May 30, 2022

Going to Drive-Thrus Near Closing Time, Asking for Drink Refills, Throwing Parties During Weddings, and More

Etiquette, manners, and beyond! In this episode, Nick and Leah answer listener questions about going to drive-thrus near closing time, asking for drink refills, throwing parties during weddings, and much more. Please follow us! (We'd send you a hand-written thank you note if we could.)

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Etiquette, manners, and beyond! In this episode, Nick and Leah answer listener questions about going to drive-thrus near closing time, asking for drink refills, throwing parties during weddings, and much more. Please follow us! (We'd send you a hand-written thank you note if we could.)

Have a question for us? Call or text (267) CALL-RBW or visit



  • What is the etiquette for ordering from a drive-thru that's about to close?
  • How do I stop my friends from criticizing my dining choices?
  • How do I tell people I don't have an Instagram account while still being flirty?
  • What's the polite way to ask a server if drink refills are free?
  • Was it rude for a lifelong friend to throw a housewarming party during my wedding?







Hosts: Nick Leighton & Leah Bonnema

Producer & Editor: Nick Leighton

Theme Music: Rob Paravonian



Episode 141


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

Leah: And it's Leah Bonnema.

Nick: And we had so many great questions from you all in the wilderness ...

Leah: [howls]

Nick: That we have a bonus episode. So here we go. Our first question is quote, "What is the etiquette of ordering from somewhere that's about to close? The other day, my husband and I passed a Dairy Queen about 15 to 20 minutes before they closed. I really wanted to go through the drive thru and get ice cream, but my husband said he was not interested in purchasing ice cream with saliva in it. We did not end up going, but if we had, would it have been rude to show up that close to closing time?"

Leah: Not at a drive thru.

Nick: Yeah. I mean, let's talk about it, because it feels like the answer is just like, no, if they're open, they're open. But that's not the answer, right? There's nuance. There's little layers, right?

Leah: I don't think with a drive thru there's nuance and layers because they're closing down inside the actual restaurant while the drive thru is staying open.

Nick: Okay. I mean, I think the thrust of this is: some places when they're closing, they have to do stuff. They have to clean, they have to, like, cool down machines and fryers and stuff like that. So there is, like, a shutdown procedure. And so I guess the question is: when does that start? Does that start when the doors are locked, or does it start at some hour before that where they're, like, winding it down? And I guess the husband's concern is that you are keeping these people later than they ordinarily would be there by ordering something, right? Like, that's the concern.

Leah: I think his concern is that you're at the bottom of the ice cream and it's getting everybody's ...

Nick: Oh, that's how you interpret this?

Leah: Oh, saliva in it like they spit in it?

Nick: That's how I thought—yeah, that's what I was thinking.

Leah: Now that you said that it's very clear that that's what it is.

Nick: Wait. What was your version?

Leah: You know how when you get to the bottom of a soda, you're like—and somebody else is like, "Do you want the rest of my soda?" And you're like, "No, I don't want that. That's like, wash back."

Nick: So you think ...

Leah: I was thinking he was saying that about that. I was like, I don't think that works that way with the machines. But now that you pointed it out, that's not what he was saying at all. [laughs]

Nick: No, I—okay. I mean, we can put your theory on the whiteboard.

Leah: Whoo! No, now that you've made it much clearer, I don't think that. With drive thrus, they've already closed the front because people are mopping and getting it ready, and they expect you to go to the drive thru right up until closing.

Nick: I see.

Leah: I don't think that anybody is putting saliva in your—that's what they expect to happen.

Nick: Yeah. I feel like if it's a drive thru and it's during operating hours, I think have at it. Now I think if you are going to a restaurant and want to be seated for a 90-minute to two-hour experience and it's five minutes to closing, I mean, maybe there's further conversation required.

Leah: Yeah, that's totally different because you're staying and making people stay open.

Nick: Right. So I think I appreciate the not-wanting-to-inconvenience-employees-by-making-them-stay-later-than-they-should idea. Like, I think that's not a bad idea. But then the question is, like, are we actually doing that?

