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Archive for August 14th, 2008

No problem.

Oh these kids today. 

Being raised to be the sweet, genteel southern flower that I am, I put a lot of stock in manners.  I’ll even put up with bad grammar out of someone if they have good manners. 

Good manners are thus: 

When you are requesting something, say “please.” 

When you are receiving something, say “thank you.” 

When someone says “thank you” to you, say “you’re welcome.” 

These are the basic rules. 

They are not hard to remember. 

Or are they? 

I have noticed that when I say “thank you” to a young person for helping me (say, by carrying my groceries to the car for me), the response I get, more often than not, is “no problem.” 

No problem? 

Yes, problem. 

“Please” and “thank you” roll off my tongue pretty easily.  So does “you’re welcome.”  And I’m probably just a little bit sensitive about it because I am teaching my child to be proper and polite. 

“No problem,” to me, at least, negates the person saying “thank you.”  I personally don’t want to be marginalized by being told that whatever it was someone did for me was no problem.  It’s nice when people trouble themselves on your behalf.  It’s humanizing.  I like to acknowledge people when they do little somethings for me, to let them know that I appreciate what they do.  Whether they get paid to do these things or not is immaterial.  They should be properly thanked, and then the thanking should be properly recognized.  To do anything less is to suggest unimportance. 

I realize that we live in a world of rapidly eroding/evolving values and that manners often don’t get the credence they deserve.  But I wonder, with most of these young people who are no-problem-ing me, what have they been taught at home? 

Perhaps I should be teaching comportment. 

 

— Mox

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