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I had been to a shopping mall this morning, and went through the usual security procedures. One of the security guards did the so-called body check, that is, gently touching you to check if you have something suspicious in your pockets or clothing. (He does this for all the visitors.) He then visually indicated that I could enter the mall, and said, "Thank you, sir".

I smiled and nodded politely without thinking much of it, but I wonder now, what could have been an appropriate verbal response?

The responses given here (Possible responses to "thank you") seem inappropriate in this situation. You can't respond to a body check with "You're welcome", "My pleasure", "Anytime", or "No problem" (or can you?).

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    I guess "I'm so (very) touched" won't fit either. One could just give a silent nod, perhaps. – CowperKettle Jan 7 '15 at 10:15
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    In this circumstance, I would probably tend to respond in kind with "thank you" (i.e., thanking the guard for permitting you to enter). – obfuscation Jan 7 '15 at 10:41
  • Ah, you wrote this while I was writing an answer! :) +1 This is what I think as well. – Maulik V Jan 7 '15 at 10:52
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    I think that no problem would be acceptable, but the others you list would come across as sarcastic, and I can't think of any way they wouldn't be, given the situation. – Alan Third Jan 7 '15 at 13:40
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    Oh, and rather than a body check this would normally be called a body search or a pat down. – Alan Third Jan 7 '15 at 13:43
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This is a very good question!

And the best part is you expressed your 'thanks' in the best possible way (by smiling and nodding).

However, to answer this question, I'd say that there are many circumstances where 'thanks' is replied by 'thanks'. Though in the reply, we may add some relevant words. So, here...

The guard checks you and tells 'Thank you, sir'. He does not just say 'thank you' but there is an indication that the process is complete, now you can enter the premises.

Out of many possible answers, I'd chose...

Sure, thanks!

That's because once you are checked and the guard thanks you, you may politely agree upon 'going ahead' by thanking him back!

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The nod and polite smile were an excellent response.

The verbal response I might have used is: "Have a good/nice day."

"You're welcome", "No problem," or a reciprocal "Thanks/Thank you" are also good.

I personally would not say something like "My pleasure" or "Anytime" after an interaction that involved physical contact with a stranger, just because it might sound like I was trying to flirt with him/her.

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