Leah: You're buying, you're driving.

Nick: Yeah. I think if you can do what you need to do and get it done while the business is still open, I think that's fine. Like relatedly, if you were gonna go to a clothing store and you want to try on 5,000 pairs of jeans, if you can do all that in the 10 minutes before they close and be out of there with your purchase, I guess that's fine. But if you expect to, like, have this long experience and that's really gonna carry over closing time? Yeah, maybe you shouldn't do that.

Leah: I think that's it exactly.

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: I love that I read this question so wrong, and then when you said it, I was like, "Oh, that was obviously what he meant." And, you know, I'm a creative reader. Also, sometimes if I feel like I'm cutting it real close, but it's like a drive thru, I'm running in and running out. I'll throw a little extra tip in there just to be like, "Hey."

Nick: That's nice to do. Yeah.

Leah: I appreciate this. I needed that. I needed that ice cream. I'm gonna throw a little extra tip your way so you probably want to clean the machines.

Nick: And I think when in doubt, ask. "Oh, are you guys still open? Are you guys still serving? Is your kitchen still open? When do you close? Would it be okay if—?"

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: I mean, I think you could always ask and see what the response is. And if it's like, "Oh no, our fryers are down, so we can give you this item, but we can't give you this item." Like, maybe there's a negotiation.

Leah: And I think they will tell you, "Hey, that's not open anymore. This is what we have."

Nick: Right. Okay. So I think we have decided this was fine. Don't worry about spit in your ice cream.

Leah: Yeah. And I'm saying this as a person who's regularly worked in restaurants. If people come in and they just want to grab something and go and it's at the end, I've never had a problem with it.

Nick: Okay. So our next question is quote, "I don't eat meat or dairy, so when I go out to a restaurant, I usually have to alter my order a little bit. It's easy and I don't make a big deal about it, but I have friends who never fail to make some sort of disparaging comment about my choices lacking pizzazz. What can I say to them to forever end their annoying comments without breaking the rules of etiquette?"

Leah: I really feel—and, you know, as you've said before when you say, "Who am I today?"

Nick: Yeah, who are you today?

Leah: This may just be because of who I am today.

Nick: Uh-huh.

Leah: But I felt the same way when I read this question three days ago and I thought about it. I really feel like you can just directly say to your friends, "Please stop making disparaging comments about my food choices."

Nick: Yeah. Although before we get there, can we talk about the word "Pizzazz?" I was realizing that, like, I like this word and I don't use it enough. And I feel like I really want to make an effort to incorporate the word "Pizzazz" into my life.

Leah: I think you should.

Nick: I feel like I need more pizzazz in my life.

Leah: I have two people in my life that actively use the word pizzazz, so ...

Nick: Okay.

Leah: And I love it.

Nick: Okay. And it's a good thing. We're not worried about me becoming a third person in your life that uses the word. [laughs]

Leah: No, I love it. And as soon as I hear it, I just want to shake my shoulders. You know what I mean?

Nick: I even looked up the definition. Quote, "An attractive combination of vitality and glamor." I'm like, is that not what I'm looking for in life?

Leah: [laughs]

Nick: I mean, yes. So assignment everybody: try to do something that adds a little pizzazz to your day this week. Just try one pizzazz item.

Leah: One pizzazz item.

Nick: One pizzazz item. That's all. Just one. So back to the question, though. Yeah, I mean, I think you could just shut it down politely. That is an a-okay etiquette-approved way to go.

Leah: Because the only other ways I could imagine are being passive-aggressive about making some kind of comment back, which I'm not in love with. Or you could also when you're not at the restaurant, if they say, "Hey, do you want to come out to lunch with me?" And you say, "Oh, I'd love to, but you always make some kind of comments about my food. Are you gonna be able to handle it?" I don't—you know, that seems to be not ...

Nick: Uh, yeah. I mean, I like where you're going with that, but it's sort of like the execution is gonna be real tricky.

