Etiquette, manners, and beyond! In this episode, Nick and Leah tackle enjoying a fika in Sweden, staying at bed and breakfasts, telling guests what not to bring to your party, and much more.
Etiquette, manners, and beyond! In this episode, Nick and Leah tackle enjoying a fika in Sweden, staying at bed and breakfasts, telling guests what not to bring to your party, and much more. Please follow us! (We'd send you a hand-written thank you note if we could.)
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Hosts: Nick Leighton & Leah Bonnema
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Nick Do you serve the wrong number of cookies in Sweden? Do you criticize the decor at B&Bs? Do you leave people off invitations? Were you raised by wolves? Let's find out!
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Nick Hey, everybody. It's Nick Leighton.
Leah And it's Leah Bonnema.
Nick And let's just get right down to it with our amuse-bouche.
Leah [singing] Let's get in it.
Nick So for today's amuse-bouche, I want to talk about fika. Leah, do you know what this is? Have you ever had one? Are we having one right now?
Leah I wish I was having one right now.
Nick [laughs] So have you heard of this term "Fika?"
Leah I have not, but I feel like it sounds like something that I've watched in a Scandinavian television show.
Nick Okay. Yes, this is true. Yeah. So it comes from Sweden. And forgive my Swedish pronunciation, we have a lot of listeners in Scandinavia. I know it's not great. I'm doing my best. You'll get the idea, though. And so a fika is commonly translated as a coffee break. And this is true, but it's actually way more than that. It's sort of like a way of life.
Nick It is embedded in the fabric of Swedish society, and to understand the fika is to really understand, I think, the Swedish people. And so the word "fika" actually comes from the word for coffee in Swedish, which is "kaffi." And it's a little wordplay, you know, "kaffi" "fika" we're just gonna reverse the syllables. And it's a noun, it's a verb, and you fika at work, you fika with friends. You can fika as a low-pressure date with people. You can fika multiple times a day, morning, noon and night. And the requirement is that you're taking a break from the day. So you're gonna slow down. You have coffee, although I guess you probably can have tea but, like, coffee is really, like, what we're gonna to do.
Nick And you're gonna have a treat of some sort with your coffee. You can do something savory, but more common would be something sweet, like a traditional cinnamon bun or a cardamom bun. And it's most likely gonna be with somebody else. A lot of people feel like the fika has to be social. You do it with somebody. Now some would argue that you can fika alone. You're just taking a break from your day. And I like that interpretation because there is a Swedish bakery near my house that has really beautiful Swedish pastries, and sometimes I'll, like, grab a cinnamon bun and I will grab some coffee and I'll sit in the park and I'll enjoy that. And I say to myself, "I am having a fika." And I enjoy saying that to myself, having a little break from my day. So I like the idea that you are allowed to fika alone.
Nick But it is often with other people. And this is very different than the way we do it in America. You know, in America we so often have coffee alongside something else we're doing. Like we're having coffee while we're driving, we're having coffee while we're checking email. Like, we don't necessarily have this tradition of, oh, this is a set coffee break. And in Swedish companies, there's actually two fikas that often happen in a workday. Like, there's the morning fika where, like, everybody gets together and it's sort of an informal meeting, and then there's like an afternoon fika. And it's really important to actually, like, go into, like, the fika room with everybody and, like, have coffee. The boss is there, and it's sort of important for, like, job advancement. Like, you don't want to skip it. Like, it's good for your job to actually take the coffee break with everybody.
Nick Right? Isn't that kind of wonderful? Like, to have a mandated time in the day to, like, oh, we're gonna have some coffee and a pastry? Yeah. How wonderful.
Nick And so it is no surprise then that Sweden has some of the highest consumption rates of coffee in the world. But it was not always this way. Are you ready for some bonkers history?
Leah I am.
Nick [laughs] Okay. So long story short, coffee made its way to Sweden in, like, the 1600s. And originally it was more of a medicinal thing, like, it was found in pharmacies. But eventually wealthy people got hooked on it and was like, "Oh, this is good, I like this." And so coffee became very popular among the wealthy people in Sweden. They were the only ones who could afford it because it was imported, but they really got into it. And so the government at the time was like, "Oh, this can't be good. Like, this clearly has some effect. This is bad for public health." They didn't know what caffeine was at the time because that was discovered in the 1800s, but they knew something was up. And so there was a royal edict which was like, oh, we're gonna tax coffee up the wazoo. And if you don't pay the taxes, we're gonna take away your cups and your saucers.
