The Kings English - verbal pet peeves

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Star*, Jan 13, 2009.

  1. Star*

    Star* call 911

    :tongue:Yesterday I had a chat with a young man via a telephone. We were discussing my Time Warner Cable account and lack of services despite my payment IN ADVANCE. (hrumph).

    When we were done speaking I said "Thank you." His response? "No problem." I said "What problem?" He said "Excuse me?" I repeated to him that I was thanking him for his help. He once again said "No Problem." So I said one more time "What problem?" Again he said "Excuse me?" So I asked him if he thought I was a problem to reply "No problem." He laughed and said "No ma'am I don't think you are a problem." So I again said "Alright then, thank you for your help." He nearly said "No problem again instead of "you're welcome." I'm just not into "no problem". Makes me feel like YOU think I am a problem and you were my knight in shining slaughtered English.

    I went to a nice restaurant for lunch. I gave the waitress my order. I handed her the menu, I said thank you for her suggestions. She said "No problem." So I asked "Was there a problem?" She stood and looked at me and said "Whu Huh?? Excuse me?" I replied "I thanked you for your help, that's all." and she said it again "OH no problem." Once again I questioned her responding in kind "Whu Huh? Am I a problem? Thought I was a paying/tipping customer and it was your pleasure to serve me (thinking of Abbys job) not that I was a problem." So she thinks on it a moment and then said "Nooooooo see, you said thank you and I said (we said in unison) NO PROBLEM - it means......(long pause) and I looked at her like Nipper the RCA dog turning my head sideways....."Yes? It means - I'm a problem, yet you'll want a tip. It's wrong. I detest "no problem." I'm not a problem! IF I am a problem, then I need to say "I'm sorry, what did I do? How can I fix this error between us?"

    She chuckled, shrugged and walked off. As I left, I paid the bill and complimented the hostess on the nice restaurant. She said "Thank you." I said "The waitress was very nice." She said "Thank you." I dropped my keys, she picked them up and I thanked her thinking FINALLY a woman who doesn't think I AM A PROBLEM.......and nope - when I thanked her for my keys and extended my hand she said "No problem." UGH.

    I give up - is it just me?:sick: Or is this a shared irritation?

    I swear I want to say it like a valley girl when someone says "No problem." I answer "I'm so sorry." Then they say "For what?" and I say "For being a problem or rather not being a problem."

    It's just annoying. I can see saying "That was easy, or in response to a difficult and taxing situation saying 'It was not a problem for me to help you' but, NO problem makes me feel like I've done something to offend. To which I would "PROPERLY" respond - Oops MY bad.
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2009
  2. Suz

    Suz (the future) MRS. GERE

    It's an idiom of the generation, Star. You are probably beating your head against the wall for naught, unfortunately.

    I don't know who taught these public servants to talk like this........"South Park?" "Ren and Stimpy?" "Bart Simpson?"...........but their parents probably tried to teach them better. I know I did with Rob and he also says, "no problem."

  3. ML

    ML Guest

    This is interesting. I'll have to make it a point to listen and see how often I hear this phrase with the young people I work with.
  4. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat

    I thought I was the only one. I DETEST "no problem".

    I've come back with "no, I KNOW it was not a problem, but I am thanking you anyways."

    Instant chirping of crickets.

  5. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Well I think that probably ranks right up there with the popular interjection "like". Can't tell you how many cell phone conversations (another peeve) I've overheard that are peppered with the word "like". It almost sounds "like" a tic with some people!
  6. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member Staff Member

    Or "you know"

    I can't stand when someone uses that about 8 times in one sentence.
  7. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Way!!!!! No Way!!!!!!

  8. Abbey

    Abbey Spork Queen

    Ok. I sheepishly retreat to a hidden corner on this issue. I routinely say 'no problem' with customers. You want to find wet wipes? Not a problem. I don't know why, but I do. It's not it's THEIR problem, it's just it's my problem that I don't mind. I guess it's semantics.

    I guess that is why we are trained to say MY PLEASURE. (Gag me now.)

    So when I say that, it's telling you that it is not a problem. I'm glad to help. I'll do whatever.

    Now you're messing with my head, Star (which she routinely does). Now I'm going to spend the next few weeks screening what I say to people. Or worse, saying what is really on my mind. You really don't want to hear that.

    No problem...have a great day. It's been my pleasure. ;)

    Loth...ya know is in every sentence around her. You can't escape.

    ML...I love to think that I am in that young generation of people. One can fantasize. It's not been a problem.:peaceful:

  9. goldenguru

    goldenguru Active Member

    "I know. Right?" One of the latest idioms I don't understand.

    I was always anal about good versus well. Or how about can versus may?

    Yeah - I'm old.
  10. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    While I generally am very pedantic about bad grammar and misuse/abuse of the English languge, there are some manifestations which need to be let slide. I think this is one of them.