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: To, like, anticipate an etiquette crime. I had a list of things you could say, but I don't think they're good. [laughs]

Leah: I want to hear them. I want to hear them.

Nick: Yeah. No, these are not good. But one is to say, "Bless your heart." I think this is a great place for a "Bless your heart." Or just a sigh that conveys just like, this is exhausting. Just sort of [sighs]. So that was an idea.

Leah: Because you can't see Nick at home, he did the sigh, but then he also pulled his lips back. So I think that's sort of an important part of the look.

Nick: Yes. No, it does require some participation with the whole face. There was the "Thank you for your concern," or "I'll manage, but thank you." Or "Don't worry, I'll bring the pizzazz." And that's an occasion to use the word "pizzazz," which I thought that's a win. No? Okay.

Leah: No, I like all of these. I like all of these.

Nick: [laughs] I'm not getting a lot of pizzazz with your responses.

Leah: I think you could say, "Well, don't worry, I'm eating it, not you."

Nick: Right. Oh, yeah. I had "Good. Then I won't feel guilty about not sharing it with you."

Leah: That works.

Nick: Right?

Leah: That feels like you could say that in an upbeat voice.

Nick: Yeah. Tone? Tone is key, yeah. And then the last thing on my list is, "Well, life is full of disappointment."

Leah: [laughs]

Nick: [laughs] So I think that's also something you could try.

Leah: I had some ideas that were so wrong, but I loved the visual. Like, your friend makes fun of you, and then you just knock all the salt and peppers off the table.

Nick: Oh!

Leah: Like, real violent and then stare in her face.

Nick: [laughs] Oh gosh. Who are you today, Leah Bonnema? Wow!

Leah: Like, just why are we commenting on our friend's food choices?

Nick: So it becomes a prison lunchroom.

Leah: People gotta eat their—yes, like a prison lunchroom. And then you stare each other off.

Nick: Uh-huh. Okay. Well, put it on the whiteboard.

Leah: Yeah, we'll put that under the "No" column. But I feel like you got to get that feeling out of like, "Why are they commenting? And then I have to find a polite response." You know?

Nick: No, but in general, can we just not comment on people's food? Like, there's just never a good occasion for it unless you're saying, like, "Oh, your burger looks good! Mmm!" Like, unless it's that, there's no other commenting on food that's sort of available in an etiquette-approved way, right?

Leah: Yeah! No!

Nick: Like, there's just not. Like, "Oh, that's big!" Or "You're gonna eat all that?" or "Oh, you like that?" Like, there's no other comments that are available.

Leah: That just reminded me. I was—just really quick on the commenting, I was on the road with another comic who was a woman and we were out eating. And we ordered nachos to share, and multiple people walked over to us—we were sitting at the bar—and said, "That's a lot of nachos for two ladies." I was like, "Who are you? Who are you?"

Nick: [laughs] Well, I mean, was it a lot of nachos for two ladies? I mean, that's the first question.

Leah: No, it was one plate of nachos. That's not the first question. If it was a pile of nachos, it was still—I think they were just trying to talk. But I was like, "Is your intro ...?"

Nick: Oh, as a pickup line?

Leah: Yeah. And we would just be like ...

Nick: Yeah, what is the response to that?

Leah: Yeah, I was like, I don't engage. I just stare.

Nick: Well, what is the appropriate amount of nachos for two ladies, I guess? Is there—is there a number?

Leah: I just stare at people.

Nick: Yeah. I mean, for that, I give you permission to shove all the pepper shakers onto the ground.

Leah: It's just so weird when people comment on food.

Nick: Yeah, it's not really ever done. So don't do it.

Leah: Don't do it!

Nick: So our next question is quote, "Recently, I was having a rather flirty conversation online and was asked if I have Instagram. I don't, but I didn't know whether I should just say "No" or "No" plus "Sorry," or just phrase a response that communicates that I don't have it without using a negative word like "No." Do you mind clarifying the American corridor of politeness on this matter?"

