No worries

A lot of people are now saying "no worries." It's a trendy phrase that I wasn't going to comment on until I heard someone use it in the wrong way. 

This is what happened: I made an appointment, which was cancelled a day before. I rescheduled the appointment and arrived a bit early. As I was waiting, the receptionist said that the person I was waiting for was going to be late, and asked if I could reschedule for three hours later. It wasn't the best situation, but I decided to go to the gym and get something to eat to make the delay worthwhile. I said okay, and the receptionist said "no worries." Let me break this down.

Receptionist: Sorry, she can't make it on time. Can you come back at 3:45?

Me: Okay. I'll see you later.

Receptionist: No worries.

Hmmm. Why would she say "no worries" if I'm the one who was inconvenienced? After all, this was the second cancellation from their end, so I should be saying "no worries." I didn't even say anything to prompt her to respond "no worries." I just said "okay."

But it didn't stop there. I was walking back to the place to go to my newly scheduled appointment, when my phone rang. It was half an hour before the appointment was supposed to start.

Receptionist: Sorry, she can't come in. Can you reschedule another day?

Me: What about tomorrow?

Receptionist: No, she's not available tomorrow either. She's not available until Wednesday.

Me: I work all day and night Wednesday, so I'm not free. 

Receptionist: What about next weekend?

Me: Okay.

Receptionist: No worries.

Again, nothing I said would prompt her to respond "no worries." There were now three cancellations. The last cancellation was right before the rescheduled appointment, and there was no reason for me to be in that neighborhood; I'd gone there just for the appointment. This would be a more appropriate use of the phrase:

Receptionist: Sorry about all of the inconvenience.

Me: No worries.

But there was no apology from the business for me to respond to their flakiness with "no worries," though I don't use that phrase anyway. I think the receptionist has heard "no worries" so often in our culture that she's made it part of her own speaking style, but it's really supposed to replace "no problem," which I still use. Maybe the newer trend is to just say "no worries" independent of a context because it's become cool or something. Btw--it's a phrase that came from Australia, at least according to Meghan Jones from Reader's Digest (I inherited a subscription from my mother-in-law and still subscribe).

Now that "no worries" has saturated the speaking culture, I'm wondering if there's room for a new trend, such as saying "de nada."

No comments: