No problem

Hello, commercial world. You and I have many dealings with each other. Frequently, after such dealings, I will thank you. Usually, I will say “Thanks!” or “Thank you!” By the way, I will never say “Thanks, man!” which I find absolutely odious (more on that later). Nonetheless, I do strive to be very polite to you.

In return, I ask you to say “You’re welcome.” That is the correct reply when you are thanked. Please do not say “No problem.” When I pay you for my meal, dear waiter, and I thank you, I am not suggesting that I was a problem that you dealt with well (thank God that guy is done and out of here!). When we conclude our transaction, o bank teller, I will express my gratitude for your help, and you do not need to absolve me of the difficulties I have caused you. Please just tell me I am welcome.

And, while I am addressing you, dearest world of service, please do not ever call me Man or Dude. If you are my mechanic and you need to call me Chief or Boss, I guess I can cope with that. If you know my name, feel free to use it (not in every sentence, though, for God’s sake). If you don’t, and you need an appellation, may I suggest that the old-fashioned “sir” has not outlived its usefulness?

There are a few uses of “dude” which are not irksome. One concerns people whose gender is hard to ascertain. Is that a woman or a dude? That’s a fun usage. Another, provided you are under 20, is the use of the word to express extreme surprise or even awe: “duuuuuuuuuuude.” Please do not use this after your first two decades. If you are a nerd, as I am, and you think that addressing people as “man” will make you less of a nerd, you are sadly mistaken.

Thank you.

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7 Responses to No problem

  1. B-Rob says:

    Dude, you’re getting old. I thought I was the one turning 50 this month!

  2. Dan Grabois says:

    And curmudgeonly.

    Happy birthday, man.

  3. Adam Grabois says:

    Great essay!

    Adam Grabois 917-881-4979

  4. “Dude” is one of my favorite ways to address opposing counsel when they’re being unreasonable. And “Hon.” But I complete agree about “no problem.”

  5. Dan Grabois says:

    Amy, any use of “dude” that is a derogatory form of address is fine with me. As for “hon,” you have hit the mother lode with that one — brilliant!

  6. Miriam Grabois says:

    Very well put, dude.

  7. I’m impressed, I must say. Rarely do I encounter a blog that’s
    both educative and interesting, and without
    a doubt, you’ve hit the nail on the head. The problem is something that too few folks are speaking intelligently about. I am very happy I stumbled across this in my hunt for something regarding this.

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