Nov. 2, 2020

Asking for Favors, Borrowing Spices, Using Service Plates, and More

Etiquette, manners, and beyond! In this episode, Nick and Leah tackle asking people for favors, letting people know their spices have expired, using service plates the right way, and much more. Please subscribe! (We'd write you a hand-written thank you note if we could.)

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  • AMUSE-BOUCHE: Chargers
  • A QUESTION OF ETIQUETTE: Asking for favors
  • QUESTIONS FROM THE WILDERNESS: Should I tell my neighbor her spices have expired? What do we do about a wedding photographer who is late with our photos? Do we have to serve the bottle of wine our dinner guests brought?
  • VENT OR REPENT: Daylight Saving Time, A loud person on a train
  • CORDIALS OF KINDNESS: People who listen,




Hosts: Nick Leighton & Leah Bonnema

Producer & Editor: Nick Leighton

Theme Music: Rob Paravonian


[Musical Introduction]

Nick: Do you eat off of service plates? Do you lend people expired spices? Do you ask people for favors and not reciprocate? Were you raised by wolves?! Let's find out!

[Theme Song]

Here are things that can make it better
When we have to live together
We can all use a little help
So, people don't ask themselves
Were you raised by wolves?

Nick: Hey, everybody, it's Nick Leighton.

Leah: And I'm Leah Bonnema.

Nick: Let's just get right down to it with our amuse-bouche.

Leah: Let's get in it!

Nick: So, for today's amuse-bouche, Leah, please describe for our listeners what you see.

Leah: Um, it's a ... It's a place setting.

Nick: Okay. Mm-hmm.

Leah: And there's a baby plate, and a middle plate, and then, underneath that, it looks like a red plate.

Nick: So, what is the red plate?

Leah: I assume it's some sort of a changer, so you can pull the plate away without touching the plate-

Nick: [Giggling] Okay.

Leah: -or maybe it's just like a plate - like a bed skirt. Is it a bed skirt for your ... Or, it could be for people, such as myself, who maybe tend to have little things dribble off the side of the plate-

Nick: Uh-huh, uh-huh, uh-huh ...

Leah: It's like a dribble catcher.

Nick: Right! Actually, you're pretty much right - spot on - with all of that. Yes.


Nick: What we're talking about, it's called a charger, and it's also called an under plate, or a place plate, or Miss Manners actually likes the term *"service plate"* because she says the word *"charger"* is too aggressive.

Leah: Oh!

Nick: [Giggling] So, I use the word "charger," but basically, it is a decorative plate that goes underneath all the other plates you'll actually be eating off of, so it's going to be larger than all the other plates, and it could be made out of many materials. It can be china, or glass, or metal, or leather, or mother-of-pearl. It's an opportunity to add a little panache to your table.

Chargers have actually been around for a very long time. There's references to it in the Bible. When they talk about John the Baptist's severed head on a platter, they actually use the word "charger" in a lot of the translations in the Bible. It became popular in the 19th century, and the idea is basically that it would catch drips, and spills, and that it would also sort of be like a trivet.

Leah: Hmmm.

Nick: I'm not actually quite sure how many sizzling fajita platters Queen Victoria was serving, but I guess, you know, a very hot plate, this is ... you needed something like a charger. So, here's how you use them because I have definitely been at quite a few dinner parties, where they are used incorrectly, and far be it for me to ever point it out. However, I feel like our audience wants to know how you're really supposed to do it.

Leah: Well, I want to know!

Nick: First things first, you do not eat off of a charger! Don't put food on a charger. That's not what they're for.

Leah: I mean, how would you know it's a charger when you saw it?

Nick: You will know it's a charger because the charger is always going to be at the place setting as soon as you enter the dining room. It's set along with everything else. So, it's always going to be this decorative thing on the place setting, and either the napkin will be on top of it, or if it's like a fancy event, where they already put out the first course, or the amuse-bouche, or something like that, then that will be on top of the charger. You'll know the charger because usually it's going to be decorative in some way.

Leah: Okay.

Nick: It's going to add a certain je ne sais quoi to the table. Sometimes, the charger is just the dinner plate that you'll be eating off of later, but that would be in a fairly informal setting, so I don't think we have to be too worried about that. In which case, I guess, you will eat off of the "charger," because the charger is really just the dinner plate. You're getting technical, Leah!

Leah: No, I'm just ... [Giggling] I'm very curious-

Nick: [Giggling]

Leah: Because as soon as you said that I immediately thought, well, I'm sure I've eaten off a charger [laughter]

Nick: Chargers are typically only seen in fancy events.

Leah: Okay.

Nick: A fancy event is going to have a charger that's going to be a little fancy. So, I think you'll know a charger when you see it. They're typically only used for lunch, and dinner. You will rarely see a charger at breakfast, unless it's like a wedding breakfast, which I guess happens. The general principle that we're trying to achieve at a formal dinner is a diner is never left with an empty place setting in front of them. They will always have something there. The idea with the charger is, it is that something. For proper use, the first course will go on top of that; the soup course; the salad course. But then, when we get to the fish course, or the meat course, the charger goes away.

