Etiquette, manners, and beyond! In this bonus episode, Nick and Leah answer listener questions about sending thank you notes for peacocks, asking to be seated away from other diners in restaurants, ignoring people's DMs on social media, paying with $100 bills, and much more. Please subscribe! (We'd send you a hand-written thank you note if we had your address.)
QUESTIONS FROM THE WILDERNESS:
THINGS MENTIONED DURING THE SHOW
YOU ARE CORDIALLY INVITED TO...
Producer & Editor: Nick Leighton
Theme Music: Rob Paravonian
Nick: Hey, everybody, it's Nick Leighton.
Leah: And I am Leah Bonnema.
Nick: We had so many great questions from you guys in the wilderness-
Leah: [Hefty Halloween Howling]
Nick: Oh ... That was ...
Leah: I went a little longer for Halloween.
Nick: That had heft!
Leah: Yeah [laughter]
Nick: Wow! Okay ... We had so many great questions from you guys in the wilderness that we have a bonus episode. So, here we go. Our first question-
Leah: [laughter] I mean, this first one's ...
Nick: I mean ... "I had a peacock appear at my house after a two-week vacation. I don't know how it got there, or who sent it. How would I, in theory, thank the person who gave it to me?"
Leah: Also, Nick sent me a picture of the peacock.
Nick: [Giggling] Yes. This person also sent a photo of peacock, whose name is Freddie, I believe. I'll post a link to it on our show notes, if you want to see Freddie, the peacock.
Leah: Very handsome peacock!
Nick: I mean, very attractive. Yes, yes. I would be delighted to receive this as a gift, I guess.
Nick: My first thought is: is this a real question?
Nick: Are we really ... Are we getting questions from people who had a mysterious peacock gift show up, and they don't know how to write a thank you note? Is that what's happening here?
Leah: I don't know. I really ... This one is- how do we know it's a gift?
Nick: I feel like we are being pranked.
Leah: I think we're being pranked.
Nick: Yeah, I think so. However, we will approach this sincerely, as if we're not, and we'll give them the benefit of the doubt. How do we know it's a gift? Well-
Leah: How would one know? What if the peacock just decided it liked this person's house and made its home there?
Nick: Well, our letter-writer is asking how would they thank the person who gave it to me? There's an implication that there was some gifting happening for which thanks is required.
Leah: But they don't know how it got there, or who sent it.
Nick: True. Well, I guess we're just presuming that peacocks don't just show up. They have to be delivered.
Nick: [Giggling] Okay.
Leah: So, then, I guess you would have to do some pretty heavy research into peacock delivery services and find out-
Leah: Could you find out who dropped it off? Was there an Uber drop off with a peacock? Then, go backwards.
Nick: I see. I think that this is, I guess, like the wedding gift that you receive, and the card fell off, and you don't know who it's from. I think we use that approach. I mean, I think that's how we approach this.
Nick: First, I think we would try and sleuth it out, but I would think we have no idea who gave you a peacock. So, then, I think you just have to wait for the gift-giver to approach you and be like, "Hey, did you receive any ... birds?" [Giggling]
Leah: Then, you're like, "Which one?"
Nick: "Did you maybe, like, get any birds delivered? Just wanted to make sure it arrived." That person would want to see, like, "Oh, did you get this thing I sent?" Because they would presume that you didn't know who it was from, which is why you didn't write them a thank you note. That's what that person is thinking; like, "Surely they're not rude and forgot to send me a thank you note. They didn't know I sent it."
Leah: Maybe. Could this person post it on Facebook? "Hey, did anybody out there send me a peacock?"
Nick: I think that would be fine. Yeah, I think you would get the word out, at a certain point, and be like, "Hey, I got a peacock gift from somebody. Who gave me a peacock? Wanna thank you. So, let me know ..."
Leah: [Giggling] The more we repeat it, the more I really think that we're getting ...