Nick And so wealthy people were like, "All right, we're either just gonna pay the tax or we're not gonna pay the tax and what are you gonna do? You're gonna take everybody's cups and saucers?" And so then what happened is the government banned coffee. And as we know, when you ban something it doesn't mean it goes away. It just means that you banned it. And so people were still drinking coffee.
Nick So now we get to King Gustav III. And he was not into coffee. He thought it was really harmful for everybody's health. And he was sort of a very age of enlightenment kind of guy, and so he was like, "Okay, everybody, we're gonna use science and reason here, and I'm going to prove to everybody that coffee is bad for you." And so the king was like, "Okay, find me some twins." And so he found two twins in the kingdom who were condemned to death. They did something. I couldn't actually find out what they did, but they were condemned to death. And the king was like, "Okay, twins. I'm gonna make you a deal. I will give you a life sentence instead, but what you have to do is twin one, you have to drink three pots of tea every day for the rest of your life. Twin two, you have to drink three pots of coffee every day for the rest of your life. And we're gonna see how dangerous coffee is." And so this has been called one of the first medical trials ever.
Nick And so what happened was the twin that drank tea every day, he lived to be 83. And when you think about what the life expectancy was in Sweden at this time, which was probably like 40, 83 is really good. And the king actually never saw that because he was assassinated. And then the doctors who were supervising all of this, they died. And so the guy that was left was the one who drank coffee, and we don't know how much longer he lived because everybody else was dead and nobody was paying attention anymore. So the coffee-drinking twin outlived everybody. And so despite this, subsequent governments tried to ban coffee again and again. Eventually, they gave up in 1823, and so coffee became legal. But isn't that wild?
Nick Totally wild. And so back to the fika. So the fika actually comes from a slightly older tradition in Sweden called the kaffeerep. And so what this was—or is because it still exists, it's just not as common anymore, is a way more formal coffee party. And so this was for ladies, and this is when you got your best china out. This is when you put on your nicest clothing. This is when you went over to somebody's house to socialize or gossip or actually talk about issues or, you know, whatever it is, but it was a very formal coffee event. And there were a lot of rules around it, like seating was done by hierarchy, which actually meant what your husband did for a living, like what his status was.
Nick And there's this interesting—yeah. Yeah, that's how it went.
Nick And so there's this funny story that I don't know if it's true or not, but I'll repeat it, is that a woman who won the Nobel Prize for literature, who was Swedish, went to a kafferep and went up to go serve herself some coffee and was reprimanded because she was single and married women went first. So even though in most places, somebody who won a Nobel Prize would probably be given, like, a place of honor at the party because, like, I have not won a Nobel Prize.
Nick Yet. And so I like that. It was like, oh, even though you have won the Nobel Prize for literature, you will still need to wait until the married women get their coffee first. And so a lot of rules around this event. And so it would always typically start with some sort of like bun or sponge cake thing, and then you would have cookies. And you would specifically have seven cookies.
Nick You would not have six cookies because, like, what are you poor? And you would not have eight because, like, are you better than us? No, you would have seven cookies. Exactly seven. And those seven can be whatever cookies you want, but there needs to be seven. And if there are not seven cookies, we will be talking about your party for months. And so that's just what it needed to be. It just needed to be seven cookies. And why I think this is interesting is that there is this Swedish concept called "lagom," which translates roughly as, like, just the right amount. Just the right amount of something, just like the perfect balance of something. Like, why do you need a big car when, like, a smaller car will do? Or, like, oh, that pattern on your dress, the blue flowers, it's just the right amount of pattern. Not too much, not too little.
Nick And so there's this idea of, I guess moderation is one word, but it's just like the idea of, like, oh, we are thoughtfully thinking about something and whether or not it's, like, the right amount of whatever it is. And I think when you understand this concept, you really actually understand the Swedish psyche and, like, the way the Swedes approach everything from politics to culture to food. Like, it's really interesting, like, how everything kind of goes through that lens. So seven cookies is the right amount of cookies apparently at a coffee party like this.
Leah Are you saying is it seven choices of cookies, or people have to put seven cookies on their plate?
Nick Great question. So you need to serve seven different types of cookies.
Leah Got you.