Leah: Oh!

Nick: You do not put your entree on top of the charger. You do not leave it throughout the entire meal. If you want to be formal, as the charger is being removed from the right - because we always remove things from the right - the new course, the meat course, let's say, swoops in from the left in the same motion. The waiter behind you, or the host, is going to, with their right hand, whip the charger away and insert the new dish immediately so that, as we remember, the diner is never left with something empty in front of them. Then, after the main meal is done, obviously, the table is cleared, and then we have dessert, and there's no chargers for dessert.

Leah: Beautiful!

Nick: Right? Now, sometimes, people do get a little more informal, and they do leave the chargers throughout the meal as sort of a decorative thing. I have seen that, and I think it's fine. I'm not hung up about it. Miss Manners would be very disappointed in you, though. So, I guess it depends if you want to disappoint Miss Manners.

Leah: I mean ... I feel like she's probably disappointed a lot, so-

Nick: [Giggling] Right. Add it to the list.

[Musical Introduction]

Nick: We're back, and now it's time to go deep.

Leah: This is very deep. This is very anxiety producing [laughter]

Nick: For today's question of etiquette, I want to talk about asking people for favors-

Leah: Ooooooh!

Nick: I feel like we probably approach this slightly differently.

Leah: Oh, I guarantee we do.

Nick: So, I think the first question is: what is a favor? What's a favor?

Leah: Ugh! You always throw me for a loop when we have to describe what it actually is [laughter]

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: I should always be ready to be like: "What it is specifically."

Nick: Yeah, you should know by now.

Leah: No, I know. Why do I not know by now? That's so crazy. Oh yeah, of course, that's where we should start.

Nick: We start with the definition, right up top.

Leah: Yeah. I think it's asking somebody to help you in some way-

Nick: Right.

Leah: -to do something for you.

Nick: Right. It's an action. I think the flavor of the favor is that it's not an obligation. It's a voluntary act.

Leah: Yeah, definitely.

Nick: So, when it comes to favors, I think, let's talk about how to ask for a favor because I think people who have trouble with favors, in general, have trouble with both the asking part and then, also, the answering part.

Leah: This is great because I feel like, from both angles, asking for favors, and what to do when a favor is asked, it's difficult on both ends. So, I love that you would say that.

Nick: Yeah. I think, for me, I actually like to use the phrase, "I have a favor to ask, and here's what it is." So, it's right up top. Like, "This is a favor," which means you can say no, "and here's what it is." I think you always want to just be very clear with what the favor is, so that the person can make an informed decision about whether or not to accept or not because you get into trouble when it's vague and the favor changes.

Leah: Oh, I totally agree. A) I love that because I've actually used that: "I have a favor to ask." I like to just make it very clear I know that I'm asking for a favor. I've had people ask me for favors, where I genuinely don't know what the question was.

Nick: [laughter] Okay.

Leah: I get that it's because they were anxious asking, or maybe they weren't exactly sure what they were ... But I don't understand what you're looking for.

Nick: Yeah ... What do you need from me?

Leah: So, I agree with that. Make sure it's clear-

Nick: Very clear.

Leah: -because you don't want somebody to have to do extra work deciphering.

Nick: Right. Yeah. Just say what it is and be clear about it. There is this book called Influence,which is sort of about the psychology of persuasion. The author found that if you added a reason - if you used the word "because" - you'll have better luck having them accept because even if your reason is flimsy, people will be more willing just to agree to it, if you've given them something.

Leah: Yeah, no, that makes sense.

Nick: Right?

Leah: A context.

Nick: Yeah, so, just a little reason.

Leah: I always, and I think this is where ... I'm not sure if this is a bad quality I have because I think I'm very uncomfortable asking people for things. I was sort of raised in a "We don't ask," which is not healthy, and it's not good, but I like to give people an out, which is-

Nick: Yes!

Leah: -maybe not good because you-

Nick: No, that's good! Always give an escape.

Leah: Okay.

Nick: Yes!

Leah: Because I don't like it when ... I understand, sometimes, things are uncomfortable, and I don't want people to feel put out. It's a bad time. It's a thing that makes them uncomfortable. So, I always try to say that at the end, "If this is a bad time, or if this is not a thing that ... Really, no worries. I'm just- I'm putting it out there if this is a possibility."

Nick: No, I think that's key. Got to give them an out; give them an opportunity for escape because you don't want them to feel obligated to say yes, and you don't want them to feel guilty about saying no.

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: So, I think you want to make it very clear, like, "I'm only asking you for a favor, which is voluntary, and it's cool if you can't do it."

Leah: Oh, I didn't know if you were going to agree with me on that end one, because I'm always so wishy washy [laughter] Not wishy washy, but being like, "Totally okay if you can't do it." But, yeah, I always feel that way.

