What ever happened to “you’re welcome”? You know, that term merchants used to use at the end of a service interaction when the customer says “thank you”. It seems to me that there was a time when the response was “you’re welcome”, whether you were (welcome) or not. More recently there are wide and varied responses to one’s expression of gratitude at the end of the service interaction. The absolute worst response is “no problem”. I’ve written about the use of this term in the past. “No problem” suggests that if it was, a problem that is, my service needs may have gone unmet. I would be out of luck. I would have ended up with only 5 yards out of 9 yards; only half the enchilada; less than half of the shooting’ match… You get the idea.
So as a public service I have interpreted the meanings of other common alternatives to “you’re welcome”. This way you’ll have a better idea of what is going through the head of the clerk, service manager, or waiter who says this to you. Picture the service provider stating these terms with a thought bubble over their head – like in the cartoons – with the following subconscious thoughts that go with their alternative to “you’re welcome”.
The service provider says, “No worries”. The bubble over his head: “Your actions did not cause stress or disruption to my life or routine. Whew!…”
The service provider: “Sure thing“. The bubble: “Obviously, you’re thankful. You are inept and otherwise incapable of taking care of your own needs.”
Service provider: “Anytime.” Bubble: “Most of the time, if it’s convenient.”
Service provider: “You got it“. Bubble: “What am I doing here?”
For the record I’ve had plenty of positive and fulfilling service interactions that ended up with one of these phrases. As a further confession I have used these phrases myself on occasion. But I am keenly aware that the phrase “you’re welcome” is very powerful. The phrase conveys a simple and positive message during the closure to a service interaction. It leaves the customer with confidence that they are indeed welcome. Welcome to come back, welcome to receive more services, and most importantly to the merchant, welcome to spend more money in their place of business.
I am already sensing gratitude and thanks for stating, with Yoda-like wisdom, what should be obvious to anyone with customers (which by the way is all of us).
And for that, you’re welcome!