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“No Problem” and Other Mindless Speech Gimmicks

“No problem,” he said, as he emerged from the alligator-infested river. "No problem," he said, as he slaughtered half a tribe of natives. “No problem,” said the hangman, as he yanked the lever to hang the man—but not for slaughtering the tribe. It was for saying “no problem” for the thousandth time in one paragraph. In the realm of language fads, enhanced by the viral spread of the worst of clichés, the ubiquitous “no problem” takes its perch alongside “niche marketing,” which is really old-fashioned market segmentation, and “branding,” which is simply name recognition and (in products, at least, but not in professional service firms) a promise of consistent quality, taste and performance (which is really impossible in legal and accounting practice).

Originally published November 26, 2012
Last updated April 27, 2018
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