Nick And as a guest, you have to take each one of the cookies. You don't necessarily have to finish all of them. I have read that Swedish etiquette does allow you to take a nibble politely and not necessarily finish the entire cookie. But you must have seven cookies on offer, and you must accept seven cookies on your plate at some point. You must enjoy all seven varieties. And one of the best-selling cookbooks in Sweden even today is called Seven Cookies, Seven Types of Cookies.
Nick And so unfortunately, the kafferep actually fell out of favor in the 20th century as things got more informal. So the fika actually has a lot of these same elements: it's social, there's gonna be a little treat involved with your coffee. There may not be seven cookies, but there could be some cookies. And another explanation which I like a lot for, like, why the fika is part of, like, Swedish society comes down to farming, which is long winters, long summer nights, but a very short season, and you might only have 16 to 18 hours to, like, harvest everything, you know, with daylight.
Nick And so you needed something between breakfast, lunch and dinner to keep you going in the fields. Like, you needed a meal in between all that. And so that meal, that snack, that break, that also can be thought of as a fika.
Nick And so one final thought just etiquette-wise about the fika is that let's talk about refills. So if you're in Stockholm, there is an unwritten rule that you can have one free refill with your coffee. Like, most cafes, the unspoken rule is you get one refill.
Leah I feel like I've learned so much.
Nick I mean, great. [laughs]
Leah I want a fika. I want a fika right now. Can I make it a verb?
Nick Yeah. Oh, it's a noun and a verb. Yes, absolutely.
Nick And on some level, like, this show, our relationship, we have a fika-based relationship because, like, this show is we're both drinking coffee right now.
Leah We are.
Nick We're both, like, getting together and taking a break from our day. We're catching up. We're having fun. I would definitely be having a pastry right now if I did not have to record myself talking. Like, I would absolutely have a cinnamon bun while we do this if I had the option. So I think this show is basically a fika.
Leah I love that.
Leah We're fika-ing.
Nick We can gerund it. Absolutely. So that's a little introduction to the fika. What's nice is that anybody can do it, and you can be anywhere in the world to do it.
Leah So interesting!
Nick And we're back. And now it's time to go deep.
Leah Deep in for the night. Maybe two.
Nick [laughs] So for today's question of etiquette, I want to talk about bed and breakfasts.
Leah Which I have such a deep history with bed and breakfasts.
Nick So did you used to work in one? What's your history?
Leah I worked in one in college.
Leah And I actually remembered when I was thinking about this, as a young child I pretended I owned a bed and breakfast, and I used to make my parents come—or I remember doing it to my dad. I don't know if I did this to my mom—be at the bed and breakfast in the house.
Nick Oh, okay.
Leah Like, I wanted to be—as a young lass, I wanted to be a bed and breakfast owner.
Nick Okay. So you would sort of make scones for them and then lock up the house at 7:00 at night and complain about their parking? Okay.
Nick [laughs] So do you like bed and breakfasts as a guest?
Leah I think I feel a little—I stayed in a really nice one for this comedy show they put me up in.
Leah But it was like—it was almost too an inn, you know what I mean? It was, like, big enough where you didn't feel like you were right inside this person's business.
Nick Okay. All right. So it felt like you had a little bit of more anonymity.
Leah I felt a little more anonymous.
Nick I think for me, I don't love it because I've never stayed in a bed and breakfast that had the decor that worked for me. Like, I have never stayed in the mid-century Florence Knoll bed and breakfast. It is always heavy walnut furniture and chintz fabric and Laura Ashley everything, which is just not my vibe. And so if I could stay in, like, the Eames house, that's a bed and breakfast that's like, oh, that works for me. But the decor is just—maybe I'm just in the northeast too much and it's just all, like, Victorians and Queen Anne's, I guess. I don't know. But architecturally and esthetically, it's just like, not my vibe. But I've stayed in many. I have definitely stayed in many. So let's talk about some of the etiquette, because it is definitely different than it being in a hotel. It is definitely different than being in an Airbnb. So the bed and breakfast, it's a unique beast.
Leah Yes, it's a very unique experience.
Nick And let's just define what it is for anybody who may not know. Basically, it is often a big house, and it is often run by the person that owns the house.
Leah And they live there and are there while you're there.
Nick And depending on how big it is, they may have family members or other people, like, helping out. But yes, the proprietor is on premises, for sure.
Leah And often there will be, like, maybe one other guest.
Nick Well, I guess it depends on how many bedrooms there are, but there will definitely be a few other guests, but it's not gonna be a lot.
Leah It's not like—oh, I just remembered as we said this, I just had this flashback to this one bed and breakfast that I stayed in in actually Scotland.
