The Problem with ‘Not A Problem’

Having had manners instilled—okay, beaten—into me from a young age, I am accustomed to thanking everyone for everything. For some reason I apologize to everyone for everything, too, but that’s a topic in itself… and it requires a professional.

Sorry about the digression.

So it is that I customarily thank cashiers after I make a purchase. I hadn’t paid much mind to whether cashiers thanked me for my patronage until recently when I began to notice “not a problem” as a common reply to my “thank you.”

Now I realize this is just a catch phrase and the implied translation should be “it’s my pleasure to serve you,” but combined with a lack of gratitude for my patronage, the phrase “not a problem” is somewhat offensive.

Not a problem? Well, geez, I should hope not. If it weren’t for customers, you, pal, would not have a job.

I suspect that more than once you’ve also received the same “not a problem” send off.

Don’t you think we would do these folks, and especially their employers, a service if we politely reminded them that they should be thanking us?

I don’t know that “Be Well” is the best send off, but adopting a positive catch phrase or simply emphasizing to your front line that “thank you” is in order, can make a good retailer or service provider, great.

Thank YOU for commenting on and sharing this post.

Lorraine Ranalli is a Philadelphia radio and TV personality—formerly of Shadow/Metro Broadcast Services, KYW, The Big Talker 1210, B101, and currently of Cucina Chatter, a syndicated talk show about “anything we discuss at the kitchen table.”