Today at Target, my cashier asked me how I was doing. "Great!" I said. "How are you?" "I'm good," she replied, then she stopped herself. "Actually, I'm not that good. I'm working, you know?"
Last week, in the drive-through at In-N-Out, our cashier mechanically said, "Welcome to In-N-Out. How are you doing today?" Loal told her, "We're doing great! How's your day going?" She was so stunned by our response that it took her a minute to answer. She said that we were the first customers in hours to actually answer the question.
As a socially-motivated person who loves new acquaintances, I enjoy any opportunity to engage in discussion. One of my English teachers (I can't remember which one) said that even if someone calls you with a wrong number, you should still take a minute to talk to them, and find out about the story of their life, because that's the only way to develop your langauge skills and improve your perspective on the world.
As a journalist, I know that everybody has a story, and it's always a good one. You just have to dig deep enough to find it. And hell, don't you think it would make the cashier's job a little more fun?