I learn so much behind a cash register. Who woulda thunk it? I'm quitting really soon, so I can study more Greek... but in the meantime I just love the job.
A customer taught me a lesson last week. He's one of these hippies that just exudes serenity... he's so centered that you couldn't knock him off center if you tried with a barrel of monkeys and silly string. So he walks calmly up to my register, calmly and accidentally knocks a whole bunch of stuff off a shelf with his backpack, calmly puts it back, buys his groceries, etc. Somehow in the course of our one-minute interaction I manage to apologize about a dozen times (sorry-empathy for the knocking stuff over, and then sorry-too-bad, and then sorry-i'm-awkward when I miscount his change, drop some pennies, etc.)
HE called me out on it and said DON'T APOLOGIZE. It's not your fault. Who would blame you? I don't blame you. In fact, I'm not upset at all -- i'm Mr. Unruffled, remember?
the moral of this story is: Preemptive apologies, and this business of trying to anticipate what someone else is feeling, is a whole bunch of NOTHING. Save your apologies for the tricky ones, the real wrongs, and for those people to whom you don't actually want to apologize, instead! =)