Nick: Then I went into this whole YouTube video rabbit hole, where I was like, "Do peacocks fly?" I mean, how far did they fly? They kinda flutter. They definitely can move, though, but it's not like they're flying long distances, so I feel like whoever gave you this peacock is nearby. I think this is a relatively adjacent gift-giver.
Leah: Well, they could have driven it over.
Nick: [Giggling] Oh, they just drove over, dropped a peacock in your yard, and then drove off.
Leah: That's what I think happened.
Nick: I see.
Leah: It could also be an escaped peacock that was maybe being held in a house nearby against its will.
Nick: Uh, yes. Given the choice, I believe that this is not a gift. This is just a random peacock in your yard. Yeah.
Leah: But I do think, if it's not, you can throw it out on social media.
Nick: Yeah, yeah. I think that's it.
Leah: Maybe ask the neighbors, "Did you guys see anybody dropping off a peacock?"
Nick: [Giggling] Yeah. I mean, what're you gonna do?
Leah: Did you send them a follow-up question?
Nick: To the letter-writer?
Nick: No, what am I supposed to follow up? Be like, "Are you lying?" [Giggling]
Leah: No, be like, "I don't fully understand the scope of this question."
Nick: I mean, what's to not understand? "Somebody gave me a peacock. There was no card attached. I want to know how to thank the person." That's it.
Leah: I don't even know if you can gift a peacock.
Nick: Oh, you can gift anything. Anything can be a gift if you put your mind to it.
Leah: What if this person doesn't know how to take care of a peacock?
Nick: Well, not all gifts are good. [laughter]
Leah: I almost feel like this is like a- are we sure this is a gift, or is somebody trying to punish our letter-writer?
Nick: Oh, is this equivalent to a horse's head in the bed, do you think?
Leah: This is like letting this person know that they think they are peacocking too much.
Nick: Oh, metaphor.
Leah: Because what they're doing is they're giving our letter-writer so much responsibility. You have to- obviously, you're gonna have to do some heavy research on a peacock. Nobody just knows what they eat, when to feed them, how to make sure they're happy.
Nick: Oh, so you think that this is an enemy that has given you a peacock because your enemy knows that this will be incredibly inconvenient; that you'll be forced to Google instructions. [Giggling]
Leah: Yes, and I think it's a statement that they think that you are peacocking.
Nick: Okay. I think that's totally plausible. I think that's on the table. I think this is just a listener who happens to have a peacock and just wanted to send us a photo of their peacock, and I think that might be it.
Leah: It was also a very good-looking peacock. I don't know if you've seen a lot of peacocks.
Nick: I think they all look pretty good.
Leah: No, some of them look very weathered-
Nick: Okay ... [Giggling]
Leah: -like it's been a rough go, and I think we can all appreciate that-
Nick: I see. Casino 4:00 a.m. peacock.
Leah: [laughter] Yes.
Leah: Just too many slot machines, you know?
Nick: All right. Chain smokin' all night. Virginia Slims.
Leah: ALL night. No moisturizer.
Nick: [Giggling] All right.
Leah: This peacock - top of the line.
Nick: It was a great peacock, yes, but look at the show notes. We'll post a photo. Judge for yourself.
Leah: So, wonderful gift.
Nick: Our next question is: "On several occasions at restaurants, we have been seated right next to another group when the room was rather empty. It's very uncomfortable to be so close to strangers when there are plenty of empty tables at a more palatable distance. But now we have to pretend like we can't hear their conversations and chewing and have to be extremely self-conscious about our own. How would you address something like this? Why do some restaurants choose to pack us in like sardines? It makes me want to light the bread basket on fire in protest!" Wow. Well, don't do that!
Leah: [Giggling] Yeah, don't do that.
Nick: Don't do that-
Leah: Especially if it's a nice warm bread.
Nick: Mmm! Okay, so ...
Leah: Well, the reason they do that- the reason they'll seat people next to each other - as a person who has done their time working in restaurants-
Leah: -is they're seating by section.
Leah: They're seating because that waiter or waitress, at that moment, is getting the tables, and they're seating in an order.
Leah: That's why it happens.
