Phoenix Entertainment and Development

Phoenix Entertainment and Development

Monday, June 3, 2013

No Problem: A Rebuttle to CBS

I was watching CBS on a Sunday morning a few weeks ago and heard a man named Bill Flanagan going on a rant about why he has an issue with people saying the phrase "No Problem" instead of saying you're welcome.  Now I can agree that the phrase "No Problem" gets over used and tends to be annoying to constantly hear if uttered on an every other minute basis.  But is it really worth it to get so worked up over that you needed to waste time on TV ranting about why you hate the phrase. 

Before continuing, I would like to provide the correct definition for No Problem.


1. any question or matter involving doubt, uncertainty, or difficulty.
2. a question proposed for solution or discussion.
3. Mathematics . a statement requiring a solution, usually by means of a mathematical operation or geometric construction.
4. difficult to train or guide; unruly: a problem child. 
5. Literature. dealing with choices of action difficult either for an individual or for society at large: a problem play.

In the video, Mr. Flanagan took two examples of using the term "No Problem" that he found to be irritating and annoying.  The first had to do with a former employee who came in late every day.  When he was spoken to about his tardiness, the employee said no problem.  Now in my opinion, this situation is where the term should not be used and the employee was wrong for saying it.  But then Mr. Flanagan said that person was no longer employed by him.  I feel that comment was unnecessary due to it leading the viewer to believe the person was no longer employed due to both his lateness and for using the term.  I can see the point he was trying to make.  However, it almost makes you question if the employee changed his ways and showed up on time or early to work but continued saying "No Problem" in the wrong context, would Mr. Flanagan have fired that employee anyway for just being annoying. 

The second example was about a waitress who asked what kind of water Mr. Flanagan wanted.  He said tap water please in which she replied no problem.  Mr. Flanagan was annoyed by this due to him saying as if there could have been a problem.  This was an example I took issue with.  In my opinion, this is where "No Problem" would be appropriate.  It's not something that an over emphatic emotion of gratitude and was something that was indeed not a problem.  But who knows; there could have been an issue that appeared.  He wanted tap water, and at that very moment there could be an issue in which they could no longer access the tap water or find something wrong with it. 

Now in the video, Mr. Flanagan said using the term "No Problem" is a way to say you have gone out of your way; not to feel indebted.  The examples he used in the video for proper ways to use the term were; stopping your car in the rain to help someone fix a flat tire, lending ten thousand dollars to a friend so the bank doesn't foreclose on their house, and donating your kidney to someone who needs it. 

I understand why Mr. Flanagan feels the term could be used in these examples.  However in my opinion, I would find it more irritating if I thanked someone for doing something that important and just said no problem.  That would make the action seem so unimportant due to the person saying something that is nonchalant.  Now maybe that has something to do with how often the phrase is used; maybe it doesn't. 

Now I can agree with Mr. Flanagan that the term gets overused and that it does have a lot to do with the younger generation misusing and overusing the phrase.  However, I feel that Mr. Flanagan himself did not provide accurate examples of how to use the phrase.

I guess the points I'm trying to make are simple.  The first is that Bill Flanagan has a point in talking about the misuse and overuse of the phrase "No Problem."  However, the examples used are not clear cut right and wrong ways to use the phrase.  In general it comes down to how people perceive the phrase.  I don't think it is something to get worked up over, criticize someone for, chastise someone, or even make a big deal on TV about. 

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