Thank you, you’re welcome

My grandfather was very big on please, thank you and you’re welcome, and I picked some of that up from him.  It is always nice to be courteous and saying please and thank you are very simple ways of doing this.  But I think trends are changing.  (I may have pointed this out before but with more than 3,000 posts, I can’t remember and don’t intend to go back in search through them.)  I don’t see people saying “You’re welcome,” much anymore.  This is true even of myself.  Take your typical retail interaction:

You make a purchase, pay for your purchase, the retailer (sometimes) says “Thank you,” and I find myself responding with “Thanks,” or “thank you” as well.  I am, of course, thanking them for handing me my change or my package, but it skews the mechanics of the transaction.  So over the last couple of days I have conducted a little experiment.  I have tried to say “You’re welcome” each time someone thanks me for something.  This is more difficult than it seems.  For non-retail transaction–for things at work for instance, I am used to saying, “No problem,” or “Glad to help,” in response to “Thank you.”  Saying “you’re welcome,” feels almost condescending in a way, but I have been forcing myself to do it.

The results so far?  I don’t think anyone notices, although once-in-a-while, I’ve felt like the person I’ve interacted had the feeling that they were doing me the favor and that I should be thanking them, rather than saying, “You’re welcome.”  But my sample size is still small and I think I need to give it more time.

Thank you for listening. (Let’s see how many “you’re welcome” comments I get.)

Published by Jamie Todd Rubin

Jamie Todd Rubin writes fiction and nonfiction for a variety of publications including Analog, Clarkesworld, The Daily Beast, 99U, Daily Science Fiction, Lightspeed, InterGalactic Medicine Show, and several anthologies. He was featured in Lifehacker’s How I Work series. He has been blogging since 2005. By day, he manages software projects and occasionally writes code. He lives in Falls Church, Virginia with his wife and three children. Find him on Twitter at @jamietr.

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