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Is “You’re Welcome” Dead? 25 June 2010

Posted by magicdufflepud in Uncategorized.
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Whatever happened to “You’re welcome”? Where did it vanish? When did it vanish? At what point, did saying “you’re welcome” start to feel like self-gratification. I first noticed it  a few years ago, back when I was working for my home town’s county government. Calling up to the to administrative assistant, I’d make a typical request: “Make a few copies of this please?” or “Will you route the package downstairs?” And after she’d said she would, I’d thank her for her help. “Thanks, D–.” But then she’d thank me right back. “Thanks, Andy.”

“Um… You’re welcome?” I’m happy to give you something to do?

It grew into a more commonplace phenomenon. Thanks. Thanks. No, really, thanks–as if we were playing the professional version of “No, you hang up first… I can hear you breathing.” Awkward. Anymore, you’re welcome now feels like it comes with some, very unwelcome, postscript. “You’re welcome: suck it.” Or maybe it seems smug. “You’re welcome: you owe me.” I can’t exactly pick out the feeling that accompanies saying it, but it borders  on the unpleasant.

“No problem,” on the other hand, occasionally fills the void, but it conveys a different meaning: “I was not inconvenienced by your request.” At face value, that more problematic, yet it rolls off the tongue so much more casually. Maybe you’re welcome is just stilted language, then– a dying phrase.

Wish I had something else to add on the subject, a possible explanation, perhaps, but I don’t. Instead, any support from the crowd?

Many thanks in advance. Of course.

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