Leah: I think it's fine to say no. And then, because it's a flirty conversation, you may want to follow up with a little bit of—like a sentence. So it maintains flirtiness if that was the goal without—so it's not like a "No," you know what I mean?

Nick: Right. Yeah. No, period, send. Yeah, that's probably not the tone we're going for.

Leah: I think it could just be something like, "No, I don't use the socials."

Nick: And I think this is a great place for emoji.

Leah: Yes!

Nick: And it's the emoji of your choice. You have quite a lot of choices, depending on how flirty you'd like to be. But yeah, I think this is a great time for emoji.

Leah: Maybe a winky?

Nick: A winky? Sure. Yeah. And I think you could say, like, "Oh, I'm afraid I don't." And then some joke, maybe like, "Oh, but I'd love to send you as many photos of frozen rosé as you need," or whatever the Instagram cliché of the moment is.

Leah: Which I'm pretty sure it's called Frozé.

Nick: Yeah? I guess that's how out of touch I am.

Leah: No, I just learned that. So I'm putting—I'm floating that out there because that's a recent thing that I learned.

Nick: I only drink rosé. So that's rosé for men.

Leah: [laughs]

Nick: [laughs] Uh huh. But yeah, I think yeah, the "I'm afraid I don't, but," or like, "I'm sorry, I don't but," I'd be fine with that response.

Leah: Oh, me too. I do a lot less socials than I used to because I just can't—so when people are like, "Hey, are you on this?" I'll be like, "No, I'm still sending ravens."

Nick: [laughs] Okay.

Leah: [laughs] Like, use like a little lol, you know what I mean?

Nick: But also I think just worth mentioning that sometimes asking for somebody's socials can feel a little invasive and, like, kind of violating a little bit. And just a reminder: health and safety always trumps etiquette. So if you feel not comfortable sharing a social, even if you had Instagram and didn't want to, like, it is okay to say no. You are not obligated to share things you don't want to share with people who are flirting with you online. So just want to—reminder, it's okay to say no. Set those boundaries. Stick to those boundaries. It's totally polite to do that.

Leah: It's very important. I'm glad you brought that up.

Nick: Yeah. So our next question is quote, "What's the polite way to ask a restaurant server if drink refills are free? We end up finding out that we just spent $10 on two glasses of iced tea after we get the bill. It would be nice for a heads up."

Leah: May I speak to this as somebody who struggled with this on the other side?

Nick: Please.

Leah: I worked in a restaurant in New York.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: Where they didn't do free refills. And it was they basically wanted us to not tell people that we weren't doing free refills.

Nick: What?

Leah: So people would just keep order ...

Nick: That's devious!

Leah: It's devious, ordering sodas. And I couldn't do that.

Nick: You were specifically instructed to hide this information from your customers?

Leah: Not hide it. Like, if they ask directly, I'm not gonna lie, but to be like, "Hey, do you want—" they wanted us to push the refills without bringing up that they were getting charged every time.

Nick: Right. Yeah, so how do you—how do you do that slickly?

Leah: I obviously couldn't do it because it's against my entire nature. So I would always be—especially you have a family from out of town. They're not used to New York prices. They have, like, three kids, you know what I mean? They're gonna get the bill and be like, "What?" So I would say ...

Nick: Yeah. "How did we spend $50 on root beer?"

Leah: Yeah, exactly. So I would say, "Would you like another?" If a server says, "Do you want another beverage," or "Do you want a refill?" It's a different question.

Nick: Right. Yes. No, using the word "refill" implies free refills, I guess?

Leah: But I also don't want to assume that people can't get another beverage. So it was always like a fine line where I would just say it's a different drink, that we don't have free refills.

Nick: Right. Yes. No, I mean, I think as a restaurant, it's nice to not trick your customers.

Leah: I'm not gonna trick people.

Nick: Sure.

Leah: But I, now as a person who's ordering beverages, I have no problem asking. I'll say, "Do you guys do free refills?"