Leah And the lady was—you run the risk of somebody being really up in your business.
Nick Well, I think some people find that charming.
Leah And some other people find it aggressive.
Nick [laughs] Right. Yeah. I mean, I think as a New Yorker who really loves anonymity among the people I live with, the idea of, like, somebody asking me, like, oh, what are my plans for the day? I actually am bothered by that. Like, I don't—I don't want to share.
Leah Oh, I didn't mind that. But she just—she kept asking me why I wanted to be a clown for a living.
Nick Oh, okay.
Leah [laughs] And how come I wasn't married yet? This was like the reoccurring ...
Nick I see.
Leah I would come back, and I was like, "Okay, I don't think this really goes along with the bed and breakfast relaxation."
Nick I mean, I guess we probably should have a different deep dive where we talk about the rules for people who run bed and breakfasts. I was just talking about guests.
Leah I mean, I would think it would be both ways. Well, the one I worked with in college was for women traveling alone or women traveling with women. So it was like, you know, a place where people could stay and feel safe. And I cooked breakfast.
Nick Yeah. So breakfast? Often a part of the bed and breakfast part.
Leah In the title.
Nick And it's true. And so I think—when it comes to etiquette, I think the rules there are there are probably gonna be rules. I mean, in general, there are gonna be definitely a lot of signs. There's definitely gonna be some rules, some guidelines, a lot of things to know when you check in. And so one of the things you're gonna need to know is like, oh, when is breakfast served? And what type is it? And you probably can't skip it unless you let them know in advance, because they're actually probably making breakfast for you. So if you don't want breakfast for some reason, then it's nice to let them know in advance. Like, "Oh, I'm not gonna be there for breakfast."
Leah There's a—there's a timeline for that breakfast.
Nick Oh, sure. Right. Yeah, this isn't like a 6:00 to 11:00 kind of situation.
Leah No. This is a one, two hour timeline.
Nick Right. Yeah, so be there or be square.
Leah Be there or be square. Unless you want to, like, grab an apple. If you want to have those fantastic eggs, you gotta get there in that timeline.
Nick And very often you're gonna be socializing with your fellow travelers. And so it is polite to be like, "Oh, how are you? What are you doing here? Like, what wedding are you here for?" Because that's usually why most people end up in bed and breakfasts.
Leah "Do you also want to be a clown?"
Nick [laughs] "Why aren't you married?"
Nick So it's nice to socialize. Now sometimes there might be tables for one, in which case if you want to be left alone, which I understand before I've had my coffee, that that's my vibe. But yeah, it is polite just to, you know, participate. You know, this is the deal.
Leah And it is like we are in somebody's home, because we are.
Nick Yeah. Yeah. I mean, the rules are a little different, but it is definitely more homey than hotel-y.
Leah I always feel very aware of everybody being able to hear me at a bed and breakfast. It's like a whole house of sleeping people.
Nick Yeah. Well, because it is. Right. Yeah. Yeah, and often there's no TVs in the room, you know, often there's like, no noise-making opportunities. It's about quiet contemplation.
Leah Yeah, bring a book.
Nick And then one thing on my list is just shared bathrooms. Sometimes this happens in the bed and breakfasts.
Nick So if you got that kind of room and you're sharing a bathroom, I think we just want to be mindful of just like, are we taking up too much time, and what condition are we leaving that bathroom when we're done with it?
Leah And I wouldn't leave my stuff in there. I would take it back to my room with me.
Nick Yeah. And also, yeah, take all your stuff out of there. You know, make it nice for the next person. So standard courtesy.
Leah And I do feel like we've seen some beautiful bed and breakfasts in Christmas movies where they're all done up.
Leah It's the perfect place for a meet cute, let's just say that.
Nick Okay. Yeah. I mean, there is definitely a place for bed and breakfasts. I think I just haven't found the one that works for me. But audience, if you have suggestions for the mid-century modern case study house bed and breakfast I can stay at, that would work for me. I would be delighted to know about it because I think that would definitely be more of my vibe.
Leah I stayed in a great bed and breakfast in the Berkshires, and it replanted that seed in my childhood dream brain of being, oh, maybe one day I'll have a bed and breakfast.
Nick Well, perhaps in your retirement you will achieve your dream of being a bed and breakfast runner.
Leah I think I'd be pretty good.
