Got a call from a reader the other day about my annual word-purging column.
She had her own beef with an overused phrase.
Doesn’t like it when people say “no problem” after she says “thank you.”
“If I thought it was going to be a problem, I wouldn’t have asked the person to do something for me in the first place,” she said.
I didn’t want to break the news to her that I use that expression all the time. It seems less formal than “you’re welcome” and quicker than “don’t mention it.”
Still, I get her point.
Indeed, the vacuous nature of the phrase reminds me of a similar meaningless, reflexive expression that made Lake Superior State University’s banned word list several years ago.
The offensive phrase is: “Have a good one,” which is the abbreviated version of “have a good day.”
This expression is often used by a store clerk after a customer has made a purchase.
The person who nominated it for banishment that year was a woman who shared her experience of going into a store to buy some feminine hygiene products.
“As I paid,” the woman wrote, “the young clerk bid me farewell by saying, ‘Have a good one!’ … Have a good what?”
It still cracks me up.