a polite response after I give you my money.  If you are going to tell me "no problem" for taking my money, then just say nothing at all, that would be better.  Saying "no problem" is fine if you're doing a person a favor for nothing, but not for rendering services or products that you charge money for.

I'm thinking I might start a regular post on Reepicheep under the heading of "Another Lesson in NY Etiquette".  What do you think?


Zach said...

Great discussion. I tend to tilt the other way and get slightly annoyed when someone says "you're welcome." I also personally prefer to use "no problem." Here's why.

I see "thank you" as my public statement that the other person has done something kind for me and that I am somewhat in his debt.

That being said, "you're welcome" seems to function as his acknowledgement of that debt and often strikes me as having condescending overtones. Think of those who preemptively say "you're WELCOME" in an attempt to elicit the thanks they believe they are due. People never use "no problem" in that way.

I see "no problem" as a response that humbly attempts to assure me that, despite my subservient offering of thanks, I am not in the other person's debt.

So God would properly say "you're welcome" in response to our thanksgiving, whereas we should say "no problem" if God were to ever thank one of us for something. Of course, there are other options, and I am particularly fond of "my pleasure."

So, in the end, you have no one to blame but yourself for a response that speaks to your owing him a debt. :) You have put yourself in that position by saying "thank you." Perhaps you would be better off ending your transaction by saying, "Pleasure doing business with you," or "Good Evening." Just a thought from your Southern buddy!

And, yes, a regular post on NY Etiquette would be a wonderful addition to Reep!

Reepicheep said...

He speaks! Welcome back Zach.

Brother Titus said...

You wrote, "....we New Yorkers aren't known for being overly polite." When I first read that I went, "Hmmm." and chuckled, because I don't know any New Yorkers, personally. But, from what I've heard and read about them, the average New Yorker would generally be more rude than polite to anyone, any day. So, I would suggest your statement about your fellow New Yorkers might be at least a tad bit generous.

By the way, I'm with you. The "No problem" response for any reason grates on me. I hate it. It's so thoughtless.