Nick You would be excellent. Oh, absolutely. Yeah. No, I think you'd be great. I don't think you would ask anybody about their marital status or why they're clowns. So ...
Leah [laughs] Why they want to be a clown.
Nick [laughs] You would nail that part of it.
Leah I would. I also made great eggs.
Nick When's check in?
Leah Probably in about 20 years.
Nick Okay, sign me up.
Nick And we're back. And now it's time to take some questions from you all in the wilderness.
Nick So our first question is quote, "My cousin is getting married and is having a destination wedding. I received an invitation, but the envelope was addressed only to me and the invitation does not include any mention of a plus one. My partner and I have been together for several years and we've attended several family weddings together. We live abroad, so we don't see my cousin very often, but my partner has met him several times and we've met his fiancé once. I have to believe my partner wasn't included in the invitation as an oversight rather than an intentional slight. But I'm still offended. I cannot attend the wedding mostly for other reasons, but I would like to send a card to wish them well. Would it be appropriate for my partner and I to both sign the card, or would only I sign the card since I was the only one invited?"
Leah My shortest, most concise answer except for that one time we got the question about can I ask somebody to wear a bra ...
Nick [laughs] Right. Okay.
Leah ... and we both said no at the same time?
Nick Uh-huh. So you feel very definitive and succinct here.
Leah Yes. Both sign the card.
Nick Okay. My first question was: do we wish them well?
Nick That was my thought. Do we? Do we? Because our letter-writer was like, "Oh, I'm sure it's an oversight, but I'm still offended." And it's kind of like, uh, was this an oversight? I don't know.
Leah But I think either way we would both sign the card, because you, our letter writer, wants to let them know, hey, we're both here.
Nick Yeah. Yeah. Before we get there, though, just as a reminder, the rule is that the names on the invitation are the names of the people that are invited to the thing. So if your name is not on the invitation, then you are not invited. That goes for partners or spouses or children. Like, if your name's not listed or it doesn't say, like, "And guest" then, like, you're not going. Like, that is the technical rule. So because this person's partner was not on the envelope, therefore they're not invited. And so it's a little problematic since it's like, you know I have a long term partner. You've met them and you left them off? Okay. You know, noted. You would like me to come to your destination wedding and use vacation time without my partner? Okay, noted. That's my takeaway.
Leah Then I would even more so have my partner sign the card.
Nick Yeah, for sure. So I think one way you could do would be like, "Oh, Jasper and I were so thrilled to hear your happy news. I am so sorry that I won't be able to attend your event. We wish you all the best."
Leah I feel like the RSVP is separate than the card that they're sending.
Nick Yes. Oh, this is a separate thing. On the "Can you come, yes or no?" That's I think just like that's where a checked box and we're just mailing it back. Right. No explanation. We're not gonna say, like, "Oh, I'm not coming because you didn't invite my other half," even though that's very tempting.
Leah And then I think in the card we can just say, "Jasper and I are wishing you well."
Nick Oh, yeah. Because yeah, Jasper exists and he wishes you well.
Leah And then you both sign it. And then either way you're covered.
Leah Whether you just want to let it go or you want to make the point.
Nick Well, obviously you're gonna tell everybody else in the family about this, so ... [laughs]
Leah Well, I hope so.
Nick But I think it was problematic to not invite the partner here. And I can't imagine it was unintentional. I just—I want to believe the best in people, but given the amount of time and effort that people put into wedding invitations and guest lists, especially destination weddings, it's kind of like, I don't know. I don't know how we had this oversight.
Leah The question to us, though, is do they both sign the card?
Nick That's true, Yes. Oh, so that's—just we'll leave it there. So yes.
Leah And I say yes, sign the card regardless of whether or not you're going to forgive them and pretend it was an oversight or hold a grudge. Either way, they sign the card. Both of you sign the card.
Nick Yes. And the card you send should just be very neutral and polite and as sincere as possible. And without any commentary.
Leah Or you could just write the card to one of them, and then you both sign the card. Just be like, "Oops! Sorry, oversight."
Nick Oh, that's kind of poetic. Oh, I do like that. Yeah.
Leah As an option on the whiteboard.
Nick Yeah. Oh, that's not a hard no for me. Yeah. [laughs]
Leah You could write it to your cousin.
Nick Yes. "Oh, thank you so much for inviting us to yourevent. We hope you have a great day."
Nick [laughs] I think sign the card and then wish them well in that kind of wishing well where you're not really wishing them well but you say it publicly. You know what I mean?