Nick: No, I think if you're asking for a favor- because you don't want to trap people, it's like that whole, "Oh, I just texted you; hey, you free Tuesday?" That's a trap.

Leah: Yeah. It's a trap.

Nick: Free for what? I don't know ... Yeah, so you want to give context, and you want to give people the opportunity to know like how to respond. Letting people know that they're not obligated to do this thing, that's very helpful, I think, when you're asking.

Leah: Great.

Nick: I think you want to accept no. Be okay if they say no. I think that's important.

Leah: Yeah, of course.

Nick: Well, you say, "Of course," but the number of times someone's asked you for a favor, and you said no, and they got all bent out of shape about it? I mean ...

Leah: How about the number of times people have asked me for a favor, and I've said, no - let's just start with that because [laughter]

Nick: That's a very short list. Okay.

Leah: No, and I didn't mean wishy washy, earlier. I said that I mean, more like I always like to be extra careful.

Nick: Right.

Leah: I didn't know if this was a place where maybe that was working against the idea of a favor, but I just hate the idea of making somebody uncomfortable.

Nick: Then, there's sort of a special category of favors, where when the favor you're asking has to do with the person's profession ó I think that gets a little trickier. If you're a lawyer, and someone asks you to review a legal document, or you're a doctor and someone asks you to, "Look at this thing on my body!" I think there is a slightly different category of favors that have to do with your professional expertise, and I think you have to be even more mindful about how you ask for those favors and be even more comfortable with them saying no, because ... As a lawyer, your livelihood is involved in like using your time to review contracts like this, so you're basically asking this person to do free work.

Leah: Oh, I'm just taking a moment because that's the only favors I really get asked, and the difference between how I feel about it is whether or not the person recognizes, in their favor-ask, that what they're asking me to do is what I do for a living, and it's going to be taking time away, and that how the person asks with that in mind is the difference between whether or not it's a favor that bothers me or not.

Nick: Right. Yes, because it's not just like, "Oh, would you help me move a piano?" It's like, "Oh, would you use your professional expertise to do this free comedy thing?"

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: Right.

Leah: Or to look at my thing, or to suggest me to this person.

Nick: Oh, yeah. "Read this script," or "Give me notes on this thing ..." Yeah, exactly - using your professional capital.

Leah: That's so correct.

Nick: Then, I think being appreciative if somebody does do the favor for you. That, at the end of the day, is the most important. You have to be appreciative, sincerely, that someone did a favor for you.

Leah: I also think that some people act like they're not asking you a favor-

Nick: Hmm!

Leah: -in their question when they ask you. The first thing I wrote down is, "Recognize you're asking a favor." I'll have people ask me for things, as if I owe them-

Nick: Yes!

Leah: -the thing they're asking me for. Then, for a second, I'll be like, "Why do I feel guilty?" I'll be like, "Oh, because they're pretending that the way they ..." I get that people do that because there are people who know how to get what they want, but I just find it so infuriating because it's so disrespectful to somebody to act like they should just do something instead of being like, "No, you're asking me for a favor."

Nick: Yes! Have we ever talked about NLAD?

Leah: No.

Nick: Do you know about NLAD? [Giggling] So, sidebar, guys. Buckle up. Long story short, I had a friend who was doing an event and asked me to help supervise the volunteers that were going to be doing the gift bag. I wanted to set parameters to make sure I could really commit to this, and I was like, "Okay, I will help supervise. Just confirm that we're going to have enough volunteers, and they're going to be available for enough hours so that we can actually get it all done." Okay, great. Confirmed. Six hours, 20 volunteers. Fine.

Now, cut to not 20 volunteers. I think I might have had three volunteers for like 45 minutes, and now, here I am doing 500 gift bags by myself alone. Then, at the eleventh hour, inexplicably, one of the items for the gift bag was an apple that needed to be individually wrapped in cellophane and tied with a ribbon. Now, here I am, individually wrapping 500 apples.

Leah: Oh, my lord ...

Nick: So, it was not what I signed up for at all, and my friend was not apologetic at all and acted like I was obligated to do this, like I was some employee. There was zero appreciation. I kind of just chalked it up to like, she's stressed out; this is a big event; obviously, when the dust settles and the event's over, she'll apologize, and we'll just move on, and it'll be fine." She never apologized. She refused to apologize when specifically invited to apologize to me. I was like, "Uh, I think I could use an apology here." She declined. So, long story short, she got reseated in my theater!

Leah: What?!!! That's insanity!

Nick: So, obviously, I tell everybody I know that this happened. And, as a joke, I created NLAD, which is Nick Leighton Appreciation Day. It's every October 1, and every October 1, we commemorate a day where we just say, "Nick Leighton, we appreciate you."

Leah: I missed it this year! Oh, no! I didn't know!

Nick: Add it to your calendar next year. A bunch of my friends have it as like a recurring event on their calendar, as a joke, but is it a joke? No.

Leah: No.

Nick: No. So, everybody's invited to celebrate NLAD, October 1. Mark your calendar.

