“Sybil McLain-Topel,” I replied.
“No problem,” he said.
“Of course it’s not a problem,” I said. “It’s my name. Why would it be a problem?”
And that is the problem, of course. The proper response should be “Thank you.” Clean, simple, clear. What happened to the perfectly good and accurate phrase, “Thank you?”
If he hadn’t replied, “No problem,” he might have chosen “No worries.” To which I would have replied, “Worry’s a waste of time and why would I worry about my own name? I rather like it.”
Instead, I went on to point out to him that by saying ‘no problem,’ he’s repeating a negative. Repeating a negative’s not a smart tactic for call centers or sales people. A few moments into our conversation, which centered on an insurance provider trying to save their money by forcing me to use a mail-in prescription service, he thanked me for the observation on ‘no problem.’ Then he said it three more times before he hung up, shortly after he did the math and realized I was saving the insurance company and myself a nifty chunk of change by driving to a nearby retail pharmacy instead of using the mail-in service.
Author’s note: Apparently I am not the only person whose nerves grate like aluminum on back teeth when people use these phrases.
Author’s note again: Do you think the lyrics to this song might be different if “thank you” were replaced with “no problem”?
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