Nick: And as a waitperson, it's a lot easier to deal with two tables that are nearby, so that you can, like, drop the check, fill the water, check in on ketchup levels - in one swoop - without having to run around the restaurant to multiple areas. That's what's happening.
Leah: I think that you can say, "Oh, may we sit over there?"
Nick: Yeah, I think you just ask. I mean, I think that's fine. If you know this is a problem for you, when you're making the reservation, ask in advance, or, if you didn't make a reservation, when you're checking in, request a table that's sort of isolated. I think that's fine to ask, and if they can accommodate you, a restaurant will be happy to. Yeah, I think ask.
Leah: Sounds good.
Nick: All right. This was an easy one.
Nick: It's fine.
Leah: So much more straightforward than-
Nick: [Giggling] -than peacock gifts. Yeah. Our next question is: "Is it rude to post on the same social media platform that you did not respond to somebody on? For example, is it rude to share something on your Instagram story, if you have unopened DMs?" Oh ... So, just some explanations for people who may not be that familiar with Instagram - Instagram, social media platform owned by Facebook. There are DMs, which are direct messages, where I could send you a private message just to you. That's a DM. Then, an Instagram story is like a post, but they usually expire after 24 hours and usually are something animated, or a video, most often. Those are some terms. Now, what do we think?
Leah: I think no, it's not rude.
Nick: [Giggling] I think my first question was- is the person writing us the one waiting on an answer to their DMs?
Leah: Oh, I immediately assumed the other-
Leah: That they were the person posting, and they felt guilty.
Nick: Oh. I felt like they might be the aggrieved party.
Leah: No, you're totally right. They could be. The thing is that I have the same answer either way [laughter]
Nick: Okay, that it's not.
Leah: Because sometimes, you're just going in there to post something really quick.
Leah: I'll go in to post for a show, but I don't have the emotional bandwidth at that moment to respond to everything in the DMs.
Nick: Yeah, I think that's fair.
Leah: I'm just jumping in. I'm jumping out.
Nick: Yeah. In general, I think the principle is we don't want to ignore people. We don't want to go so far as like, you're actually actively ignoring someone, or making someone feel ignored. Where that line is, I think, depends on what the DM was, and the amount of time that's passed, and what your relationship is with this person, and how likely they are to feel aggrieved by this. If you know that your friend always gets bent out of shape because it's 20 minutes, and you haven't responded, then I guess know that about that relationship, and maybe you have to respond.
Leah: It's a very interesting thing. I'm a responder, but I have noticed that I can't anymore, all the time, because then, you could ... With social media, you could spend your whole day responding.
Nick: Oh, gosh, yes.
Leah: Because you write something, and somebody writes something back, and then you write something, and somebody writes something back. I love communicating with people, and I want people to feel heard, but you then get nothing else done.
Nick: Right. Yeah, no, that's true. I mean, for me, at least, I don't have conversations over DM. DM is just me sending you something I thought was funny, and then you just double-tapping it to give it a heart like, and then that's the end of our exchange. I don't think ... We're not making brunch plans over Instagram DMs.
Leah: Oh, a lot of people are.
Nick: But I guess a lot of people do have more longer conversations over DMs, I guess. I am in the, I guess, minority, maybe, on that - that I don't communicate over DM. I'm an email/text person.
Nick: I'm not a DM person. Although, the other day, I was thinking, like, can we just have a unified inbox for my life, where, regardless of how you communicate with me, it';; all just go to one place. That way, I could just have one place to deal with all this communication? Wouldn't that be nice?
Nick: [Giggling] No? Just email, text, the Instagram DMs, the Facebook messages...it's one place, so I see like, okay-
Leah: Well, I know that if it's coming in from one place, it's probably work. If it's coming in from ... You know what I mean?
Nick: Oh ... I see. Okay. Fair. Yeah, that's true. It's nice to silo. Never mind. Retracted. I guess it's not rude, and if you feel aggrieved by this, you should just get over it.
Leah: [laughter] I always want to-
Nick: Is that the advice?
