May 22, 2023

Insulting People's Talent, Ignoring Polite Signs, Flying Without Headphones, and More

Etiquette, manners, and beyond! In this episode, Nick and Leah answer listener questions about insulting people's talent, ignoring polite signs, flying without headphones, and much more.

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Etiquette, manners, and beyond! In this episode, Nick and Leah answer listener questions about insulting people's talent, ignoring polite signs, flying without headphones, 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



  • How do you respond when someone insults your talent?
  • Should you turn off your engine at a bank drive-thru if a sign requests it?
  • If you hear the doorbell at a loud party, should you open it or tell the host?
  • What can be said to fellow airplane passengers who are playing videos on their phones without headphones?
  • What can be done about people who leave their cars at gas station pumps and go inside to shop when there are other people waiting for gas?







Hosts: Nick Leighton & Leah Bonnema

Producer & Editor: Nick Leighton

Theme Music: Rob Paravonian



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Episode 185


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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, "Frankly, I'm appalled! So here's what happened. I am participating in a vocal group, and we had practice today. At the conclusion of this practice, one member of the group went out of his way to tell me how awful I did. I mean, he walked across the parking lot just to tell me how terrible I was. Naturally, I wasn't expecting to be confronted about my talent in a parking lot, but here we are. I just can't imagine why this person would do this. I'm not a bad singer. I've auditioned for many choirs and made them all. But here's the question: how can one politely respond to someone who is so entirely rude that they insult your talent? And Leah, could you find some benefit of the doubt for this person? Are they just rude? I personally think there is no benefit of the doubt. Am I wrong? No. No, I am not."

Leah: I feel this.

Nick: [laughs] What I love is that they didn't bother asking me if I had any ideas about the benefit of the doubt. That's just you, Leah. That's all you.

Leah: [laughs]

Nick: Don't come to Nick Leighton for that.

Leah: Well, I feel like when—when you read it out loud, I read it that way, the benefit of the doubt way that you just said, which makes me giggle. But when I read it in my head, I read it as they were like, "Hey, has anybody come up to you after a show, Leah?"

Nick: Oh, has anybody insulted your talent?

Leah: Yes. Which of course. And I would not—I am Leah, Leah "Benefit of the Doubt" Bonnema.

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: This is not a situation where I would give somebody a benefit of the doubt because they obviously did the rudest thing. There's no leeway here.

Nick: Oh, but let's try. Let's actually just try. What would the benefit of the doubt be here? How could we do it? Let's try and come up with some explanation.

Leah: The benefit of the doubt would be that somebody just said, "I've kidnapped your family, and unless you walk across the parking lot and randomly insult some person, I will not set them free." That's really ...

Nick: [laughs] Yeah. I mean, yeah, I guess there really is no occasion when this is okay.

Leah: Once a person decides that it's in their—that it's okay for them to walk across a public area and tell you how they feel, they're already bonkers.

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: I thought of this story that—that takes talent out of it because I think we get insecure when people say things. Because it's not about that. It's—I once had these two women come up to me after a show. They had to cut across all these people to get to me because there was, like, a line. And I had this joke that was a true story that happened to me about this guy who was yelling at me about my feet in the subway. And it's a story that happened to me. So there's really no argument as to, like, how—like, I don't really know how a person could make that about them. But they cut across this—it was a sold out weekend show, so they had to get across all these people to me, and then in front of everybody started yelling at me about how the feet story hurt their feelings.

Nick: What?

Leah: Yeah. So I mean, that is just—why would you yell at somebody at a comedy show, and why would you make something that was a story about—you know what I mean? It's just so out there.

Nick: And also, how is the subway foot story hurting anybody's feelings? I don't know.

Leah: I don't know. And then I started to try to figure it out and I said, "Oh, we're not figuring this out."

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: Anybody who would walk across a room and yell about something that had to do with you is not firing on all cylinders. They have some kind of a personal grudge bone issue that is—exists outside of yourself, and they should not be behaving that way.

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: Because I mean, think about—we know factually that you're good. You're in choirs, you're doing a great job.

