I’m Right, You’re Wrong!

by Marinka on October 18, 2010

Welcome to I’m Right, You’re Wrong, a regular-ish feature where I present you with a disagreement that I’m having with a loved one and ask you to weigh in!

Last week, we tackled the problem of whether it is necessary to wash out the cat’s water bowl with soap daily or is it sufficient to rinse it off every once in a blue moon? The results were strongly titled towards “less is more”.

Ready for weigh in on this week’s dilemma?

Disagreement: When you make a purchase and say “thank you” to a sales clerk, should they say “you’re welcome” or “thank you” as well?

Disagreers: Marinka and her friend P.K.

Position One: If I’m making a purchase, and thank the sales clerk or whoever, she should say “thank you” in response. Because by saying “you’re welcome” she’s implying that she did me a favor. And what was the favor? Taking my money? Giving me change? I am the customer and should be thanked for my patronage. Besides, how can Can’t go wrong with another “thank you.”

Position Two: In any context, the proper response to “thank you” is “you’re welcome.” What is it you’re thanking the cashier for? If you feel you’re doing the cashier a favor, why bother thanking him? A “thank you” should be sincere, and then the proper response will be “you’re welcome.” A “thank you” followed by a “thank YOU” doesn’t make sense.

What do you think?

Don’t miss my recap of The A-Word! It’s really one of the best shows on TV. Or anywhere for that matter. It’s gaytastic!

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{ 2 trackbacks }

I’m right. I just am. Period. | Halala Mama
October 27, 2010 at 5:44 pm
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February 1, 2011 at 9:23 am

{ 46 comments… read them below or add one }

annie October 18, 2010 at 10:08 pm

I think this is a case of mutual gratitude – everybody thanks everyone and you call it a day. If I was too subtle – i’m going with position 1.


dusty earth mother October 18, 2010 at 10:09 pm

I think my head is going to blow up from contemplating this.

Um… I’m going “thank you”, “you’re welcome”. It actually makes less sense, but it sounds better. Right? I think.


October 18, 2010 at 10:24 pm

Why the fuck would I thank a cashier for doing their JOB?

With that being said, “you’re welcome” is the only thing that should come after a thanks.


Lish October 18, 2010 at 10:40 pm

Position 2.

And you’re welcome.


Tamara October 18, 2010 at 11:09 pm

Can I state a third opinion? I suppose if I had to choose between the two, I’d choose the latter. When I thank a cashier, it’s typically, like, “thanks for the receipt” or “thanks for not throwing my produce into the bag and bruising it” or “thanks for not ripping me off and giving me back incorrect change”. It’s kind of a general thank you, not something that requires a “you’re welcome”. In fact, a “you’re welcome” would only make me mad because the things I’m thanking him/her for are expected. S/he’s not doing me any favors, but s/he IS doing a service, (like a waiter or mailman). That said, this should be the appropriate dialogue between cashier and customer:
Cashier: (hands over receipt) Have a nice day.
Customer: Thank you, you too.
Badda-bing, badda-boom.
: )


October 19, 2010 at 11:23 am

I concur.


October 19, 2010 at 9:57 pm

me too.


Aly October 18, 2010 at 11:44 pm

Hmmm, another interesting quandary! I wholeheartedly agree that in any other instance “You’re welcome” is the standard reply to “Thank you,” but this is a unique situation. Speaking as one who works in the service industry, specifically at a grocery store deli counter, it was part of my training to thank every customer for their patronage. It does seem awkward to thank the customer immediately after they thank you, but it has to be done, and there’s not much other room for opportunity. In my job, it’s much like this:
Customer: “Thank you for slicing my lunch meat.”
Me: “Thank you for buying your lunch meat at my deli counter so I can keep my job and pay my rent for another month. Have a nice day.”
I always throw the “Have a nice day” on there because somehow it makes it a little less odd-sounding.
SO my vote’s in on Position #1. Most often a sales clerk thanks each customer because that is what they are trained to do. It’s retail protocol.


Brenda October 19, 2010 at 12:52 am

I’m in favor of position 1. I wish I didn’t automatically say “thank you” when the transaction is finished, but s/he is usually handing me the receipt,and as I’m a polite human, the thank you pops out. I guess I’d rather have no response, but in lieu of that, a reciprocal “thank you” is better than a “you’re welcome”.


