April 18, 2010

de nada

How many times have you gone into a store, or called someone needing some information, and had the experience that you were inconveniencing them by asking for something?
In Mexico nothing is too much trouble. If you order bacon in a restaurant and they don't have any, they send someone to get some from the market a block away.  And then they cook it for you.  And the whole thing takes hardly any time at all.
And then there's the experience of being in a shop and asking for something they don't have.  Pedro the shopkeeper sends an assistant to the other shops in the vicinity, and she returns with the item. How much was the item? About 8 dollars.
In Mexico, they respond to your 'gracias' (thank you) with 'de nada', which roughly translates to 'from nothing'.  And they mean it; they mean that they consider what they have done is little and they do it willingly.  Contrast that to the language we use:  'you're welcome'.  This is polite, but doesn't convey the same message, does it?  
What would it be like if we instead brought the grace of nothing is too much trouble to the work that we do for others?

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