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: But think about something that you've seen that you haven't liked. Do you go over to that person and—no, nobody does that.

Nick: Yeah. So I guess the question is is there anything we can say? Do we have a retort? A little back pocket sentence here?

Leah: I've said to people in the past, "I don't understand why you're telling me this."

Nick: Oh, I like that. That's good.

Leah: Because I don't really want to engage.

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: I'm not going to participate in my—making myself feel even worse by explaining myself or defending myself, or—or yelling at them and being like, "Why would you do this? It's so rude!" So I just say, "I can't understand why you would tell me this."

Nick: Yeah. I think related to that, my back pocket sentence is always, "I'm doing my best." And then if you can land it, you might add, "And I'm sorry that's not good enough."

Leah: Mmm!

Nick: Or alternate, "I'm sorry I'm disappointing you."

Leah: Zing! I love it!

Nick: [laughs] But you gotta land that, though. But definitely, like, "I'm doing my best. This is my best. So, sorry."

Leah: I also don't think that we want to talk to this person anymore.

Nick: Oh, yeah. I think we want to keep our distance. Absolutely.

Leah: And then if they say something to us, we say, "You were extremely rude."

Nick: Yeah. I mean, I think you can play it that way. I think you can just be cordial but cold, I think is fine. I don't think we need to be warm to this person moving forward. I don't think we need to necessarily go out of our way to engage. I think we're in the same choir, so we're gonna have to, like, see them, but I don't think we have to do much more than that.

Leah: But I also think it's so hard, as Nick said, to not do this, but don't let them—don't let them dim your light. Like, there are people out there that for some weird damaged reason they just want to dim other people's lights. And then people start feeling bad about themselves, which for some weird reason, seems to be these people's goals.

Nick: Yes, there's definitely people who feel like certain things like talent are zero sum. So, like, you have to have less to make me have more. And so, like, that's not how that works. We can actually all be good. We can all succeed. And I think this person doesn't feel that. They're like, "Oh, I need to knock you down in order to rise myself up." And, like, I don't love that.

Leah: I don't like this person at all. And I'm sure they're out there on the internet commenting on people's videos.

Nick: Oh, this is definitely an internet commenter. 100 percent. Definitely.

Leah: And I don't know where we put the rage we have backed up at this person, but ...

Nick: Put it into your art.

Leah: Maybe you could do a solo song that's like a revenge song, but there is no benefit of the doubt of this.

Nick: Carmina Burana sounds great.

Leah: [laughs]

Nick: [laughs] So our next question is quote, "The other day, my husband and I were at the drive-through window at our bank. A sign was posted that said, 'Please turn off your engine.' I said to my husband, 'It says to turn off your engine, so turn off the engine.' He responded by shaking his head and saying, 'You're such a goody two shoes. Just because it says to turn off the engine doesn't mean you need to.' Am I wrong in thinking that if they request that their customers turn off the engine, that out of respect to the bank employees who have to listen to car engines all day, that we honor that request and turn off our car engine?"

Leah: You know me.

Nick: Oh, I know you. You are goody two shoes.

Leah: I would have turned off my car engine before I got there, but ...

Nick: Yeah, you're gonna just coast in.

Leah: I also think it's not just the noise. I think it's also the fumes.

Nick: Yeah, exhaust. Yes. I had a couple different thoughts. But first, do you know the history of the phrase "Goody two shoes?" I looked it up because it, like, occurred to me, like, where does this come from? Like, what is that? Who is this person with two shoes?

Leah: [laughs] With two goody shoes.

Nick: [laughs]

Leah: I'm excited to learn of it.

Nick: So as best I could determine on Wikipedia briefly, there was, like, this reference from the 1600s, and it referred to a woman who had two shoes, who was very privileged. And the idea was like, "Oh, you're so fancy, you've got two shoes?" And so it was sort of like that spirit. It's like, "Oh, you're privileged. Look at you. Two shoes." And so then cut to in the 1700s, there was a children's book called "Goody Two Shoes," and it was about an orphan who of course only had one shoe, but she had, like, a heart of gold. And then apparently, like, some old man, like, left her all this money and then she became a teacher. And then, like, she married someone nice. And then, like, she got two shoes in the end. And the idea was just like, oh, if you're a good person, like, you can be somebody who goes from having one shoe to, like, two shoes that match. And so, like, everybody should be good, everybody. Like, that's the moral. And so—and I guess that phrase "Goody two shoes," like, that's where that comes from.

