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Friday, February 3, 2012

No Problem. (Maybe it is.)

Recently I heard a popular TV game show host complain that he didn't like waiters who said "No problem" when he asked for something simple like a salt shaker in a restaurant. "Of course, it's not a problem. I am in a restaurant.  There's the salt shaker."

I understood his stupefaction.

And I had recently heard another man lament the same problem of people replying with "no problem"  in a different business.

It is commonplace to say "No problem" when a customer asks for an item that is being sold or a service that is part of the, well, service.

The problem with "no problem"?  Many customers don't like it.

Many people who use the expression don't know that others don't like it.

Maybe they wouldn't care.

Maybe they do.

In today's economy when building customer good will is more essential than ever, maybe we should all stop and reconsider the casual phrases and rejoinders we use because they might be driving customers away rather than drawing them near.


The next time you are tempted to say "No problem" try a different answer instead because maybe saying those very words is, ironically, a problem after all.


  1. I found this post quite interesting. I've never really thought about it, but I do find myself saying "no problem" quite a bit. I do think, however, that I use it more when someone asks something of me that is not within my normal scope of duties. It's more of my response to "can you do me a favor?" than just a normal run-of-the-mill request.

  2. Thanks for thinking along with me, Michelle.

  3. This post made me think deeply about it. And the fact is that the sentence "no problem" is even more replacing the "your welcome". The most interesting point is that they do not have the same meaning. People should think more carefully about it. Great post.