Nick Yeah. And I don't think we have to send a gift, so that's good.
Leah Silver lining.
Nick Absolutely. So our next question is quote, "We belong to several wine clubs, and currently have way more wine than we can drink ourselves. So I'd like to host a series of wine-tasting parties—red this month, white the next, rosé the following, for the purpose of helping us drink down our wine cellar. However, when people come to parties, they often bring wine as a hostess gift. Is there some way to politely express on the invitation for people to not bring any wine to the party?"
Leah I know that you're gonna knock this one out of the park.
Nick [laughs] Okay.
Leah Because I think that you can definitely say, "This is for me to get rid of my wine."
Nick Yeah. I mean, I think it depends on, like, who's on this guest list. But what we don't want to have happen is, like, "Hey, we've got leftovers, and we need you just to drink the stuff we don't want." So it needs to just not have that tone. But I think it could be casual, especially if it's, like, friends. Like, "Hey, we just have way more wine than we have room for. Like, help us drink it." Like, that kind of sounds fun if it's sort of in that spirit.
Leah And then you—do you or would you put a tag on the end saying, "Please don't bring any more wine. We have enough wine. We're set with wine. Just please bring your beautiful selves."
Nick Yeah. I mean, I think you could probably emphasize that, or you could steer people into some other direction. Like, you know, "We supply the wine, you bring the cheese." Like, make it more of that kind of, like, party where it's more, like, potluck-y, maybe?
Leah You say, "If you come through the door with wine, I will be sending you home."
Nick [laughs] Okay.
Leah No? Too far. I feel like our letter-writer wants a line on the invitation that says, "Do not bring wine."
Nick Yes. I mean, I guess if it's just friends that you're close with, I guess you could just say that. Maybe in a slightly more polite way, but it's just like, "Wwe got the wine covered."
Leah "We have the wine covered."
Nick And if somebody brings wine, I mean, then I guess just toss it in the pile for the next party. You're not gonna get to a point of no wine. It's an asymptote. We will never reach infinity or zero, you know? That's the nature of the beast.
Leah Yeah, I think we say, "We're supplying the wine." You know, make it without being like, "DO NOT BRING WINE!" in capital letters at the bottom.
Nick Yeah, I think something like that. Although I do feel like the point of the party is to, like, thin out the cellar.
Nick So maybe we're just not trying to hide that and really just, like, say that explicitly as like, "The point of the party is we're trying to make room. And so this is like an overstock party."
Leah I think we could say, "Our wine cellar is overflowing, and we thought what better way than to have a party with our friends? Come help us drink our wine!"
Nick Okay. And then it's like, "We got the wine covered. Just bring yourselves."
Nick And then that's very nice. And then inevitably somebody is gonna be like, "What can I bring?" And then you can say "Cheese."
Leah Or olives.
Leah Seven cookies.
Nick [laughs] Cold, hard cash.
Leah Cold, hard cash.
Nick Non-sequential, unmarked bills.
Leah I would really love it if I asked people what they wanted me to bring and they were like ...
Nick "Please bring a couple thousand dollars in non-sequential, unmarked bills." [laughs] Or my favorite, the TOTO NX1 toilet.
Leah Someday we're gonna get this for you. It's gonna happen.
Nick I would love it if I had a cocktail party and asked people to bring toilets and then I got seven toilets. [laughs] If everybody brought one toilet for me.
Leah What a dream!
Nick That is the dream. So do you have questions for us? Let us know! You can let us know through our website, WereYouRaisedByWolves.com. Or you could leave us a voicemail or send us a text message: (267) CALL-RBW.
Nick And we're back. And now it's time to play a game we like to call, Vent or Repent.
Leah [whispers] Vent or repent!
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 So sometimes I feel like I take a little—a little step into a different direction.
Leah And so this week, I would like to share something that was something I did in a response to a vent and then a follow up to it.
Nick Okay. Take us through this journey.
Leah So I think our listeners know how I feel about how mean the online world is, and how I feel like people just leave comments when they're complaining about things.
Leah And when they want to leave negative reviews. So once a month I go online and I say nice things about everything I've enjoyed that month.
Leah I think we've discussed this.
Nick Yes. Yeah, you're going on Amazon, you'll be like, "This cheese grater, A+."
Leah Yes, that's exactly what I do.
Nick [laughs] Yeah. Pay it forward.
Leah Last month, one of the people that I emailed was—this place is called Cookie Dough Dreams, and they sell cookie dough like ice cream.