Nick: Yeah. I mean, I guess for me being in New York, I don't think I've ever seen a refill ever. Like, I've heard about them. I've read about them in books, but I've never actually seen one. So it would not occur to me that, like, oh, I could ever get another beverage for zero dollars. Like, I'm not wired that way.

Leah: It's amazing out here. Let me tell you.

Nick: [laughs] Just outside of New York City what goes on?

Leah: Yeah. Somebody brought a pitcher the other day to the table and I was like, "Is this just—" they were like, "Oh, refills." And I was like, "What?"

Nick: Oh! Like, "Here's just a whole thing of Sprite for this price of one?"

Leah: Yeah. Just keep refilling yourself. Yep.

Nick: Oh, gosh. Yeah, okay. So I have not lived in this world, but yeah, if that's what you're used to then I guess—well, I mean, etiquette is local, and so the etiquette of refills in New York is different than in other places. So I guess if you were in a place that might have different etiquette and you're not sure what the etiquette is, then asking. Yeah, I think you just ask straight up. Like, "Hey, I would like another Sprite. Do you have free refills or not?" And I would just ask straight up.

Leah: Yeah. It's not rude at all to ask.

Nick: No. In fact, I think it's probably just a good idea to clarify, if you are confused, to avoid any of that awkwardness at the end of the meal.

Leah: Absolutely.

Nick: So our next question is quote, "This is less of a question and more of a rant. My wife and I had a wedding of about 150 people. The ceremony, meal and speeches were in one location in Manhattan, and then a reception for dancing and drinks was immediately following at another location walking distance away. There was no space between these events like sometimes happens if you have a traditional church wedding, and then folks drive somewhere for a reception and then there's a big lag time in between. No, the time in between each event was only for reasonable travel on foot to the next location.

Nick: "We warned everybody about wearing the right shoes and offered cabs. During the dinner, a lifelong friend and her husband invited their entire table of eight to go view their new apartment nearby. No, not after the wedding—during it! So instead of heading straight to the reception after dinner, they had people over to their new apartment for drinks. So needless to say, we were at the reception dancing for a while before we noticed a missing group. When they finally arrived, maybe 90 minutes after all the other guests, there was no explanation. Honestly, it wasn't even a focus for me at the time, and I kind of only half noticed it and forgot. And I didn't learn what happened until the following week when a friend told me and came clean, saying she was at that table and was unwittingly caught up in the excursion.

Nick: "She thought the group was just making a brief detour at this couple's place to pick something up, but once she saw this couple was having a cocktail party during our wedding, she left. So I guess my question is: is it rude for your lifelong friend to bring a bunch of people from your wedding to their fancy apartment and have an impromptu housewarming party during your wedding? Like, I know it's rude. I would just like you all to confirm and be horrified in solidarity."

Leah: I am horrified in solidarity.

Nick: [laughs]

Leah: Horrified! You're gonna have a housewarming party during my wedding?

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: What is that?

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: What is that?

Nick: I mean, when you RSVP for an event, you are committing to the event, and being a full participant in the whole event.

Leah: You're not stealing people. Not only are you not participating, you have stolen people.

Nick: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I think why it's rude actually comes down to—well, it's rude for a lot of reasons. But I think it's rude for the reason of density. Have we ever talked about party density?

Leah: No, we have not.

Nick: Okay. So party density is like the concept of we want to achieve a certain density when we're entertaining, and the level of density depends on what type of party we want, how many people per square foot. And, like, have you ever gone to somebody's house and there's like, four people, like, scattered throughout the whole house and it's, like, weird? As opposed to, like, oh, we're all in the same room, like, enjoying each other's company? And so why this is rude is that these hosts had planned a certain amount of density for their event, and you just sucked people out of this event and changed the density dramatically. And so now we are having an event with less density, and so you are affecting the happiness of all the other guests because they can feel this drop in density. And that will be felt. You will notice it in a way that's not great.

