mean what you say

Ever notice how people say things like, “Thank you,” in weird situations?

Customer: “Could you help me with this return I have?”
Retailer Geek: “Actually you’ll need to go to the front desk over there.”
Customer: “Cool, I’ll do that.”
Retailer Geek: “Thank you!”

Wait, what? People say things like “Thanks” when they’re not the ones getting anything out of the exchange. It seems almost like a reflex response that is meaningless. Or maybe a way to fill the space when one doesn’t have a real exchange to make when in a farewall/closing situation?

I actually , genuinely try to always be conscious and non-rote in my responses in this regard. I actually take mild offense to people who have these unthinking habits of saying things like, “bless you,” or “excuse me,” or “thank you,” with zero actual conscious effort to do so. To me, that steals the meaning entirely away.