I don't exactly hate it, but it really puzzles me when I'm in the US and at every shop the staff asks "How are you today?" I am never sure what I am expected to say. I'm aware that it's just a phrase but would it be acceptable for me to speak the truth (not that well, I have a horrible headache, but thanks for asking) or am I expected to follow the hollowed American tradition of white lies and say "thanks, I'm fine" even when I'm on the verge of dying?
That really depends on how much of a follow-up conversation you want to have.
My customers ask me how I'm doing all the time, and I've gotten so bored with the question that my standard answer is now, "Oh, you know," and then I walk away.
That, or I say "Can't complain," which is always followed up with the even more annoying, "It wouldn't matter if you did."