Nick Oh, yes. You've mentioned this. You, like ...
Leah I've mentioned it.
Nick You happened to, like, stumble upon it one day, and then ...
Leah Stumbled upon it many times.
Nick Okay. And now you're like Norm from Cheers. They're like, "Leah!" Okay.
Leah [laughs] Yes.
Leah I bring people there. It's a whole thing. Okay. And every time I've been it's always been late at night, and they have the most wonderful people working there. So this month, I emailed I don't know who, but headquarters, not the store that I was at because I couldn't find their email. I just—Cookie Dough Dreams's headquarters. And I said, "Hey, I just want to let you know how delightful the night staff is on your Hollywood Boulevard location. I love the cookie dough. I love that you have gluten free, and I particularly love how friendly everybody always is.
Nick Very nice.
Leah So then two nights ago, I swung by Cookie Dough Dreams. I give the guy my card, and he goes, "I know your name." And then he looks at me and he goes, "Did you write an email?"
Leah "Headquarters forwarded it to the general manager of this store who read it aloud ..."
Leah "... to the night staff."
Leah And then they emailed me to say how much they appreciated it!
Nick Nice. Very nice.
Leah One thank you email got shared to all these people.
Leah And I thought, wow, saying nice things to people really does make a difference.
Nick It does. So where is my vent or repent here?
Leah There is no vent or repent. This was a response to something that I did as a vent.
Nick [laughs] Okay.
Leah I was so—I'm so tired of venting about people online that I was like, "I'm gonna be the change I want to see in the world." I was the change, maybe minute, but I did something nice.
Nick And then I couldn't even believe that somebody remembered my name because somebody read them the letter that I wrote.
Nick That is very nice, but I see that I am now gonna have to take up the slack here and vent about something.
Nick Because someone I think did not understand the assignment.
Leah I understood the assignment. I thought this was terrific!
Nick And no, it's very nice. But for me, I would like to vent. And this is a real vent. So long story short, I switched up my gym routine, so actually I'm, like, showering at the gym at, like, a different hour now, and I needed a new hairbrush because we need to get the hair looking good.
Leah Nick has fabulous hair if you haven't seen it. Nick has terrific hair.
Nick Oh, thank you so much. And so I got a brush, and I ordered it on Amazon. And it arrived, and I take it out of the package because I'm about to use it. And I see that this brush has been used.
Nick There is someone else's hair on this brush!
Nick And the terror, the chills, the goosebumps, the things that go through your mind about holding this object in your hand. And it's like radioactive and it's toxic, and you're just like, "How do I get this out of my house immediately?" Like, that's the feeling you have.
Nick And then it turns to rage, because this wasn't on Prime. And so, like, it took a little while to get here. And so, like, I was waiting for this thing. And so it was like, there was the anticipation and then it was like, oh, it's finally arrived, that's great. And then it was just like this gross thing that showed up in my house.
Leah Used brush.
Nick The rage is like, who am I mad at? Because an etiquette crime has been committed, I am a victim. But who do I blame? Who is responsible? It's like, do I blame the person that used the brush and put it back in the packaging to make it look like it was new and send it back to Amazon for a return? Like, is it that person? Or is it somebody at Amazon that, like, didn't bother looking, because you would notice this black hair. It's so long. So who is this person?
Leah Maybe it was Cher.
Nick Maybe Cher returned her brush to Amazon. I guess it's possible. Yeah, and it's like what—it almost actually looked like a human hair wig. It was, like, that long. It was like, wow, that's—that is 36 inches. Those are—that's an expensive piece. So I just—I didn't know who I was supposed to be mad at. And so I actually did email the company. I was like, "Hey, just want to know, like, if I order it from you directly, like, is it gonna be fulfilled by Amazon or do you have, like, a different warehouse of not used brushes?" And so I returned it to Amazon and it was just like, oh, this is really disgusting.
Nick So I'm just very mad at the world right now about this happening, because I don't think we want to live in a world in which we use brushes and return them and pretend they're new, and then they get resold to other people. Because, like, also, I don't want you to have taken the hair out of the brush after you used it and maybe I wouldn't have noticed, but I don't like that idea either. So it's just like, I feel like we don't necessarily return certain items in the world. And I think brushes ...
Leah Yeah, it does feel like certain items should not be returned.