Leah: That's crazy!!

Nick: Yeah. No, it was really ... And that's the long story short. It was really ... It was kind of Etiquette 101 in how not to treat a friend, and how not to ask for favors.

Leah: Oh my goodness!

Nick: No good deed goes unpunished is the lesson there, but I'm really good at wrapping apples.

Leah: [laughter]

Nick: Related, though, if you do accept a favor, I think it's totally okay to set boundaries. "Yes, I can do this thing for you, but I need to be back by 5:00," or "Here's what I can do, or how I can do it." I think it's okay to negotiate a little bit. It doesn't have to be an unqualified yes. like, "I can help you, but ..."

Leah: I recently asked for a favor for something that was in somebody's - as you were saying earlier - in their work sphere.

Nick: Mm-hmm.

Leah: I said, "I'm asking a favor, up top," and then I said why I was asking, and I said, "Would you have time to talk about it with me? If not, I totally understand. I've been reading about it online. Could you point me in a direction ... Is there something that you've seen on this that you felt like, 'Yeah, that's it'?" I gave them ... If they didn't want to take time to talk about it, that's fine, or they could just be like, "Oh, this is my favorite person who wrote about this topic," or, "I've always found this software to be helpful about that." You know what I mean? Or they could just be like, "Not a good time." I gave them all those options.

Nick: Yeah. That's nice. You didn't corner them, and you let them respond how they wanted to respond. If you're asked for a favor, and you want to say no, you can say no. Saying no is okay.

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: You don't have to give excuses. You don't have to say why. I think it's okay to be like, "No, I just can't. It's not a good time," or "I'm unavailable."

Leah: I just love how I said, "Yeah," like that was super-easy. Yeah, for sure.

Nick: [Giggling] Yeah, you just tossed that out. Yeah. Obviously. Duh!

Leah: Last week, I was laying on the floor because I had to text somebody back, "No," but it's totally fine. [laughter]

Nick: Well, Miss Manners has a great quote on this topic, which is, "If manners required doing everything anyone asked, it would soon wipe out morals."

Leah: [Gasping] Oh, I love it. I love it. I love it!

Nick: Right?

Leah: I love it!

Nick: So ... I like that. Yeah.

Leah: That's a great quote. Some people, when you're asking a favor - I wrote down - have some self-awareness because some people ask for favors that are so ludicrous, and they have no acknowledgment that what they're asking of that person is entirely too much.

Nick: Oh, that's a good point. Yeah, if you're going to ask for a favor, know whether or not it's reasonable.

Leah: Yeah. Know what you're asking.

Nick: Yeah, that's true. I'm sure you have some very specific-

Leah: Ugh!

Nick: [Giggling] -favors in mind that you cannot say to protect the innocent.

Leah: [laughter] Protect the not innocent! But, for some reason, I'm the ... Like a lot of our letter writers, I end up feeling bad, even though it's another person who put me in a corner.

Nick: Yeah, I've definitely received requests where it was like, "Are you kidding me? Do youthink this is okay?"

Leah: [Giggling] Yeah, that's what I want to text back! "Do you think this is an appropriate thing to ask?!"

Nick: You really think that this is an acceptable thing to ask me to do for you? Really?

Leah: Ugh!

Nick: Okay. Yeah. Although, I mean, some people do have the attitude, like, "Well, if you don't ask, you don't get." Buuuuuutttt ... I don't know if that's always appropriate.

Leah: A lot of people do tell me that. They'll be like, "Well ..." They're just putting themselves out there. I'll be like, "I don't know if ..."

Nick: Oh, well, you can be rude and putting yourself out there.

Leah: Yeah [crosstalk] no, that's exactly what it is.

Nick: That's not mutually exclusive!

Leah: So true.

Nick: Sure. Yeah. That's ... You can definitely be out there and rude. Yeah.

Leah: Mm!

Nick: Mm.

Leah: I feel like when people ask for friend favors, it's significantly less layered than job favors.

Nick: Yes. I think when we have a different relationship, yes.

Leah: Because friends will be like, "Hey, can you help me with this move?" You'll be like- openly be like, "I absolutely hate your guts, but of course."

Nick: Right.

Leah: "Of course, I'll show up and help you move."

Nick: [Giggling] Right?

Leah: "I'm going to make fun of you the whole time, and you'd better get me ice cream."

Nick: Yes. I mean, I think the size of the favor, or your willingness to do the favor, is proportional to what your relationship is with the person that asked.

Leah: Yep.

Nick: I think that's true.

Leah: It's very weird when people who don't know you well ask you for favors.

Nick: Yes. That becomes bold.

Leah: It's very bold, and I find it uncomfortable.

Nick: Yeah. I think the unfamiliar person that asked for favors, that's inappropriate.

Leah: I'll tell you what my therapist said. My therapist said they can ask, and then you can say no!

Nick: Because, otherwise, no morals.

Leah: No morals! Such a great quote!

[Musical Interlude]

Nick: We're back, and now it's time to take some questions from you guys in the wilderness.