Leah: Oh, wow. I never even thought of it.

Nick: [laughs] Right? So I was like, "Oh, that's interesting." But regardless, you're a goody two shoes.

Leah: [laughs]

Nick: And you have two shoes.

Leah: I love the idea that I'm a goody two shoes because, like, 50 percent of me is such a goody two shoes.

Nick: Yeah. And that other 50 percent?

Leah: Is out there with the wolves, baby.

Nick: But guess the other thought I had was that etiquette is not the law. No one's gonna go to jail if you don't hold open a door, No one is gonna, like, be arrested if you, like, hog the middle armrest. Like, no, etiquette is not about that. In fact, etiquette is designed to help us all keep it together because there aren't laws for these things. And so yeah, you're not gonna go to jail if you leave the engine running. But, like, is it courteous? Yeah. Yeah, it's courteous. And, like, do we not just want to live in a world in which, like, we make an effort to be courteous?

Leah: I know I do.

Nick: Yeah. And also, just like, would it kill you? So many of these things are just like, is it gonna kill? No, it's really not gonna kill you.

Leah: That goes on our list. That goes on the "Couldn't you just?"

Nick: Couldn't you just? Because I think actually so often etiquette crimes happen because someone's like, "Well, I don't want to be told what to do. You can't tell me what to do, and even if it would be easy for me to do this, actually would take no time, no effort, it actually would be very easy for me to do this thing, because I'm being told I have to do it, I don't want to. And so I'm not going to." And, like, a lot of etiquette crimes are in that flavor, which just is like, would it just kill you to just, like, hold open the door like another two seconds to let someone through? Like, just would it kill you if? It's like a lot of these etiquette crimes is like, it really wouldn't. It really wouldn't. And you're actively choosing to do the wrong thing. So for this, yeah, just turn off the engine.

Leah: I also want to say, just because this is a couple thing and that, you know, we're being brought in again as the third person, I know that in my relationship, I consider certain things rude that maybe he doesn't. And I do things that maybe he thinks shouldn't be done. So a lot of times we'll just be like, I'll say "As a favor to me, can you not do that? Because I—it makes me uncomfortable." And then I know some things that I just don't do as a favor to him.

Nick: Yeah, I think that's a good solution. I mean, I think for this, this is a third-party sign making a request.

Leah: I was in a bathroom this weekend that had a sign that said, "Flushing sanitary products will be punishable by death." [laughs]

Nick: [laughs] I mean, if there were serious etiquette punishments for etiquette crimes, yeah, the world would be a very different place.

Leah: Maybe the signs need to get a little more intense and funny.

Nick: Yeah, get more—more intense. Yeah. That's what we need. More intense signs in our world.

Leah: With a humor. It's funny.

Nick: Um ...

Leah: "Turn off your car or we won't give you your money." [laughs]

Nick: [laughs] There you go. Right.

Leah: Laughy face emoji.

Nick: Yeah. Okay, so have a little more whimsy.

Leah: Have a little more whimsy in your sign.

Nick: Although something tells me that, like, if you don't want to just like, follow the sign without a little winky emoji then, like, you're not gonna follow the sign with the winky emoji.

Leah: I was just throwing out ideas, you know?

Nick: No, that's a good idea. Yeah, it's a good idea.

Leah: I like to follow all the small rules and guidelines, that way I can break the big ones.

Nick: Oh, is that how that goes?

Leah: That's how you—I like to live my life.

Nick: [laughs] All right, we're gonna put a pin in that. So our next question is quote, "I was at a party and the hostess was playing loud music. Then I heard the doorbell ringing. I'm sure that the hostess couldn't hear it. Should I have answered the door or told the hostess?"

Leah: I love that this person didn't tell us what they did.