    When you say, "Thank you," and the person you are thanking says, "No problem," what they are in fact saying is, "I was not at all inconvenienced by helping you, it did not cause me any problems to do so."

    It's part of the self-deprecating nature of our interactions. We're not good at taking compliments, we're not good at accepting praise. We are taught humility to a fault; and this is another manifestation of that socially-induced humility. "No problem" is just another way of saying, "Glad to be of service."
    At no point is there any intended implication that YOU are the problem (although by your repeated insistence, I suspect they may be changing their opinion on this score).

    I mentioned a conversation with my friend at the beach the other day, when we were overhearing a very "yobbo" conversation (yobbo is the Aussie version of redneck, only distinctly Australian). As we quietly criticised the really bad grammer we were overhearing, we did remark that we must be awful intellectual snobs. But later thinking about it at home, I realised - what I so despise, is not ignorance. It's assumed ignorance, where people deliberately turn their backs on any outward signs of intelligence and education, in order to fit in with a social set of others doing the same thing. You then get a group of people chatting, all desperately dropping their Gs and flattening their vowels, in some desperate determination to be acceptable to the blue-singletted working man who, frankly, probably doesn't give a hoot.

    If I'm talking to someone who is genuinely uneducated, someone who for various reasons never got past elementary school, I have no problem. It's those who HAVE had the benefit of a good education and who then pretend they haven't, who really make me angry. Their men don't have protte trouble, it's "prostrate" trouble. They don't damage their cruciate ligaments, it's their "crucial" ligaments. Their gardens have "fo-lij" instead of "fol-i-age". And at the most recent game, their football team was "frashed". Probably in the last "free" matches ("free" as in 2 + 1). Deliberate, obvious, assumed ignorance, for it's own sake - reverse snobbery. It's annoying and dangerous.

    When husband & I first married, we spent a year living in a neighbourhood populated by such denizens. The neighbour on one side was a garbage truck driver (which is perfectly OK) who was condescending to us because we had been to university. The neighbour on te other side thought we were commies because we drove a Japanese-made car. He also beat his wife and kids, which didn't endear him to us, either.

    And our wonderful artists' enclave of a village is not immune, either (as evidenced by our eavesdropping - they were people I know well, fellow parents at the local school, I KNOW how well educated they really are). I think the classic example is a former neighbour of ours from this village, a man who played tennis on a weekly basis with some of Australia's most celebrated (and genuinely modest) artists. The neighbour was a graphic artist, he made his living designing ads and posters for companies. Again, that's fine. But he chose to move away from the town because he felt isolated, he confided to us. There simply were no other people of his artistic calibre that he felt he could relate to, nobody he felt was his intellectual equal as an artist. When he said that to me, I was gobsmacked.
    But then again - maybe he was right. There is no way he could ever hope to match the calibre of some of our local artists. However, I doubt he had the self-awareness to recognise this, and I know none of the local artists (the really good ones) would ever have made this man feel inferior. It's just not their style. This guys' conviction of his own superiority was breathtaking. I'm actually planning on using a thinly disguised characgter sketch in an upcoming short story. I sometimes do this, purely as catharsis. Don't worry, he will never recognise himself; he would never stoop to read any such 'trash' as I might write.

    Most of the time when I hear bad grammar, or people murdering the language, I just grit my teeth. But sometimes, when I hear it from people who should know better (or who profess to know better) then I correct them.
    The classic example I remember, was at a local writing group. One bloke would always take over the proceedings, because HIS work was clearly so important that it had to take precendence over any other person who had booked their work in to be workshopped. (I'm not kidding - he actually said this to us. "But MY work is important, it's going to be of great importance as a sociological text, at tertiary level.")
    Then he read out his masterpiece, which was frankly nothing more than free association coupled with a jumbled collection of his adolescent memories, frankly of little relevance and even less interest to anyone. We stuck it out, perhaps even partly convinced by his self-proclaimed assessment that there was something incredibly deep and masterful in this, until we read, in several different places, where he had written "I should OF done this" (instead of "I should HAVE..."). When I tentatively suggested that the work was in need of some basic editing before he tried to submit it, he was scathing. "Well, obviously YOU might think that. Clearly this work is too exalted academically for you to comprehend."
    I had been about to ask another question, but decided against it. Perhaps he might have reacted even more unpleasantly, when I asked him if there really was any literary merit in sharing with us all the intimate details of his first sexual experience - especially since he had been alone at the time.

    I kept my mouth shut - he probably would have hit me.

    Keeping my mouth shut - no problem.

    Last edited: Jan 14, 2009
  11. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member Staff Member

    I'll have to remember that next time I really want to insult someone. What a pretentious jerk!
  12. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    I must admit to using "no problem" instead of your welcome many times. I guess the response never struck me as poor. I probably won't change it anytime soon. The insinuation is that it was no problem to help you.