Leah: I'd want to say something more gently than that.
Nick: Oh, well, I'll say it that way. You say it however you want, with marshmallow gloves.
Leah: Um, can you imagine marshmallow gloves? It'd be so hard to get them on and off without eating them?
Nick: [Giggling] Uh-huh.
Leah: I mean, yeah, that's exactly how I feel. You just said it not the way I would say it. [Giggling]
Nick: Okay, but I guess how much time can pass, how many stories, how many days can go by before, now, you're ignoring my DMs?
Leah: I think it really depends on how much you DM-ed prior.
Nick: What was the rhythm in the prior history? Okay.
Nick: Okay, that's fair.
Leah: How well do you know this person?
Nick: Well, true. Yes, that matters. Yes.
Leah: Also, sometimes in DMs, if it gets pushed down enough, then it no longer says you have that many new ones.
Nick: Oh, so if you're getting ...
Leah: I missed a whole bunch. I hadn't seen them, and then I was flipping to look for a message to get information, and I had a whole chunk that I'd just never seen.
Nick: I see. Yeah.
Leah: I think it's good to practice that - don't take it personally, until you know that it's personal-
Nick: [Giggling] Right. Don't take it personally until they make it clear that it's personal.
Leah: Yeah. I mean, I'm not saying that because I'm good at that. I take things personally that never had anything to do with me.
Nick: Yeah. For me, you'll know if it's personal.
Leah: I know. I appreciate that about you.
Nick: [Giggling] Like, "Oh, I'll let you know."
Leah: It's so funny that you thought it was the person ... We thought it was different people.
Nick: Well, I thought it was the aggrieved person because, if I am posting my stories and not responding to DMs, then I wouldn't be concerned unless I had a friend who then went off on me and was like, "Why are you posting stories when I have a DM that you haven't responded to?"
Leah: Well, I assume that that's what happened. That's what I assumed-
Nick: Oh, yeah. Either way, somebody has felt aggrieved.
Leah: I also wouldn't notice if somebody had posted something and hadn't responded to me.
Nick: No, but it's like in a previous episode, when we were talking about noticing that somebody had Facebook friended somebody else and being bothered by that. Some people do monitor the changes in friend count, or stories ... Some people are very attuned to this, and they spend a lot of their bandwidth observing the social media habits of others, to their detriment. But how you spend your free time is not up to me.
Leah: Well, it's not up to them either. They're being controlled by social media companies [laughter]
Nick: It's the algorithm! Okay, our next question is: "When is it okay to pay with hundred-dollar bills? I work under the table and often end up with bigger bills but feel awkward to use them anywhere but the grocery store. Any insight?" Gosh, when was last time you used cash for anything?
Leah: I mean ...
Leah: What is cash?
Nick: Yes. What is this?
Leah: I think that when you walk into a place, you can always just ask. I feel like it's always fun to ask, "Hey, can you break a hundred?"
Nick: Yeah. I think, in general, ask ... Like so many things - just ask. Ask in a nice way, and don't be bent out of shape if they say no but ask. Yeah. If they can make the change, then they will. If it's 20 minutes until closing, and their drawer ... They can't do it, well, then they can't do it.
Leah: Yeah, I don't think there's any harm in asking.
Nick: In looking at some online forums on this topic, people who work at Starbucks are very vocal about the number of customers who roll through the drive-thru wanting to break a hundred and get very upset when Starbucks can't do it, because usually, they just don't have the change available. They also have a policy that they don't make change just to make change. The number of irate customers that have come through Starbucks stores, where the staff gets the brunt of this animosity is a very common theme online. So, just know that don't go to stores demanding people to break a hundred. It's not your right.
Leah: Yeah, if they can't make change, they can't make change.
Leah: But don't feel bad for asking.
Nick: Right. Also, in the United States, it's important to note that a store is not obligated to take your hundred-dollar bill. It is legal tender, but they're not obligated to take it. They don't have to take you hundred-dollar bill. A store can set up policies. Don't go in there demanding something that's actually not your right.
