When you work with the public you get a lot of comments, as you can imagine. Not all of them are nice. I've been cursed out. I thought a woman was going to deck me once she was so worked up when I told her she owed $1. Yeah, $1.
My point is that you never know what is going to happen during a transaction. You might ask someone how they are doing, and they will literally tell you exactly how well they are not doing. I'll never forget the time I had a woman start crying and telling me she had just had to put her dog to sleep.
You get the idea. The response you get can be kind of a crapshoot.
Normally when a patron approaches the desk I like to start with, "Hello. Can I help you?" or something to that effect. Nice, friendly, and you should get a somewhat predictable answer:
1) Hello. I need to _______. (renew my book, pick up a hold, request a movie, etc.)
2) *pissed and angry* I've got a problem with my account.
3) I forgot my card and need to use the internet.
That narrows it down, quite a bit, but everyone generally falls into one of those categories. You can generally tell the ticked off patrons long before they tell you they are mad at you/the library/the world.
So, when I greeted a patron this afternoon, I was not expecting to get in reply, "Oh, so you do have arms."
Seriously? Where the hell did that come from?
Me: Hello! Can I help you?
Patron: Oh, so you do have arms.
What do you say to that?
-- Yup. Thanks for noticing!
--I was born with them.
--So do you. What is your point?
--What planet are you from?
--What are you smoking?
--You should probably not be driving right now, sir.
I chose to ignore the comment, check the patron out, and get him out of the building as fast as humanly possible...you know, using my two arms.
So bizarre. You can't make this stuff up, I swear.