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Normally I would assume the meaning of you got it were something like:

You do understand it right.
You’ve achieved your goal.

Or even

I’ll do it for you very shortly.

But from time to time I hear it used as a replacement for you are welcome, especially in bars, restaurants, or cafés.

Is this just a more polite way of saying the same thing, or is it more related to informal speech?

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When people in service trades (barmen, waiters, etc.) say it, they mean "consider it done" (i.e. - "I've heard what you want me to do, and you can be confident I'll do it shortly"). –  FumbleFingers Nov 25 '12 at 17:02
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@FumbleFingers It’s like a sailor saying, “Aye aye, sir!” –  tchrist Nov 25 '12 at 17:11
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Question lacks context. Do you mean you hear people say it in response to "thank you", or what? –  MετάEd Nov 25 '12 at 17:18
    
Yes, and when I am already closed bill and ready to go –  dmi3y Nov 25 '12 at 19:35
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2 Answers

up vote 1 down vote accepted

Consulting the Corpus of Contemporary American English, one finds it four times in transcripts of unscripted television interviews. A guest says to Sanjay Gupta "Thanks," and Gupta responds (twice) "You got it." Once for Peter Greenberg and once for Dave Karger. These are journalists and not service workers, so I think it would be fair to say that the phrase has established itself as an informal way of saying "you're welcome."

Here's a full example with context from an interview of Tiger Woods by Jimmy Fallon.

Fallon: “I want to say thank you for having the courage to come on a late night comedy program…. It must have been a painful and awful situation, the whole thing you went through, but from a comedian’s standpoint, and my monologue writers’, thank you so much. That was some of the greatest comedy we did ever. I mean, you must have heard every golf joke in history, but that is like a magical thing to happen, your awful pain. And we laughed at your pain, and I mean, not even making jokes — it kinda wrote itself. I mean, ‘balls,’ ‘shaft,’ ‘holes,’ ‘foursomes.’ I mean, it really writes itself. I just want to say, thank you. thank you, thank you.”

Woods: “You got it.”

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I got it) thank you! –  dmi3y Nov 26 '12 at 0:26
    
In the "you're welcome" context, it seems to me that it is closely related to "Glad to help, Any time." The full imaginary expression is probably like this: "Any time you need me to do what I just did for you, you got it." This is regardless of the fact that the person saying it probably does not really mean it. –  TecBrat Nov 28 '12 at 17:36
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Yes, I agree with @FumbleFingers. I think it is used in the sense of: I will give you what you requested. I'm afraid I don't know if it's another expression for You're welcome.

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It's another pragmatic variant of the same conversational response, tailored to a different pragmatic context. Perfectly normal; language is nothing if not adaptive. –  John Lawler Nov 25 '12 at 18:50
    
Agreed, it was the same I thought too. But one thing makes me doubt. Consider example: you took couple bears, paid for them and even done. So you left tips and saying thank you, and in return he says - you got it man –  dmi3y Nov 25 '12 at 20:16
    
@dmi3y: As John says, for some speakers it's become a conventional "conversational response" that can't really be analysed that precisely. Consider it equivalent to, say, "Alright, man!" - just a general-purpose affirmative/agreeable response to whatever came before. –  FumbleFingers Nov 26 '12 at 0:58
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