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: Because I often feel like I want to support whatever our letter-writer did.

Nick: Yes, but here we don't have anything to hang our hats on.

Leah: Nothing.

Nick: Nothing.

Leah: This is—I've been at multiple parties where this has happened.

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: And I feel like what I do is I run over to the host or hostess and I say, "Hey, I can hear the doorbell ringing. Do you want me to get it?"

Nick: Ah, okay.

Leah: That way I'm establishing what should happen now and in the future.

Nick: Ah, yes. Instructions. Yes, that's good.

Leah: Because it's gonna happen more than once.

Nick: Also, at a lot of these parties the front door is unlocked. Like, I don't think we're actually locking our door, right?

Leah: Well, that's why I was imagining a house. The ringer in an apartment building would be in the front.

Nick: Well, I think there's a lot of doorbells in apartment doors.

Leah: Oh, you're visualizing they're still downstairs.

Nick: Oh, you think they're buzzing up from downstairs?

Leah: No, I'm saying if they were—but if they're ringing the doorbell, then I imagine the parking has to be downstairs.

Nick: Well, I guess we have different definitions of door: apartment door or building door. Or most of our listeners probably have houses. [laughs]

Leah: That's what I was thinking. It was a house and they were ringing the doorbell.

Nick: Right. I see. In my mind, we had already made it to my front door in my apartment, although interestingly my doorbell has not worked ever. I think somebody cut the line in, like, the '60s.

Leah: I was gonna say I've literally never seen an apartment where the doorbell works.

Nick: So okay, I think we do want permission, though, because I do feel like if you just let someone into the party and it turned bad, I don't want that on me.

Leah: Yeah, exactly.

Nick: Right?

Leah: Then it's—then the next murder mystery documentary on Netflix is on you, you know?

Nick: Yeah, that was my thought. I was like, "Oh, I think I need permission from the host before I let anybody into the party." But then I was sort of like, "Well, who's showing up for your party who's crashing it? Are we worried about that? Like, is somebody unexpected coming? Like, is there gonna be some mystery guest and, like, that would be a problem?"

Leah: I don't think it's a crisis if you let somebody in.

Nick: Right.

Leah: But I think it's also—if you want to just double check, "Hey, can I open the door when I hear the doorbell ring?"

Nick: Yeah, I like that. But I think a good host is not gonna have the type of party where somebody is gonna have to be let in each time if it's sort of like loud music, lot of people. Like, I think if it's that type of party, then you gotta unlock the door.

Leah: Or put a sign on the door. "Come in."

Nick: Oh yeah, that's the solution. Right.

Leah: Yeah, we're pulling out a third solution.

Nick: That doesn't help our letter-writer.

Leah: That doesn't help our letter-writer at all, which is sign on the door.

Nick: Yes. Oka, so I feel like if we can find the host and we can do this quickly, then we do that. And I guess if the host is not keeping an eye on their own door, then as a guest jumping in, then we could open the door and then hopefully this person is not a murderer.

Leah: Fingers crossed.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: I also think it does depend on the type of party it is. Like, is it a huge house party where it's, like, college kids, everybody's just coming over, they're driving up on the lawn, they're parking.

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: Or is it like a fancy cocktail where there's like a limited number of guests?

Nick: Okay. Yes.

Leah: And the host or hostess would want to open the door.

Nick: Oh, and greet their guests themselves.

Leah: And greet their guests, and maybe they just—the aria got too loud at that moment.

Nick: Yes. Ah, yes. Oh, those arias can be quite loud.

Leah: Can be quite loud.

Nick: Quite, quite. Oh, that's true. Yeah okay, so then I guess the question is: is there an aria? And if there is then, like, let your host do it. Okay.

Leah: I feel like we've ...

Nick: We got there.

Leah: We figured it out.

Nick: Yeah. So our next question is quote, "I was recently on a trip, and on both of my flights the strangers in the seat next to me were playing videos on their phones at considerably loud volume without headphones. On the first flight, a flight attendant requested that the person use headphones, but he merely paused the video until the attendant was out of earshot. The second time, no one intervened. I was trying to read and struggling to focus given all the noise. I feel like we can all agree that this was an etiquette crime, but I was struggling with what the appropriate way to address the issue was. Do you have a go-to script for handling situations like this? I struggled to come up with anything that didn't sound as furious as I was feeling."

