Monday, December 07, 2009

Update on No Problem

I was talking to technical support the other day. After I explained the device's malfunction, the gracious and polite technician's first words were "No problem." And it grated. I had a flash of irritation. If it wasn't a problem, I wouldn't be talking to you. Then I realized that our conversation had simply skipped a groove.

We were following a script, the technician and I. My script didn't have the line, "Can you help me solve this malfunction?" but it might as well have. That is why people call technical support, after all--to request help. It's such an integral proposition of the call that it didn't occur to me to verbalize it.

Of course, if I had happened to verbalize the request, the exchange would have made perfect sense. In the technician's "[It is] No problem," the referent of the "it" was my (implied) request, not the malfunction. If the conversation did skip a groove, it was probably my fault for missing my line of the politeness script.

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