“Sure, no problem.”
I worked in a cafe. I said it often. In fact, I said it to most customers. It seemed an appropriate way to end the communication that is taking food and drink orders from a total stranger. Said total stranger would then smile and say “thanks” whilst ushering their kids/prams/pets/shopping bags/iPhones/laptops/friends to the table of their choosing.
Then one day, this happened.
“Oh, Alex. Can you please stop saying, ‘no problem’?”
I looked blankly at my boss. I opened my mouth to respond but I seemed not to have any words in there. I was accustomed to being reprimanded for all manner of things, from both customer and boss but this one had me quite floored. What was wrong with what I had said?
I knew it was probably rude to deliver such a short response but I also had to say something, as we had now spent several seconds looking at each other.
“Because, when you say ‘no problem’, you imply that there could be a problem.”
This happened in September 2006. I am still wondering about that odd conversation six years later. She was a nice person, and as a boss quite fair and level headed. She never once said anything else to me that I questioned. But this seemed bizarre to me.
And it still does. But hey, that’s no problem. Although it could be, right?