Note to waiters/waitresses: stop saying “no problem”

28 June, 2011

You know the scene.  You are sitting in a restaurant, giving your order to the otherwise pleasant waiter/waitress and, after each dish you specify, he/she says “no problem”.

I know that I am a bit grumpy, but I find this particular usage irritating.  Where did it come from?!  Is it an Americanism?  Or maybe a result of watching too many Australian soaps?

I feel like saying “It’s good that you have assessed my request and on balance you feel able to accede to it, as it apparently does not cause you a problem. The message I’m receiving is that if it did cause you a problem, you would probably be unable to grant me my request. That sort of  conditionality as regards your establishment’s service policy is not to my taste”.

What’s wrong with a simple “Certainly”, or a “Yes sir/madam”, or a repetition of the order by way of confirmation that it has been understood and registered?

I am frankly not that interested in whether, or the extent to which, my order causes a problem for the restaurant in which I am spending my hard-earned money. If what I have ordered is by some chance unavailable on the day in question, then simply advise me of this, with an appropriate apology for my disappointment. Otherwise I’m frankly not interested in your problems, or lack of same. I come to restaurants to get away from everyday problems.

To quote a fellow blogger:  “By saying it in response to your lunch order, the waiter is suggesting that, by ordering, you are annoying the waiter, and that a lesser waiter might have walked off in a huff, but that he will graciously bear the inconvenience of having you around.”

So come on, waiters and waitresses of the world: watch your language!

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