October 19, 2010 at 2:11 am

When I worked the register at a bookstore years ago and someone would say thank you to me, I always replied with, “Thank YOU and have a nice day”


Hally October 19, 2010 at 2:56 am

Having never been in the U.S. before, I don’t know if Norway does this differently than you. But a “thank you” here is used for thanking the cashier for bagging the merchandise and handing them over to you. Now, we Norwegians may be ruder than the average American, but I never hear “you’re welcome” in return. The normal thing to say for the cashier is “have a nice day”. It’s what I said to my customers when I worked as a cashier. Or I would give them a jolly big smile in return, not saying anything. Does that make me weird?

So my vote goes to neither; they both sound weird to me 😉


Jodi F. October 19, 2010 at 8:52 am

I have to go with position two. Although I see the rationale in position one, it makes my head hurt to respond to “Thank you,” with a duplicate, “Thank you.” Unless, as Tracie notes above, there is an emphasis on you: “Thank YOU! ” That works.

Want to know what is really annoying? When people say “you welcome.”


October 19, 2010 at 9:04 am

I tell everyone “thank you”. It must be the Oklahoma girl in me. Oddly, this is not something I have ever thought about.

While it is natural, and almost instinctive, to say “you’re welcome” after a “thank you”, I think that position one makes more logical sense.

So… position 1.


Bekah October 19, 2010 at 3:44 pm

I’m a Kansas girl and I’m with you on this one. I thank everyone (cashiers, waitresses, doormen, etc) for doing something that would be considered “just part of their job.” It’s what I was raised to do and I never even think about it or even if the other person replies. But I guess position 1 is the best?


Becky October 19, 2010 at 9:11 am

If I consistently got cashiers who were polite and friendly, I wouldn’t care what they said. If you properly bag my groceries I will say thank you. I’ve heard both “Thank YOU” and “You’re welcome” in response…I think I prefer the “Thank YOU,” but the stress on the YOU needs to be there, otherwise it just sounds like they are saying thank you because they have to, and not because they mean it.


October 19, 2010 at 9:29 am

Thank you for this post Marinka.


the mama bird diaries
October 19, 2010 at 9:45 am

The other day I thanked someone for dropping THEIR kid at my house. So obviously, I should not be allowed to weigh in.


CSY October 19, 2010 at 10:16 am

Being in the customer service arena for a while, I’d have to go with Position #1…but agreeing that the emphasis on the return Thank you is on the YOU…does that make sense? If not – just put me down in the I agree with YOU column…


October 19, 2010 at 10:34 am

There’s never enough thanks in the world. We should over do our thankfulness. Then, when someone is a real jerkwad, we can feel entitled to go ahead and say less nice things to them since we know we are always plenty nice to the good people.


elizabeth October 19, 2010 at 10:52 am

Since I am old and was raised back in the day when politeness was a given, I always say thank you to everyone who serves me, the cashier, waitress who is filling up my coffee cup, doctor who has just given me a pap smear, whoever. That said, whatever happened to cashiers saying thank you to their customers after a transaction? The cashier should say thank you when they are handing you back your change or receipt and then the customer can say thank you back or have a nice day or just grab their receipt and get out of there.


Awesome dude October 19, 2010 at 11:17 am

Without referring to “retail protocol”, civilized people thank everybody for whatever is done for them however small it is.

People usually learn it in the prekindergarten years. It is a good way to maintain good and proper relation with the people who work for you or have to do stiff that you are paying them to do for you.

But the background of the relationship should be cordial and good. If you do not like the person or what was done for you, you can as casually wish them slow painful death.


Roxanne October 19, 2010 at 11:55 am

Yeah, I’m not going to thank the cashier for taking my money. They should thank me, and I’ll say “you’re welcome.”


barbara sigelbaum
October 19, 2010 at 12:00 pm

Am I the only New Yorker who says thank you and is answered with a “no problem.” Why would it have been a problem?


Marinka October 19, 2010 at 1:09 pm

Yes, I get this too. And now I say it in return. OMG. What’s happening to me?!


