Whence "Let me know how that works out for you"?

Lately, I’ve been seeing and hearing two things a lot:

“Let me know how that works out for you”,

and its sibling,

“And, how did that work out for you?”

I seems to me that these sentences suddenly started popping up everywhere, but then, I live mostly under a rock, where it is cool and shady. Did I miss some pop culture thing that kicked off this trend?

I don’t know if this is the right forum for this. It doesn’t seem to merit space in GQ, and probably doesn’t have a definite answer anyway.

The earliest use I recall (in the snarky way it gets used lately) is in Fight Club.

Tyler Durden: Oh I get it, it’s very clever.
Narrator: Thank you.
Tyler Durden: How’s that working out for you?

Now that I think about it, it’s really a mean thing to say. Not just a little snarky - essentially you’re saying “when you fail miserably and are very unhappy, please come back so I can gloat and say I told you so.”

That’s not how I take it at all, and it’s not what i mean when I say it. Usually, it’s shorthand for, “If you take a moment to examine what you just said, you’ll realize that it’s quite ludicrous and indicative that you’re on a path that is guaranteed to be bad for you.”

Eh, I view it more like, “What you just said sounds like a fragile set of rationalizations, and perhaps if you stop thinking so hard for a moment, you’ll see that no matter how you defend it, you’re not getting what you want out of your choice of actions. Perhaps changing actions would be more productive than continuing these that aren’t working for you.”

Most of the time when I say it, (I usually use, “And how’s that working out for you?”) there’s a stunned silence and then nervous laughter which morphs into real laughter as the other person realizes how illogical they’re being. Sometimes actual change can then occur.

And I don’t use it on strangers. Only on friends who have come to me to vent or get advice.

Dr. Phil. You’ve missed Dr. Phil. Don’t worry, it wasn’t important - like missing Nick and Jessica or something.

I used it before I ever heard of the accursed McGraw.

This is why I like my rock. McGraw’s voice doesn’t reach me.

KneadToKnow traces it to Fight Club, which I have also missed. I wonder if McGraw has been quoting the movie, or if he picked up the general cultural trend and helped popularize it. Was he on the air before Fight Club came out?

So, the OP lives under a rock, does he? Good luck with that. :rolleyes:


Hey, that’s another one! “Good luck with that.” Does one of those crazy kids on “The Friends” use that?

If my rock protects me from Britney Spear’s genitals and Phil McGraw’s voice, it’s good enough for me.

I don’t know. Fight Club was released in 1999. Dr. Phil’s show started in 2002, but he became a regular on Oprah’s show in 1998.

But I suspect he’s the one that put it into popular use. Certainly many people used it - probably for generations. The four times I’ve seen any of the horrid Dr. Phil, he’s used it multiple times. I suspect the media exposure of Dr. Phil’s “How’s that workin’ for ya?” is what put this over the top from something you’d hear occationally to something “everyone” is hearing.

I heard Dr. Phil once say “You know what I always like to say on this show- How’s that working for ya? :snarky smile:” so even he says he says it.