Leah: Yeah, most people don't have a lot of change in their drawer. I don't get a feeling that our letter-writer is that way at all. I get the feeling our letter-writer is the opposite way.
Nick: Oh, yes. No, our letter-writer is super-conscientious here ... Yeah, when was the last time you saw a hundred-dollar bill?
Leah: When is the last time I saw cash at all?
Nick: Right? I actually used to love paying with two-dollar bills because there are many times when you like leave a two-dollar tip, or you need to pay in twos. I decided for a little while I was just going to have two-dollar bills available, so I got them from my bank. It was very fun. Whenever you give them out, people are like, "Ooooh!" So ...
Leah: Why is that so perfectly you?
Leah: I can't even ...
Nick: Yeah, I recommend two-dollar bills. If you're going to pay with cash, it's kinda fun. At a bar, you tip with two dollars. Coffee, two dollars ... Yeah, it was just fun. Yeah, I'm strange. I know.
Leah: No, you're not strange. It's delightful. It's delightful.
Nick: It's a little whimsy. It's just a little whimsy in your day. We could all use a little whimsy. Our next question is: "I just got engaged, and my fiancÈ, and I are correctly planning on eloping next September and then having a small family reception of about 30 people in late fall. Is it rude to still have a wedding website with a registry, if we aren't inviting people to a ceremony? Should we send out announcements that we eloped? We have a lot of extended family and friends who we are not inviting, due to distance, pandemic, and the fact that weddings cost a bucket of money." Soooo ...
Leah: I think easy part of the question-
Nick: Yeah, there's a couple different layers here, so let's just take it one by one.
Leah: Should we send out an announcement that we eloped? Sure.
Nick: Yeah, okay. People should know, especially if it was a surprise.
Leah: I think it's nice to share with ... Yeah, you eloped. You send it- you put it on your Facebook; you put it on your Instagram.
Leah: "Just eloped!"
Leah: "We're so excited to share our love with you. Here are some pictures!"
Nick: Okay, yeah. That's fine.
Leah: Then, send out an email to your close friends and family: "Wanted you to know we eloped."
Nick: Right. Voila!
Nick: Now, what our letter-writer, I think, is getting to, though, is she would like a KitchenAid mixer, and she would like some other things from a gift registry, and she would like to make it easy to extract these gifts from some people. That, I think, is trickier territory. I think that's tricky.
Leah: I think you think it's more than tricky. Let's be honest [laughter]
Nick: I think it's ... I don't love it. Yeah. I mean because what we're supposed to do with wedding presents is not expect them. You should not expect wedding presents. And then, when you get one, you're so delighted and surprised that you're thankful, and you write a thank you note, and we have that little pageantry, but we cannot expect wedding presents, especially if there's not a wedding I'm invited to. So, I think the registry link on the wedding website? That definitely feels kinda like an invoice, and definitely looks like you are expecting some presents ...
Leah: I do think-
Nick: I think you are! I think our letter-writer is expecting presents-
Leah: Yes, they definitely are, and I do think there will be people who- like close friends, and close family who want to get you a gift ... Obviously, I think we all understand why people elope. They want to celebrate with them. "What can I get you?"
Nick: Right. Then, for those people, you can be like, "Oh, well, we registered at Crate & Barrel, so you can look us up there if you want." You could tell those people that.
Leah: So, you think make a downlow registry.
Nick: I like a downlow registry because I think there is a world in which a registry is actually a very thoughtful thing for people; like people who want to get you a gift, but they don't want to struggle to figure out what to get you, and it is actually convenient for them just to go on your registry, pick out some water goblets, have them ship it to you, and we're done. That is a very thoughtful thing for your guests who want to do that. It's just when we cross the line into making your guests feel obligated to do that, that's where it gets a little trickier. I think it is okay to have a registry. Registries are not inherently problematic.
Leah: Then, if somebody asks for it, you send them the link.
