Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Thank you so much!

Everybody does it.  Prince William did it when he was out in California with Kate. “Thank you so much,” he said in his fabulous British voice.  Even with that upper crust delivery I was disappointed that he, the standard bearer of all things subdued and traditional, had to add ‘so much.’  He had me at “thank you” and then lost me at “so much.”
‘You’re welcome’ is a perfect response but frequently I see the word ‘most’ squeezing through to leach some solidity out of ‘welcome.’ The physical equivalent is if someone takes your hand in both of theirs and squeezes it as if they are wringing out a washcloth instead of using a regular handshake.

The United States of America is now the United Overstates of America. Why?  Oh, wait, I know.  We overstate to cover up for lack of emotion and real engagement.  How do we really feel about anything?  We don’t know how we really feel and does it even matter?

We say: “Your guacamole is awesome.”
We mean, “I can’t get excited about anything you do but I don’t want you to dislike me.” 
We say: “That dress looks amazing. “
We mean: “Who cares how you look but if I don’t quell your insecurity, we’ll be here all day.”

Drew Barrymore was and is appealing.  She stood on David Letterman’s desk, pulled up her sweater and flashed him for his birthday. But sweet Drew led us down a wrong path when every third word out of her mouth is ‘amazing,’ or ‘awesome’.  Thanks to Drew and her ilk, many perfectly good words have been downgraded in the tsunami of “this rocks,” and “you rock.”

A “thank you” without frills means:  "I've proven that I'm polite,  now leave me alone.”
Nice means bland and boring
Good means tolerable or it is used like a period to end a conversation.
Pretty means “I've given the opinion you are after now let's move on.”
Pleasant means "In my present and future this (event, person) is invisible."
Satisfactory means “This is disappointing but what else is new?”

“Good morning” still means “Good morning.”  Let’s leave it that way.


  1. I totally agree. Awesome post. Exaaaaaaaaaactly!

    On a related (sort of) note, I'm dismayed by the apparent demise of "You're welcome" as the appropriate response to "Thank you." All too often, one gets a "No Problem."

    It's tempting to identify the origin of the conversational "No problem" to Jamaican colloquialism, amplified by a gazillion t-shirts, but I think it's adoption has much more to do with an increase of informality and a decline in service culture.

    I'm speaking more about the "No problem" you get from staff at a business: "Thank you for handing me the xxx I just paid for."
    "No problem."

    Hold up. You just made a profit from me. Well, maybe not you, but your company, which pays you a salary and benefits, and gives you somewhere to go five days a week. I wasn't aiming to avoid creating an operational or workplace behavior problem for you. Delivery of xxx is a business you are in. If you can't stand to say something as gracious as "You're welcome," there here are some suggestions for more appropriate responses to my "Thank you":

    "We're done? We're done! Yay.. Profit! Suckaaaa!"
    "Get out of my store quick before you change your mind"
    "I did/did not spit in what you just bought"
    "I'm glad I didn't screw that up. I'm on two strikes here."
    "I hate you."

  2. I regret that your comment is a better post than my original one. Thank you so much.