    Now, "well" vs. "good" drives me nuts and of course, the "huh" instead of "pardon me" or "excuse me".
    I usually don't answer if the kids say "huh?". I hate being grunted at.

    I'm sure everyone uses something that annoys another in their everyday speaking. I'm grateful if someone acknowledges a "thank you" with courtesy so I probably put this verbal pet peeve in a basket D.
  13. susiequte

    susiequte New Member

    It makes me crazy when people mix up bring vs take. My step-son used to ask me "Can you bring me to the Wal-mart?" AUGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That being said, I have to watch myself very carefully when using lay vs lie. I'll mix it up everytime if I don't think about it first!!!!
  14. WhymeMom?

    WhymeMom? No real answers to life..

    I speak the phrase "No problem" in reference to my own perception that what you are thanking me for was no problem for me to perform...... never even looked at it as a point of annoyance, but will be more aware in the future of when I say it or how I say it......
    I wonder if the reason it may be annoying or ambivalent is that it is shortened and loses it's meaning...... it becomes email or text "speech"...... sending the implication that I am in a hurry and don't have time to answer you properly? But then some people don't really expect a response to Thank you......
    Just as an aside..... we went to a resort many years ago and whenever we thanked one of the staff, their reply was always....."Are there any other resort services we can provide?" Obviously they were trained to reply in this manner, but it came to be a standing joke in our family...... when I did something for someone and they thanked me I replied: And are there any other resort services I can provide?
  15. rejectedmom

    rejectedmom New Member

    I get really miffed when people use lie and lay incorrectly. My husband always tells the dog to lay down. I correct him every time but he still does it (he is a PhD) Interesting the dog won't "lay down" when husband tells him to but when I tell him to "lie down" he does. Does that mean the dog is more knowledgeable of proper english than the Phd? Could be............-RM
  16. Star*

    Star* call 911

    I appreciate what you did for me.

    You're welcome
    Glad to do it
    My pleasure
    Happy to do it
    Welcome Maam (sir, etc.)
    You bet (which is another can of worms - I do not bet or gamble)
    Well, than YOU.

    I get that anal basket B stuff...I do, and I have like overlooked like my niece like, talking like a like like girl like. I think that has got to be a like teen thing.

    Um.....Um reminds me that your brain forgot what it wanted to say but if you don't say something you fear you will loose your slot in the conversation so you fill it with ummmmmmmmmmmmmm while your brain reloads and allows the words to filter down to your mouth to be spoken.

    Can you bring me to Walmart? No - but I will TAKE you to the English department of a library.

    Will you carry me to the store? Ummmmmmmmm Yeah how much do you weigh? Or.....Sure, as long as YOU carry my 240 lb. carcass later. I want to see that - got a hernia belt or a wheelbarrow?

    How are you? OH, Oh I'm good. YOUR ARE? AT WHAT? :tongue: Can I watch?

    I never really did understand the lay lie was a confusing week in grade school and I must have missed that lesson. I just go to bed.

    I know right? (bwah ha haa) So how long have you known Right?

    My recent favorite is to hear women say "Okay" when they agree instead of just saying either nothing or me too.

    Abbey dear- There are some words you just can't use together in the same sentence without raising eyebrows. Be careful little mouth what you say. ;)
  17. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    In the Spanish language, the typical reply to "gracias" (thank you) is "de nada" (of nothing, it's nothing, don't mention it) which could also be stretched to mean "no problem".

    I agree that too many people have drifted away from saying "you're welcome" in response to a thank you.

    If Andy Rooney hasn't written about this yet (and I'd be surprised if he hasn't), maybe you should contact him with an idea for an aritcle :D
  18. maril

    maril New Member

    Honestly, I am sure I have used "no problem" and other (might I call them) colloquialisms and/or slang terms; certainly, I am guilty. :redface:

    I transcribe reports from dictation, and some dictators "have a very hard time" with the English language (grammar, punctuation, tense, etc.); it becomes interesting when accounts call for transcription to be verbatim... ;)
  19. DazedandConfused

    DazedandConfused Active Member's mine.

    "Don't judge me", or "you're so "judgemental".

    Well, I am judgemental and put it to good use.

    I JUDGE people, places, purchases, and whether or not someone is going to make left turn in front of me. I think that using my JUDGEMENT is a good thing and not enough people use their JUDGEMENT. At least, not their good JUDGEMENT.

    As far as CONDEMNING people, that is a another matter.
  20. 30 and searching

    30 and searching New Member

    I do say, "No problem," and also "Your welcome." Sometimes in seperate situations, and sometimes together! LOL I guess I am an oddball like that. I do agree that a server in a restaurant should be saying, "Your welcome." To me, it sounds much more professional. JMO.

    Oh, and to comment on, "Ya Know," I think that's pretty common here in the north. Or maybe just Wisconsin. Yes everyone around here says it, I confess, me too. I wasn't even aware of it, until one day I was on the phone with- a friend from Utah, who was teasing me about it!