You're welcome

Tea Addict

Senior Member
Republic of Korea Korean
Hello everyone. I would like to know what "You're welcome" means in the following sentences:

"I didn't ask to be called, you know."
"Pardon me?"
"Oh, it doesn't matter."
"You're welcome."

- Evelyn Waugh, Brideshead Revisited, Book 3, Chapter 1

After spending two years in Latin America in search of inspiration, the narrator Charles came back to New York where he started his journey. There he met his wife and they spent the night at the Savoy-Carlton Hotel. But they didn't sleep long, because of the unsolicited morning call service.

I often encountered conversations starting with "Thank you" replied by "You're welcome," but I could not grasp what the expression meant in this context.
How could one say "You're welcome" as a response to "It doesn't matter"?

I would very much appreciate your help. :)
 
  • Barque

    Senior Member
    Tamil
    When Charles said he hadn't asked for a call, the employee didn't understand what he was saying, and he probably wasn't expecting that response either from Charles. So he replied with "Pardon?"

    Charles didn't want to go into it further, so he said it didn't matter. The employee was probably only too glad to get the conversation over with, and he answered "You're welcome" automatically, because he was used to being thanked for waking people up and saying that in reply.

    Sometimes "You're welcome" is used sarcastically when a person doesn't receive thanks for a favour, to remind the person receiving the favour that thanks are due. But that's unlikely in this case, in my opinion. If that is the case here, it still shows that the employee hadn't understood that Charles hadn't asked for a call.
     
    Last edited:

    Tea Addict

    Senior Member
    Republic of Korea Korean
    Dear Barque,

    Thank you very much for the explanation.
    So the "You're welcome" was intended to end the conversation quickly, because the employee didn't understand what Charles said, rather than it had some special meaning in itself.
    I really appreciate your help. :)
     

    Barque

    Senior Member
    Tamil
    So the "You're welcome" was intended to end the conversation quickly,
    Not exactly. It implies that the employee wasn't paying too much attention to what Charles was saying (and wasn't particularly interested either), and automatically used a stock phrase. He was just doing his work mechanically, without really thinking.
     

    Tea Addict

    Senior Member
    Republic of Korea Korean
    Dear Barque,

    Oh, then the employee didn't understand or care what Charles said, and was doing what he had to do automatically.
    Thank you very much for clarifying that part for me.
    I truly appreciate your help, as always. :)
     
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