Nick: Yeah, and be like, "Oh, we were registered at these places, if you want to ... You don't have to. Obviously, we're just happy to share our day with you," or whatever it is. But, yes, I think we want to avoid making guests feel obligated. It's like that old Miss Manners phrase, "A wedding invitation is not an invoice." We don't want to make our guests feel obligated to chip in.
Nick: Then, as long as we're talking about announcements, this usually comes up for wedding announcements for people who got married, and then there was a bunch of people you didn't invite to the ceremony. This is tricky. This is very tricky etiquette. Miss Manners is very concerned about people who do this because it is proper- wedding announcements are a proper etiquette thing, but because they're so rare, they're often misinterpreted, and they are often interpreted as invoices for presents. Miss Manners would just like to remind you that the announcement is only meant to announce the wedding, which means it's for people who do not already know. Definitely, they're not for people who are already invited. They're not for people on Facebook, who've already seen the news, or that you work with. They're truly for people who might not have any idea that you got married. Then, Miss Manners tells you that these people also need to care, and also need to be delighted by this news. Your niece's college roommate, who you met once, she doesn't care if you got married, therefore, she does not get an announcement. Then, you just want to be careful to don't include a gift registry link [giggling] in the announcement.
Leah: But that's not these people.
Nick: That's not these people. I'm just saying in general.
Nick: You want to avoid any presumption of requests for gifts in your announcement. Lastly, you just have to send them right away, like the day after the wedding. You can't wait. That's Miss Manners' advice for wedding announcements.
Nick: Hmm. Yeah, good to know. Our next thing is Aftermath.
Leah: Yes! [Singing] AFTERMAAAAAAAAAAAATH!
Nick: This is one of our newer segments in which we go back into the time machine and we find out ñ how'd it go? What happened?
Leah: Aftermath ...
Nick: For today's aftermath, "Okay, remember me? Nana with the large house on the lake that my husband's family invites themselves to for a week at a time without an invitation?"
Leah: Not only do I remember Nana, I've been thinking about this.
Leah: It's popped into my head on many an occasion.
Nick: "Remember, I didn't want to be around for a week when a 50-year-old nephew with his family of five, plus their kids, plus their kids' friends all came for a visit without an invitation, right in the summer sweet spot of July? I went with Leah's advice and took care of myself, and I left. It's enough for cooking and cleaning up after guests whom I do invite. Yes, my husband was there and entertained them all while I did a happy dance each and every day that I was not there. Unfortunately, our summer house seems to attract the relatives whose philosophy is "What's yours is ours," and I'm over hosting their summer family vacations at our summer place when it's convenient for them. My only option, after 30 years of discussing my feelings about this with my husband, is to leave."
Nick: Let me just clarify. She did not leave her husband. She just left the house while there's houseguests [Giggling] Just to clarify.
Leah: I'm glad that she feels like she was able to take care of her mental health.
Nick: Yeah, I think this story- this is the right happy ending. I agree. Upon reflection, I think the advice I gave for this one was like, "No, you're a host still; you still have to be around them, blah, blah, blah." Yeah, I guess just leaving is fine. [Giggling]
Leah: This one seems like she definitely was put upon.
Nick: Yes, I think she definitely felt inconvenienced.
Leah: Thank you so much, Nana, for following up, and thank you for sharing, and I'm so glad you feel good about it.
Nick: Mm-hmm. So, if there's anybody out there from our past that you want to hear - what was the aftermath - let us know. We'll track it down.
Leah: Well, not our past.
Nick: Oh, right. Oh, no, no [laughter]
Leah: Nobody from my past needs to follow up.
Nick: Oh, definitely. I'm not interested in hearing what the aftermath was for a lot of things in my past.
Leah: But any of our listeners-
Nick: Yes! Our past episodes [crosstalk]
Nick: If there's any of those, let us know. We'll track these people down. We'll ask what happened. We'll report back. You can let us know through our website, wereyouraisedbywolves.com, or you can also send us your questions there, too, and you can leave us a voicemail. You can send us a text message, (267) CALL-RBW (267-225-5729). We'll see you next time!
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