Leah: [Howling]

Nick: Our first question is: "Tonight, I was making King Ranch chicken, and three-fourths of the way through the recipe, I realized I had no chili powder. I texted my neighbor to ask if I could borrow some, and she graciously said yes and walked it over to my husband, who was working in the garage. I texted her a thank you and got back to the recipe. I then realized that the chili powder container had an expiration date of 2013. I decided that maybe she likes the large bottle and buys it in bulk and refills it. Certainly, the spice isn't more than seven years old. I feel like I should just return it and thank her, instead of asking about the freshness of the spice. I mean, I made the recipe, and we ate it, but I would want to know if my spices were out of date. Any thoughts on this?"

Leah: This made me giggle so hard because I felt the conundrum.

Nick: Mm-hmm. It's a puzzle. It's a puzzle.

Leah: I also think it's funny to me because, when I was home visiting my mom, my mom really finds "Best by" dates to be negotiable.

Nick: [Giggling] Mm-kay.

Leah: So, there was a lot of me being like, "Do you think that we should have this?"

Nick: I mean, sometimes, the date is pretty flexible.

Leah: Yeah. For some things.

Nick: I mean, some items, I'm more careful with. I'm probably more lenient with my vanilla extract than I am with. like. milk.

Leah: Oh, yeah.

Nick: Right?

Leah: I feel like there's three options on this one.

Nick: Well, before we get there, let's talk about King Ranch chicken! Do you know what this is?

Leah: No, I don't know what it is.

Nick: I looked it up because I was like, "I don't know what King Ranch chicken is." According to Wikipedia, it is a popular Tex Mex casserole, and it gets its name from the King Ranch, which is, "one of the largest ranches in the United States," although, apparently, this casserole thing has nothing to do with the ranch. It's just named after the ranch. Basically what you do is you do a layer of tortillas, or corn chips, and then you add a mixture of shredded chicken, and then you add a mixture of like a mix of canned tomatoes with green chilies, and then cream of mushroom soup, and cream of chicken soup with diced bell peppers and onions. So, it's like Tex Mex hot dish, I guess.

Leah: Hmm!

Nick: The photos online look so good. So, I'm really into King Ranch chicken right now, and I might make it this weekend because I'm really into it. So, that's King Ranch chicken. The spice is definitely seven years old. There's not a world in which this woman refills the container with new spices. Yes.

Leah: [Giggling] I love that idea. I love that our letter writer ... Because that was something I would do, where you'd create a story.

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: "She might've refilled it." No, she didn't.

Nick: No! We do not live in a world in which we use the plastic container from Costco, and we refill that with fresher spice. No, no. Uh-uh.

Leah: Unless she belongs in this co-op [crosstalk]

Nick: No. No!

Leah: [laughter]

Nick: It's not happening. It's not happening. But spices do last a while.

Leah: They do.

Nick: I mean, I think you've got [crosstalk] a couple years.

Leah: I'm sure it's fine.

Nick: Well, I think spices don't become toxic [crosstalk]

Leah: Yeah, they're not going to kill you.

Nick: They're not going to kill you, but they lose potency, so it's not going to have the same oomph as a fresh spice. Should you tell, though? Should you tell?

Leah: My gut reaction was just to say thank you and return it.

Nick: Yeah, I think you let it go. I think you let it go. I mean, do you, though? Would you want to know if your spices were old? You know.

Leah: I do! If I gave you something, and then you came back and were like, "Did you know this about your thing?" I'd be like ... In my mind. I'd be like, "Oh, thanks for telling me." That would come out of my mouth, but my mind would be like, "Ha, I'm not lending something to you again!"

Nick: [Giggling] Right. Yeah. I mean, I think that would be a lot of people's reaction.

Leah: Even though you probably didn't mean it that way, I think the person might feel embarrassed. It might embarrass them.

Nick: Right, like, "Oh, I don't keep a tidy home."

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: "I don't have good food safety practices here."

Leah: Yeah. The other option, I think, is to- if you felt a way about it, is that you could buy them a new chili powder and be like, "Thank you so much. I used a whole lot. I love hot stuff. Wanted to get you a new one-"

Nick: Okay ...

Leah: "-because I'm so appreciative."

Nick: "And this one is fresh. I just bought it. It's not old. Threw out your old one."

Leah: I mean ...

Nick: No, I like that. Yeah, I like that. I mean, I feel like somebody who doesn't care about spice expiration dates, that's just a personality type.

Leah: Yeah, and just don't bring it- I wouldn't bring it up.

Nick: For me, I use a Sharpie to write the date I open baking powder because I do throw it out after six months.

Leah: I would expect nothing less.

Nick: You would expect me to use a label maker. I handwrite it with a Sharpie because I'm lazy, but ...

Leah: [laughter] Because I'm lazy!

Nick: [Giggling]

Leah: Wooooooooooooooooo!

Nick: We have different definitions of lazy.

Leah: We really do.

