The Double Thanks

Not to be confused with double secret probation, of course.

The double thanks occurs primarily in corporate settings. Consider the following scenario: Sally approaches Bob for some assistance, such as answering a question. Bob answers the question. Once they complete their exchange and she is ready to depart, Sally expresses her gratitude and says “thanks” to Bob.

We are now approaching the significant moment.

Bob replies. However, he does not, as would be expected, say “you’re welcome” or “any time” or “no problem” or any other such answer that acknowledges that he has helped Sally. No. Rather, he falls into what I hypothesize is the (frequently corporate) trap of wanting to make sure that he has been polite to Sally and gives off the appearance of gratitude (even if he lacks the feeling of gratitude), so he replies her “thanks” by saying to her: “thanks.”

This is the double thanks or, as it is sometimes known, the corporate double thanks.

Here it is in action:

Sally: Can you help me with blah blah blah?
Bob: Sure.
Sally: Blah blah blah question?
Bob: Blah blah blah answer.
Sally: Blah blah blah. Great! Thanks.
Bob: Thanks.
(Exeunt severally Sally and Bob.)

As you can see, there is some insincere thanking going on here — which is why I wanted to point this out. I first noticed this activity in the mid-to-late ‘nineties (’95 – ’97); unfortunately, it was not a passing phenomenon. Perhaps together we can stop this scourge — and by “scourge,” I mean something that is not actually a scourge.



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