You see, salt is the difference between fostering a burning rage at the old Curmudgeons and doing what I do: getting colder, getting a little distance, and then presenting the salt. It's a little in the look in your eye, and a little in the way that you're standing. It certainly has a great deal to do with your tone of voice (which must be more than slightly mocking) and what you say (if you revert to generic customer service mode all is lost). I have wooed one Curmudgeon by sharing rhyme (he Shakespeare and me a translation of the Sanskrit Hitopadesa), and another by my appreciation for brook trout.
And then there was you.