Trite Polite Shite on Fright Night

One thing I've been thinking about lately is how polite people in America, and particularly Washington DC, are. Most of the time this is nice. But sometimes it sort of goes too far, and you get the feeling that they're getting a weird and pathetic kind of satisfaction out of being so polite and being able to think of themselves as such polite people.

Yesterday I was in Borders waiting in line to pay. The guy in front of me was paying, and he and the cashier, a man, were, typically, being very polite to each other throughout the transaction. I can't remember the exact words but it basically went something like this:

CASHIER: How are you today?
CUSTOMER: Good, how are you?
CASHIER; Good, thankyou.
CUSTOMER: You're welcome
CASHIER: Will that be all for you today?
CUSTOMER: Yes it will, thankyou.
CASHIER: Sure. Would you like to sign up to receive new offers electronically?
CUSTOMER: No thanks (pause, as if fearing his answer was insufficiently polite) Thanks for the offer though.
CASHIER; You're quite welcome. You have a great day now.
CUSTOMER: Thankyou, and you do the same.
CASHIER: I certainly will, thankyou.
CUSTOMER; You're welcome.

This seemed to pretty much cover things, but as I stepped forward to pay, the customer thought of a new polite thing he could say, which he used as his parting shot:

CUSTOMER: Happy Halloween.

A stroke of genius! This momentarily flummoxed the cashier, who at first, trying to leave as small a gap as possible between the customer's polite remark and his own riposte, started to say, "And you do the..." But then he realized that that didn't quite work, syntactically, so he finally went with, "And to you." But his stumble had made things a bit awkward, and the customer left without another word, thank god.