Nick: Our next question is: "My now husband and I had a small wedding ceremony on an island near Seattle. A best friend to one of my best friends is a photographer in the area and came highly recommended, and her photos are great, so we hired her. After our wedding day, we were supposed to get our sneak peek photos within 48 hours, and then some more teaser ones about a week later, and then our final gallery within eight weeks. We only received our sneak peek photos via text after reminding her about them and didn't get our teaser photos until a month later, after my husband asked her twice. In giving us these photos, she admitted that she lost her thank you card, tip, and tea towel gift, and found them the other day. She also told us that we won't have our final gallery until ten weeks, not eight. Do I write something back to our photographer saying how we are disappointed in her unprofessional placement of our cash tip, and gift, and now delayed photos, or am I overreacting and should just drop it? I do not want to bring up the situation to a mutual friend between us." Well, first of all, late wedding photos is a thing.

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: I feel like if you're a wedding photographer, you would get a lot of business if you could guarantee that you'll always deliver on time or money back. I feel like late photos is ... Everybody has late photos.

Leah: These are photos that people are dying to get!

Nick: Yeah. I mean ... Also, it's a known thing that people who get married go crazy with every day that they don't have their photos-

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: It's like a thing.

Leah: It's not like people are like, "Oh, I didn't know you were waiting for them."

Nick: So, if you're a photographer out there, just do it. Just get it on time.

Leah: Just get it on time.

Nick: Deliver on your promises.

Leah: That goes for everybody across the board!

Nick: Yes. You should always make good on your promises.

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: That would be good advice for all aspects of all civilization. Yes. Thank you. Put it on the pillow.

Leah: I underlined what I think our letter writer could mention. I don't think mentioning disappointment in the unprofessional placement of the cash tip and gift, but I do think you could mention, "Hey, our teaser was late," because it's the things- items that are late that are more of an issue with the job.

Nick: Right.

Leah: Because this person told you they lost the thing and then found it.

Nick: This is a customer service situation. I find, in any customer service situation, before I engage, before you call UPS, or whatever it is, I always think to myself - what do I want in this phone call? What do I need from them in this phone call? Then, let's just get that because you are always very tempted to berate them, or to complain about other things. It's like, no, we're laser focused. In this phone call, I just need a day definite for when I'm going to get these photos. That's what you're laser-focused on. Who cares about the detail? If she lost her cash gift, whatever. It's just like, "I need these photos, and that's what I need." I would ignore any other issue. However, she has something you want, so I think we want to be very delicate about how we approach her because she's holding something hostage that like she could not give you in the end, and you want this thing.

Leah: Yep.

Nick: I think this is a little tricky because you can't go elsewhere.

Leah: No!

Nick: The wedding has happened. She has the only photos of this, so we are held hostage a little bit.

Leah: We are held hostage.

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: Even if we weren't held hostage, I don't think it would be at all helpful, as you were saying, to bring up the tip, or the gift, because that's just more something that irritates you, but you're not going to get anything out of bringing that up.

Nick: Right, it's not helpful.

Leah: It's about the photos, and the photos being delayed.

Nick: Right. I think one thing you could say is, "Totally understand. It's a busy time of year. I get it, but if there's anything you can do to get us closer to the eight weeks that we talked about rather than 10, we sure would appreciate it."

Leah: I think it's so perfect.

Nick: This would be like-

Leah: I'm going to write it down for myself and use it later.

Nick: I'm highlighting the fact, "We talked about eight weeks." In my head, eight weeks is the number, not 10 weeks, like you just mentioned. So, if there's anything we can do ...

Leah: I love that because two times this week on two very separate occasions, I wrote to people, and then they wrote back as if what I said was an arbitrary thing and not the thing that we had agreed upon.

Nick: Oh, gosh!

Leah: Excuse me, that happened once. Then, the second time, with a completely different person, I learned from that first email ... Then I reminded them in a manner that you suggested, like that, "As we had discussed ..."

Nick: X, Y, Z.

Leah: Because somehow, it's like people are very selective memory.

Nick: Yes. Sometimes, people omit important details that are material. Yes.

Leah: I actually had someone say to me, "Where did you get that information?" And it was literally the email prior.

Nick: *"Where did you get that information?"*

Leah: That they sent me. I was like, "It's two inches above this email ..."

Nick: [Giggling]

Leah: "... in the other email."

Nick: That's a little tricky because what you want to say is like. "See below."

Leah: Yeah, but you can't. I wanted to be like, "Are you joking?"

Nick: "Please re-review the email thread. Thank you."

Leah: [laughter]

Nick: You just want to be like, "Can you just read the thing?" [crosstalk]

Leah: Yeah, and you're like, "I did my work on my end. How did this happen?"

Nick: Great. Yeah.

Leah: I do think it's nice to give people the benefit of the doubt, as you were saying up top-

Nick: Sure. Yes.

Leah: It's a busy time of year. I've definitely missed things in emails.