Pam October 19, 2010 at 4:38 pm

That’s a bone of contention with me down here. You’re right, it’s not a problem, and “no problem” seems awfuly ungratious.


Renee October 19, 2010 at 6:33 pm

You know what’s even worse – when I lived in New York for 6 years, I used to get “uhuh” and head shake when I said thank you to service people. Ugh! Otherwise, I go with a hybrid position. When I worked in retail, I would say “you’re most welcome, and thank you for your patronage.” But, maybe that is because I am Canadian, and we are just very polite!


Phoenix Rising
October 19, 2010 at 12:43 pm

The cashiers in NYC actually talk to you? That would imply they actually acknowledge your presence? What a strange phenomenon. Where I live cashiers are too good to acknowledge the presence of customers.


Allyson October 19, 2010 at 1:25 pm

I’m not sure I’m qualified to weigh in here because every time I go to a movie and the person at the concession stand says “Enjoy your show,” I say “You, too.” Even though I stand there for the entire 20 minutes he’s slathering butter on my popcorn thinking “Say thank you, say thank you…” I still say “You, too.” Then I shrink away like an idiot.

I need lessons in human interaction.


October 19, 2010 at 1:52 pm

I believe there are circumstances when saying “You’re welcome” is cause for justifiable homicide.

Like when someone says it without someone saying “thank you” first.

A good example of this was a DirectTV/satellite internet commercial where a snotty red-haired spokeswoman told you how great their service was (without mentioning the $800 set-up fee or the $100/month subscription rate), then chirps, “You’re welcome.”

Or on NPR when the host “thanks” the interviewee/guest, who’s really just getting free publicity for his/her new cd of bad jazz or book of idiotic poetry, and then has the nerve to say, “You’re welcome.” What exactly are we welcome to? The privilege of having been tortured for the past 6 unending minutes?

Or when anyone who is doing his/her job does not reply with the appropriate “thank You,” or “the pleasure is mine,” or “How kind and gracious of you, a paying customer, to acknowledge your gratitude, but really, we do appreciate your business here, especially in this economy. Is there anything else I can help you with at this time?” when you say thank you.

Marinka, once again you are right, and everyone who disagrees with you is wrong. Thank YOU.


Kimberly October 19, 2010 at 2:08 pm

I just say ‘have a nice day’ and leave it at that. Or ‘you too’ if they happen to beat me to the ‘have a nice day’. If they say just ‘thank you’ and before I’ve have have a nice day’d them, then I give them the ‘have a nice day’ after their ‘thank you’.

But I live in Detroit where we also say ‘have a nice day asshole’ when we get shitty service


sdl October 19, 2010 at 3:17 pm

I’m going to reply first, then read the no-doubt wise and witty comments.

I am with Position Two, aka PK, I think. If the customer says “Thank you,” then answering, “Thank you” in return sounds stupid. “No, thank YOU” sounds like you’re correcting the customer. The only polite response is “You’re welcome,” but then the polite clerk could add “Thank you for shopping with us today,” or something equally obsequious.


October 19, 2010 at 3:50 pm

Instead can you answer me this: when I go see a movie and they hand me my ticket and say, enjoy your movie, I always end up saying, you too. Like a true moron. You answer that one for me and I’ll try to answer yours.


Sophie@Fabrications October 19, 2010 at 4:04 pm

I’m for the double sided thankyou.
Also, papa is right.


Pam October 19, 2010 at 4:36 pm

You are technically thanking them for good service, not the item you purchased, so “you’re welcome” is the appropriate response.


abbyleigh October 19, 2010 at 4:41 pm

being a good southern girl, it’s thank you’s all around.
and the occasional ill-placed “You Too” for good measure.


Meg at the Members Lounge October 19, 2010 at 6:14 pm

Not to throw a monkey wrench in, but if I hear the retail person say ” have a nice day” after my thanks, I’m generally thrilled.


October 19, 2010 at 7:07 pm

I would say the proper response is none of these. BOOOOYAAAAAH.

The proper response from the cashier would be “Have a great day!”


anna see October 19, 2010 at 7:08 pm

I’m fine with Thank you or You’re Welcome. I an NOT fine with NO PROBLEM. Yeah, please don’t imply that it could possibly have been a problem. You are just doing your job. Sheesh.


