As a retired English professor and lifelong lover of language, I listen carefully to phrases that seem to proliferate at any given time. Recently it has been the phrase “no worries.” It would make sense to me if the context was one where I had been worried. However, in its present usage, I remain frequently baffled.I am driving through Taco Bell, ordering food, thanking the cashier who responds, “No worries.” I order coffee and thank the barista who responds, “No worries.” In both of these cases, whether over a loudspeaker or in person, I would expect the reply to be “You’re welcome.”
Of course, my curiosity of this usage took me to the internet. There I learned that this usage has “infected the American language.” I laughed at the verb “infected” since it implied a disease caught from some other place. My response to the phrase has been somewhat similar. “Who started this misuse anyway? Must be an import!” It appears that I could blame it on the Australian beer drinkers. This seems unlikely, however. Surely Australian beer drinkers can’t have had that much influence.
How far has this usage spread? Does anyone where you live still reply “You’re welcome” when they are thanked?