Nick Mascara wands, brushes, underwear. I just feel like there's a category of items that we just don't use and return. And so I think this is part of it, and I don't like that this happened to me. I don't like that this was in my house. It was like, felt like getting something with glitter on it. It's like I don't even want this in my house.
Leah I was about to say this feels a little bit like the glitter only if the glitter had lice in it.
Nick Eew. Eew.
Leah Eew! Oh, I'm so sorry I said that. I'm so sorry.
Nick Triggering! Triggering!
Leah I'm so sorry.
Nick Yeah. So I don't like that this happened. And I think just as a PSA, I think if we want to return something to Amazon, know that they might just resell it without checking it. And so as a consumer, I think it would benefit all of us if we are mindful about our returns and what might happen to it if we do it. And so don't just do it because it might just end up in somebody else's house.
Leah I got a sports bra with deodorant on it.
Nick Yeah. This is not what you want.
Leah No, I called. I made a phone call.
Nick Yeah. And they're like, "Okay, sorry." But it's like, does it have to be this way?
Nick Right? Because that's really what it is. Does it have to be this way? Does it just require constant vigilance? Is that what it's come to? I guess so. So that's my vent.
Leah I wonder if we could find the person with long black hair who returned the brush.
Nick I mean, I'm up for the challenge. Sure.
Leah It's very specific. It's somebody who's bought a brush within the last, I would guess, six months. And they have long black hair.
Nick That's true, yeah. I mean, how many people could that be off of Amazon, really? I should have saved the hair and done a DNA test.
Leah [laughs] That's—that's what should have happened.
Nick That's what I should have done. Or I should have cloned them and then see what they turn into and be like, "Oh, I can see what you look like now as an adult. Okay, now I can find you." So missed opportunity. If only we had talked about this last week.
Leah We would be cloning right now. Petri dish in the refrigerator.
Nick Yeah, I could have had the whole cylinder in my apartment with bubbles and, like, this naked body floating in it. Yeah. Oh, what could have been. Who's got room for that in their apartment, though?
Leah Very Empire Strikes Back.
Nick So that's my vent.
Nick So Leah, what have we learned?
Nick That's right.
Leah I mean, I learned so much about fika. Also, this study with the twins is ...
Nick Isn't that wild?
Leah It's very wild.
Nick And I learned that your dream is to open a bed and breakfast.
Leah One of the dreams.
Nick One of the dreams. That's true. One of many. But I think this is achievable.
Leah It is achievable. I think we could actually open a Were You Raised By Wolves? bed and breakfast.
Nick Oh! Well, you know the one thing our bed breakfast is gonna have?
Leah Not floral wallpaper since that upsets you?
Nick True. But also every bathroom is gonna have a TOTO NX1 toilet in it.
Leah [laughs] Oh, this is where you're gonna put the seven toilets from the party.
Nick Finally! Finally a place to put them. Well, thank you, Leah.
Leah Thank you, Nick.
Nick And thanks to you out there for listening. I'd send you a handwritten note to my custom stationery if I could.
Leah He would!
Nick So for your homework this week, did you know that you can support our show every month on Patreon?
Leah Yeah, we have so much fun over there.
Nick Because this show, we do it all ourselves. Like, have you noticed there's no end credits? Because there is no end credits. It's just Leah and myself doing this whole thing. So if you want to help us make this show, then please go to our website, click on "Monthly Membership", and see if there's a level that works for you.
Leah We would so appreciate it.
Nick We really would. So please do that, and we'll see you next time.
Nick All right, Leah. It's time for Cordials of Kindness, the part of the show that you make us do, but I only give you 30 seconds to do it. Ready, set, go!
Leah I know our long-time listeners know how deeply I am moved by people who wave out the window when I let them into traffic.
Nick [laughs] This is true.
Leah And this week I had two people back to back roll their windows down and stick their arm out. And one lady gave me like a double flappy hand, which I love. And then this guy who I let go across the lane, waved and then gave me a thumbs up out the window. And I mean, it carried me through the whole week. I was like, these people are wonderful.
Nick You're changing the world, Leah.
Leah I love it!
Nick And for me, I want to read a nice review we just got, which is quote, "To say this show brings me joy would be like saying Taylor Swift has a few fans. It's not only incredibly well researched and informative, but also hilarious. Thank you, Nick and Leah."
Leah That is so fun and lovely.
Nick Isn't that nice? So that really makes our day. So thank you.
Leah Thank you.
You can start with our first episode, our most recent episode, or jump in with one of these favorites in the middle:
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