Nick: It happens. Yes. So, just, if you can get it to eight weeks, that'd be great. If it's 10, we don't 10 to slip to 12.

Leah: No.

Nick: I wouldn't rock the boat until you get the photos. That's my only advice.

Leah: I think this is such a perfect answer, Nick.

Nick: So, our next thing is a voicemail. Let's play that now.

[Answering machine beep]

Mike: Hi, Nick and Leah, my name is Mike, and I have somewhat of an emergency question that we need answered in 12 hours. We are having friends over tomorrow for dinner. A month ago, they gave us a bottle of wine, and we haven't drank it because we are saving it for a special occasion, but do we serve our friends the bottle of wine they gave us showing that we want to share it, and cherish it, or do we not serve them that bottle because it shows that we haven't drank it yet and neglected their present, and do we serve them a different bottle of wine? Thank you very much for your help.

[Answering machine beep]

Nick: So, obviously, I wrote them back immediately. This is an emergency. It's what we're here for. So-

Leah: You're incredible. I would just like to say I wish it was Nick Appreciation Day every day because-

Nick: I mean ... NLAD every day.

Leah: You deserve it. You deserve it.

Nick: Yes. Yes! Mark your calendars. October 1-

Leah: With a yearly reminder.

Nick: It's all I want. And you don't even have to tell me you appreciate, but you just, on that day, take a moment and just think, "Nick Leighton. I appreciate him."

Leah: I will.

Nick: That's all.

Leah: I will.

Nick: That's all. That's all you need to do. So, I wrote them back, and I basically told them, "When you bring a bottle of wine to someone's house, that's a gift to them, and they can do with this gift as they please. They're under no obligation to serve it to you then or ever. So, that's fine. You don't have to serve this bottle of wine. So, when they came over, you can just serve whatever you want."

Leah: Great.

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: When I heard the message, my immediate thought was this person never said what they wanted to do with it, and the same thing ... It's a gift to you. I think it's about what you want to do with it.

Nick: Yeah, at your discretion. Now, if the people come over and be like, "Where's that bottle of wine?" That's rude. You shouldn't do that. You should never really ask after a gift.

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: Let them volunteer what they've done with the gift. If they do ask about it, you could just say like, "Oh, it's in the cellar," and then sort of pivot to what you are serving.

Leah: Right.

Nick: "But, oh, we have this lovely zinfandel." So, whatever it is, you can just sort of pivot the conversation. You do not have to serve what they brought.

Leah: But you can if you want to, correct?

Nick: You can. Yes. If it goes with the meal, that's fine. I asked them what was the aftermath of this, and they said that they had a lovely dinner and that they served a different wine, and these people brought another bottle of wine, and they had that, as well. They said it was awesome, and they didn't ask about the previous bottle and that they know their manners. So, another satisfied customer.

Leah: Terrific!

Nick: Right? So, if you want to be a satisfied customer, send us your questions. You can send them to us at our website,, or you can leave us a voicemail; send us a text message. (267) CALL-RBW (267-225-5729)

[Musical Interlude]

Nick: We're back, and now it's time to play a game we like to call Vent or Repent-

Leah: [Singing] Vent or Repennnt!

Nick: -which is our opportunity to vent about some bad etiquette experience we've had recently, or we can repent for some etiquette faux pas we've committed. So, Leah, would you like to vent, or repent?

Leah: I'm going to vent.

Nick: Bring it.

Leah: I'm going to vent, and it's more of a general rudeness that I feel-

Nick: Ambient. It's an ambient vent.

Leah: This time of year, I get so worked up about daylight saving time, and now I feel like this is the appropriate place for me to vent. I think it's rude that we're still doing it.

Nick: It's rude!

Leah: It's rude to human beings because there are now studies out that show that this hour- especially in kids having to go to school, it messes us up!

Nick: Okay.

Leah: It messes us up! It throws me into a huge depression. I have to watch Hallmark Christmas movies early-

Nick: You would do that anyway-

Leah: I would, but ...

Nick: You're just using daylight savings as an excuse.

Leah: No! It's because I need it because daylight saving time throws me into the pit of despair, and it's ridiculous that we're still doing it.

Nick: It is ridiculous.

Leah: And it very rude! Very rude!

Nick: Okay ... I mean, I guess if you think about etiquette, about showing consideration for others and their well-being, then yes, I guess daylight saving time is rude.

Leah: I mean, it genuinely messes up our systems. It's been documented.

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: I have friends who are farmers, which is why we did this originally - for the farmers - because we were getting up with a sun and going to bed with the sun. It was a different time. I've asked my friends who are farmers, do you like daylight saving time? Not one of them likes it. They're like, "Guess what? We have lights now!"

Nick: Yeah, no, it's true. We should get rid of it, and it would be nice if we did. I'm on board.

Leah: Really! It works me up. Works. Me. Up.

Nick: [Giggling] I see that.

Leah: Whoever's in charge of daylight saving time, you're rude.

