Rants

What Happened to 'You're Welcome'?

What ever happened to "you're welcome?" In an essay on Salon, Matt Zoller Seitz takes the phrase "no problem" to task—arguing that it’s supplanted "you're welcome" and "implies an imposition on the part of the person saying, 'Thank you."' With "no problem," the power dynamic, as Seitz sees it, is as follows: "'No problem' translates as: ‘What I did for you was not the sacrifice you so charmingly believe it to be. I hereby release you to get on with your day, blessedly free of guilt.'" Our transition from "you're welcome" to "no problem" may be attributed to a rise in the number of citizens whose language derives from a Romance language, he argues. "'The traditional Romance language response is something like 'De nada'/'It's nothing,' i.e., ‘What little I did for you is not worthy of acknowledgment.' In both cases, the thankee is trying to relieve the thanker of any sense of obligation."