I get what the OP is saying and I tend to agree, but for me it also depends on the circumstances. For example, if a friend says thanks for something I did, I’m more likely to say your welcome in that case because I actually did something for the friend. On the other hand, with a clerk in a store, I didn’t personally do anything for her so I may respond thanks, or have a good day.
People answering “thank you” with “no problem” used to really bother me. Recently I noticed a really nice woman (an employee of mine) who answers with “no problem” all the time, but the way she says it is so polite/reassuring/even meaningful.
I still say “you’re welcome”, but I no longer find “no problem” irritating.
I find “You’re welcome” to be a bit overly formal for many day-to-day thank yous. Especially when “Thank you” is more commonly “Thanks”.
“Can you hand me the stapler? Thanks” or “I brought you a coffee” “Ooh, thanks!” comes across differently than “You saved my cat! Thank you!” and I think the former statements can handle a more colloquial response. Really, you’re just acknowledging that you got thanked for the coffee, not expressing some bond of gratitude.
I heard/read someone else complain of a pet peeve about this, a few years ago. Can’t remember if it was on this board. It seemed misguided to me, and still does.
“Thank you” is a perfectly acceptable, even preferable reply in most cases. When an interviewer thanks a guest for appearing and they reply “thank you” (as I hear more often than not on NPR, etc.) it conveys that they appreciated being invited and given the chance to speak. In the OP, the cashier appreciates the customer’s patronage and the customer appreciates the service.
IMO, “you’re welcome” is only more appropriate in cases where the aid, compensation, or whatever is truly one-way. When you’re thanked for giving a gift, watching someone’s pets, changing a flat tire, or donating a kidney, saying “no, thank you!” would just be weird.
It still bugs me, but I never would say anything. The intent is clearly to mean “You’re welcome,” rather than “I accept your apology.” The denotation is insulting, but the connotation is socially gracious, so I take it as it’s felt.
In Japan, the proper response to a thank you is the equivalent of “don’t mention it”, which is meant to downplay the debt they owe you. Owing someone a debt is a big deal and can be a source of shame so the polite thing is to pretend that there is no need for thanks (although it’s also rude not to thank someone). “You’re welcome” also implies that what you did is worthy of thanks which is arrogant.
I suspect that somehow this sensibility is creeping into western (or at least American) society because often I feel like saying “you’re welcome” is inappropriate. And I think that has nothing to do with my past study of Japanese culture and language and more to do with how I feel everyone else acts.
My experience as a tourist in Japan is that business transactions (of the sort mentioned by the OP) are typically concluded with clerk and customer both thanking each other. Under the circumstances, bidirectional expressions of gratitude don’t seem inappropriate or misplaced to me; afterall, both parties have benefitted from the transaction.
Yes, I have noticed this! To my (48 year old ear) “You’re welcome” sounds overly formal, it sounds curt, it sounds aloof.
Most radio and TV interviews end: “Thank you for coming on the show!” “Thank you for having me” " or “The pleasure was all mine!” Honestly if the guest said “You’re welcome.” it would sounds weird.
I find that if I want to use “you’re welcome” (because some variant of “No, Thank YOU” really doesn’t make sense) I have to add something to it so it becomes "you’re VERY welcome"or “you’re more than welcome!”
I really don’t like “no problem” but sometimes it just rolls out, sometimes because I really am reassuring someone that whatever it was really was not a problem. In these cases I think it also sounds better with more words “It was really no problem at all!”
Here’s a fun response I learned at a work conference years ago that I have used. When someone asks for a work-related favor (switching days off, for example) and they thank you, do not say ‘you’re welcome’ and NEVER say ‘no problem’. Instead, say ‘I’m sure you would do the same thing for me’. They always answer, ‘yes, I would!’.
And now you have both acknowledged that they owe you one.