Nick: Density is also the reason why, like, at the end of a party, everybody ends up in the kitchen, because as humans we're naturally trying to maintain some, like, minimum density. And so that's why we all gravitate towards each other as the numbers dwindle so that we can, like, maintain density in, like, the smallest room possible. So it is like this interesting thing about party planning. But density, I think that is why this is rude because these people changed your density without permission.

Leah: Two things. I think that's—three things: very interesting.

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: I feel like I just learned all of that.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: Off that, very wolf pack-y, we're finding our wolf pack. We're staying with the pack.

Nick: True, true.

Leah: And third thing: yes, density. Also rude because this was their day. This was their day.

Nick: Also that. Yeah, that's actually probably what it really is.

Leah: Yeah. I think that that's the big one for me.

Nick: [laughs]

Leah: That's the big one for me, besides density which also rude. And I love learning that. You've changed their wedding day to be about your new apartment.

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: I mean!

Nick: Yeah, I guess that, at the end of the day, it's selfish and rude.

Leah: So selfish! I would have trouble being friends with this person anymore. I'd be like, "Did you just throw a party in the middle of my wedding day?"

Nick: Well, I love the idea of, like, "Oh, come see our apartment." Okay, I don't love that detour, but it's sort of like, okay. I mean, fine. Pop in. Let's just check it out. Ooh, nice faucet. But now we're like, oh, we're opening beverages and pouring drinks while this other event is happening? That's a little far.

Leah: Whole other level. You do a stop by. "Oh, my apartment's on the way. You want to take a look? I just got a new curtain." Fine.

Nick: Right.

Leah: I'll accept.

Nick: I mean, it's not fine, but, like, I'll be more fine with that.

Leah: Yes. Not fine, but okay.

Nick: All right. Yeah. Also, if you just did that, you probably would not have been caught.

Leah: Absolutely wouldn't have been caught. Nobody would have noticed.

Nick: Right.

Leah: Yeah. Just like you had a bathroom break on the way there. That's all that is. But you have an hour and a half get-together in your home. I am repeating that I am horrified in solidarity.

Nick: Yes, we will validate your feelings, letter-writer. And yeah, so what do you want to do about it?

Leah: I mean, I feel like there must—this is a lifelong friend. They must—this must somehow be in character for them. I can't imagine. I would never think to throw a party during my friend's—it's not just a party, it's their wedding day.

Nick: Yeah. I mean, it's sort of the party of all parties.

Leah: The party of all parties.

Nick: And the lifelong friend is probably a close friend who has been on this journey and has seen this marriage come about, and so should be there to celebrate and support. Yeah. No, it's bad on a lot of levels.

Leah: I'm upset.

Nick: A lifelong friend, you have a lot in the bank with them. And so I think if this does upset you—and it should. I think you are well within your rights to be upset by this. I think you could have a polite-yet-direct conversation about this event and how it made you feel. And my hope is that they will apologize, not realize that what they did was wrong. I would like to think that they did not do this maliciously. It was just careless and not thoughtful. But I would like an apology from them. And so maybe having that direct conversation would give you some closure on this event and help you move on. Because otherwise, I think you're receiving this person in your theater, and so, you know, how you feel about that that's up to you. But I guess those are your choices.

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: Yeah. So, how exciting? Love a good vent!

Leah: Also, if you want to give me this person's address. [laughs]

Nick: Yeah, they're in Manhattan, so I'm sure I could pop by.

Leah: Nick can pop by, and I want to be there on speakerphone.

Nick: Yeah, we can definitely FaceTime you in. And I'll do a house call for this one, yeah. But yeah, let me see this new apartment. I'll tell you what I think about it.

Leah: [laughs]

Nick: [laughs] So do you have a question for us? Or a vent? We'd love to hear it! So please send it to us. You can send it to us through our website, Or you can leave us a voicemail or send us a text message: (267) CALL-RBW. And we'll see you next time.

Leah: Bye!

Nick: Bye!