October 19, 2010 at 9:55 pm

1) If you say “thank you” to the clerk while shopping, you’re over-extending your thanks. However, she should probably reply, with a smile and “have a nice day!” Or with a “thank YOU,” since I agree that “you’re welcome” is a bit odd.

2) There are clear cases in which a thank you followed by a thank you makes PERFECT sense. To wit: in the context of a dinner invitation. As you are leaving my house, you will say “thank you for the scrumptious dinner” (or some such) and I, in my modesty, will reply “thank YOU for coming; it was lovely to have you.” Because if I say “you’re welcome,” it sounds like I am complimenting my own food on its scrumptiousness, which I feel uncomfortable doing.

And then I will hug most people as they walk out the door, but not you, because I know you don’t like that. So I will hug you with only my eyes.

You’re welcome.


Miss Cavendish October 21, 2010 at 7:10 am

When I moved to the US from Canada, I was shocked to hear that people would reply to my “thank you” with “uh huh.” Oh, I do dislike this so much. . . .


May 26, 2011 at 9:50 am

Okay, I know I’m a little late to this party, but I had to chime in. I think the idea that we don’t have to say thank you to people who are doing their jobs is just…rude! You know what? It’s my “job” to feed my family and take care of them, but I really appreciate it when my husband thanks me for cooking dinner (which he does EVERY TIME I cook). Yes, it’s something I have to do, but it still feels nice to hear it. I think the same goes for paid jobs. Yeah, the person is getting a check, but does that exempt them from a little appreciation?

That said, I know a cashier isn’t normally doing anything extraordinary or above and beyond, but I still say thanks because it feels and sounds polite, not because I’m really superawed by the way they bagged my groceries. It’s about being human and humane to each other. I really don’t care HOW they respond as long as they DO with something equally polite and courteous. I do not count “no problem” as being in that category, by the way, as so many young kids seem to. Thank you, you’re welcome, whatever, say something to acknowledge the human exchange here and I’m okay. It’s not so much the literal meaning as the civil exchange between 2 people in a world that is becoming less civil by the minute.

My 2 cents…a half a year later. 🙂


Toni July 16, 2011 at 10:12 am

I’m with Aly way up there except for one thing – When I worked in a store I would always thank the customer first, as I handed over the receipt/change. There is no need for a customer who has just spent money in a store to thank the sales clerk at the end of the transaction. If they said “Thank You” back, then I’d say “You’re welcome.” Side note – saying “You’re welcome” is a conditioned response, and there are plenty of other ways to respond to a thank you. In other countries the response to “thank you” might be “don’t mention it” or “de nada (it’s nothing).”


LindaSalem July 30, 2011 at 12:49 pm

I think women are especially anal about saying “thank you” all the time. We’re trained to be super polite. I often say thank you because it’s expected of me. I feel like I need to say something so I thank the cashier. I have no idea what I’m actually thanking him/her for exactly. Doing his/her job?

I didn’t think about it until I read this posting but I really don’t listen to their response. Also, I’m hearing impaired so most of the time I can’t hear their response. They could be saying F.U. for all I know.

When I say thank you and receive my goods, mentally I’ve moved on. I’m already done with the transaction and the sales clerk. Unfortunately, if someone put a gun to my head, I wouldn’t be able to tell them much about the poor sales clerk. Therefore, my answer is: It really doesn’t matter.


pj December 16, 2011 at 11:56 am

Position 3: don’t thank the cashier. They’re the ones who should be thanking you – and you can respond with “you’re welcome” if you choose.


urgentthoughts December 28, 2011 at 2:11 pm

Hilarious! I’d say thank you (“for the service”) anyway and not expect a “you’re welcome”. The cashier is just and employee.
I love this section of your blog bwt.


Anna January 19, 2012 at 6:49 pm

Why should cashiers thank us — they are not the store owners! I thank cashiers because they provide a service for me — ringing up and bagging my purchases, and taking my payment. The reason they say “thank you” back is because it is a transaction, so they are acknowledging that it was a give-and-take situation. Also, it is just a way of putting a polite touch on a human interaction.


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