Hello Everyone, Welcome to the podcast “Close to the Bone.” I’m Carl Vreeland.

This is episode #45, it’s called, “No Problem.”

At the risk of sounding like a complainer, ranting on about how things have changed for the worse in today’s world, and chancing sounding like an old man longing for the good ‘ole days, I am going to attempt to objectively look at something that deeply concerns me. It’s something that I believe we are overlooking, an issue that will have long term effects on our society.


Let’s look at the typical replies or responses we are experiencing primarily in the service industries, but nevertheless most everywhere; replies such as “No problem” or “It’s not a problem.” I believe they are or have become scripted and unengaged expressions, displaying apathy, non-commitment, and detachment. There is no feeling, heart, or soul behind them. These replies are insincere, empty, and sometimes even dismissive, like “OK, next.” Moreover, they are dismissive to the one expressing them. Meaning, they are dismissing their own feelings. Not unlike “no worries” or even more so “it’s all good.” These young folks think they’re being all chill and Zen, like nothing upsets them or bothers them, but they are really denying their own feelings, suppressing them, or repressing them, not processing them, and not expressing them. It’s not Zen, it’s detachment. But I digress. . . .


“No problem” is not a proper reply. And it’s certainly not a good substitute to a “you’re welcome,” especially in the service industry. When I am spending my money at a café, restaurant, or clothing store, I don’t want to feel as if I was a problem. “Thank you Ma’am.” “No problem.” Is that courteous? Wouldn’t “you’re very welcome” or “my pleasure to help you” be more appropriate?


One might say, “Who cares, why does this bother you, Carl?” Well, that’s part of my concern; a non-caring attitude. It reminds me of the many parents who let their young kids listen to music that is inappropriate for their age. “Oh, lighten up, Carl. That’s what the young kids listen to today.” This is part of the problem; we allow everything to go on without giving it thought. There is less and less caring taking place. One could say, “Well, we are too busy for this kind of thing, Carl. There are more important things to be concerned with in this day and age.” Again, here’s lies the problem; it’s the micro that impacts the macro, I guess you could say. I think we need to wake up. Indeed, we are asleep, and so is your server. He doesn’t really care. He’s not engaged. “Not a problem” is just an automatic response.


Moreover, when I order a coffee and receive it from the barista and say “thank you,” “Not a problem” doesn’t make me feel good. I don’t want to feel like I was a problem. Now, if I asked the barista to make my coffee hotter, apologizing for the trouble, “not a problem,” would be an appropriate reply. Although, only by default.


Now to be clear here. . . I don’t

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