My pet peeve: lists of pet peeves

Howard Fish had a column to fill so he asked readers to help him compile a list of commonplace phrases and announcements which were most irritating.
“No problem,” in response to “Thank you,” won.
There were batches more: Batteries not included; have a good day; are you still working on that (asked by a waiter whose shift is about to end); the doctor will be with you in just a minute; this is a courtesy call.
“Your call is very important to us. All our associates are busy serving other customers. Please stay on the line and your call will be answered in the order received.”
Mr. Fish, who works for the New York Times, filled his column.
He began by insisting that many respondents listed their “unfavorites” and added that hearing them caused “rage.”
Since everyone should know when they are enraged, we’ll take them at their word. But my reaction to “no problem” in response to my thanks for a favor done, is a smile and a pleasant, indistinguishable, mumbly noise.
Communication has taken place. What more do Fish and his readers want? “No problem” in this context takes the place of “you’re welcome.” None of those who sent Fish e-mail messages put that phrase in the pot. He didn’t wonder why.
“No problem” was disliked, he was told, because It “either suggests a problem caused by you will be graciously ignored or that no problem existed when you know it did.”
“You’re welcome” could be interpreted as a statement of surprise that you are present, since you weren’t invited; or dismissed as an insincere pleasantry uttered without thought. We say it, of course, because our mothers said we must. It really has no deeper meaning. It is a dollop of politeness grease that helps society’s gears run smoother.
To those who helped Fish meet his deadline, he should say thanks. Some might answer “no problem.” He should then feel good and eschew rage, which is an excessive response to any minor irritant and is likely to cause ulcers and aggravate heart ailments.

— Emerson Lynn, jr.

P.S. Thank you, Mr. Fish.