Patrons come up to the desk with idle chitchat all the time. If they are being boring or obnoxious, we'll say something like "Sir, do you have a question?" which usually makes them get to the point or go away. I've had patrons tell me about their grandkids, tell me about serving in WWII, about local landmarks, about Jesus, but this one takes the cake for bizarre and inappropriate:
A patron came to the desk after looking at the phone books and says:
"Ya know, there are a lot of titty bars in Portland, and almost none in Tacoma, or at least, they aren't in the phone book. I suppose it's because Tacoma has too many queers."
I was flabbergasted. While I'm no prude, there are just some topics you don't start off conversations with strangers with, and titty bars and blaming things on the "queers" would be pretty high on that list. I told him I wasn't interested in hearing about such things, but he was wandering off anyway as I spoke.
The replies I wish I'd had the reflexes (and nerve) to give:
"Try looking in the yellow pages under "night clubs" rather than "titty bars"."
"Yes, those darned queers. It's obvious that they've taken over this town from the dozens of gay bars* here."
"What, you don't think queers go to titty bars? Who do you think the strippers get their makeup hints from?"
*note: Tacoma has maybe 2-3 gay bars serving a population of just under 200,000 people. Or at least, those are the only ones I know about. I am no doubt shut out of the huge and thriving underground men-only gay scene