Nick: For me, I would also like to vent. So, I was recently down in Philadelphia, and I took Amtrak to get there. I'm on the Acela, which is the faster train. I mean, it's not the Nozomi Shinkansen, but like it's faster ...

Leah: What is?

Nick: I'm just minding my own business, and I'm at the back of the car and at the other end of the car - an Acela car, I believe, is like 60 feet long, which is the length of a bowling alley. At the very other end of the car there is somebody on his phone the entire time, and he is so loud, so loud, which, okay, yes, rude person, loud, okay ... But what made it an etiquette crime on steroids was that he was so rude to everybody he was talking to. The first phone call was a bank issue with some payment that didn't go through, and he was yelling at the top of his lungs and berating this poor person. Now, I have this guy's full name, address, birth date, and last four of his social.

Leah: [laughter]

Nick:I'm 60 feet away. I have all that information ... Then, he talks to some woman named Debbie. I guess it sounds like this guy was being indicted, and Debbie is part of his legal team?! The whole conversation was just, "Debbie? Debbie? Debbie ... Shut up, Debbie, I'm talking. Debbie? It's my turn. Do you need a time out, Debbie?" Do you need a time out?!!!

Leah: [Screaming in horror]

Nick: It was so patronizing, and it was so rude, and it was just very shocking, just how rude he was being to this poor person. Yeah, maybe they blew it with some paperwork and I get that, but to be so inconsiderate to the person on the phone, plus everybody else in this Amtrak car ... There's other people. You are in public. This is just not how you act in public. So, that was amazing. Then, he ended the call with Debbie with, "Have a Good Weekend," which, that was sort of strange ... Then, we were going through a tunnel or something, and she couldn't hear it, so he was like, "I said have a good weekend, Debbie. Have a good weekend!" It was so amazing. So, then he hangs up, and then he dials somebody else, but it accidentally is Debbie, again.

Leah: Oh, no!

Nick: Now, he has to apologize to Debbie for misdialing her. Then, he's like, "Have a good weekend, Debbie." [laughter]

Leah: Oh, no! I can so visualize this person.

Nick: I think the lesson here is if you are in public, and you are in public, on a train, you should be mindful of the tone and volume of your conversation and mindful of other people that have to suffer this with you.

Leah: Oh! Because now Nick has the last four of your social.

Nick: Yeah, your identity is mine. Sorry, Debbie.

[Musical Interlude]

Nick: So, Leah, what have we learned?

Leah: I learned that I'm not supposed to eat off the plate charger.

Nick: Don't do it. It's decorative.

Leah: No matter how pretty it is-

Nick: Don't do it!

Leah: I won't do it.

Nick: Resist the temptation. I learned that if I ask you for a favor, you're going to do it.

Leah: I am. I am ...

Nick: You're gonna do it.

Leah: If you just say, "This is a favor," I'll be like, "Sure!" But, if you pretend it's not a favor, I'm gonna have my back up!

Nick: [Giggling] Well, thank you, Leah.

Leah: Thank you, Nick.

Nick: And thanks to you out there for listening! If I had your address, I'd send you a handwritten note on my custom stationery.

Leah: He would LOVE to!

Nick: I would be delighted! So, for your homework this week, check out our Patreon. You're like, what's Patreon? Well, go to our website, click on Monthly Membership, and you can see what it's all about, and see if it's something you want to do. We'd love it.

Leah: Yeah! Please! Check it out!

Nick: We'll see you next time.

Leah: Bye!

Nick: Bye!

[Instrumental Theme Song]

Nick: All right, Leah, it's time for a Cordials of Kindness, the part of the show that you make us do, and I only give you 30 seconds to do it. Ready, set, go.

Leah: Okay, so in my neighborhood, people hang signs, and I get ... The lost animal signs are always so sad, and then, especially, I get very emotional if it's like this animal needs medication, so they have a certain amount time, or if it's the kids', and the kids really want it. There was a sign recently, it was super-upsetting. I was Snapchatting it and putting it on my socials. Then somebody - it was actually a friend of mine - contacted me, and they found the animal!

Nick: Wow!

Leah: There was actually a group of people in Astoria that, when they see lost animal signs, they go out and look!

Nick: Oh, that's amazing!

Leah: Yeah. It's just these people who love animals, and they want to return animals to their homes. I just thought it was the sweetest, most wonderful thing, and it was really heartwarming.

[Buzzer Sound]

Nick: Aw, that's nice. For me, as you'll recall, we just launched, where you guys out there can send in a Cordial, and we'll read it. So, people are taking advantage of this. Thank you. Here's a very short one, which is: "I want to say thank you to my sister-in-law who is unfailingly polite, kind, and thoughtful. I want to be like her when I grow up."

Leah: [Gasping] That is so nice! I'm smiling so hard! I love it.

Nick: That's very nice.

Leah: I love!

Nick: Send them in! We'll read them. Make them short, though.

Leah: [laughter] Nick has rules!

Nick: There are still rules here. Thank you.

Leah: Thank you!

[Buzzer Sound]