Leah: I just wrote down, "Who are these people? I can't take it anymore."

Nick: [laughs] Yeah. Yeah, I love this idea of, like, "Oh, please turn it down." Like, "Oh, okay." And then, like, the flight attendant walks away and be like, right back up.

Leah: Yeah. It's like, what are you, three years old?

Nick: [sighs] So, sorry.

Leah: [sighs] So annoying!

Nick: My first thought was that it kind of depends on is this a person right next to you or is this, like, across the aisle? Like, how much distance do we have?

Leah: I think this person is right next to our person.

Nick: Because I feel like on an airplane, we never know how someone is going to respond to any stimuli, which includes, like, you asking them to wear headphones. Like, we never know where someone's at that day. And so it's just like you always want to be mindful. Like, "Oh, how much room do I have? And, like, am I gonna make this very awkward for the next six hours for somebody I'm sharing an armrest with?"

Leah: I think that in that, like, it's okay to make it awkward because they deserve it to be awkward, they're being extremely rude. But at the same time, will it work against you?

Nick: Well, yeah. Oh, at the end of the day, how is this gonna affect me? Yeah.

Leah: Because it is true that planes force us to be right next to people who quite possibly don't have their—their lid's about to pop off.

Nick: Yes, travel is stressful and we're all uncomfortable. And so yeah, it's—it's often not a great scene.

Leah: I mean, we could go through the Nick glances.

Nick: Well, I think asking politely, I think this is always the best bet if that feels appropriate in the moment. Like, "Would it be possible to pop in headphones?" And I think we just want to use a tone that's like super neutral, no judgment, but like, "Would it be possible if?" And usually when I'm asking somebody for something like that on an airplane or a cafe or, like, some public space, I will also gesture the thing I'm asking them to do with my hands. Because I think when you interrupt a stranger, they're not prepared for, like, a stranger to start talking to them. And it can take a little time for them to process, like, "Oh, what is the thing that this person is trying to communicate to me?"

Leah: Hmm.

Nick: And also on an airplane, you don't know what languages they speak. And so I think if you use a tone which conveys, like, "I'm asking you for a request. This is optional, but it'd be nice if," and then you sort of pair that with, like, oh, the thing I want. So I'd, like, tap my ears, like, pretending I'm inserting plugs into my ears. Then these two things: visual, verbal, this I think is your best chance for success.

Leah: I love that—that point of acting it out. Very astute comment. And I think for people such as myself, like, the idea of just saying that to somebody is terrorizing, so instead you hold it in and then you have all this pent up anger and you want to say—like, what you said didn't sound as furious as I was feeling. And I'm assuming that it just gets easier with time just being like, "Hey, do you mind listening to that with earphones?" That gets easier and doesn't feel like the most terrorizing thing you've ever said in your whole life.

Nick: I mean, I think it definitely takes practice, and you just have to do it fearlessly. And you have to just be confident in that what you're asking is polite. You are being a polite person by requesting someone to wear headphones on an airplane. It is totally within your rights to make that request. That's not an outrageous request. You're doing an okay etiquette thing. And if you just use a tone that's neutral and non-judgmental and you make that request, you're fine. And you just have to do that confidently. And if they accept, then that's great. If they don't, well, you did the etiquette thing, and that's the best you can do, and you can live with the satisfaction that this is a bad person. And so then that's what that is. But at least you tried.

Leah: And the other option is to put in your earphones and turn whatever you're listening to up very loud and try to drown them out.

Nick: Yes. I mean, I've definitely been in situations where somebody was very loud nearby and I did try that. And, like, there is some noise that just does cut through headphones and music. Like, there's a point where, like, you could still hear it and it's still annoying. And once you're annoyed, it's really hard to not be annoyed.

Leah: Obviously these people are—can we just say they're horrible people? If you're listening to things on an airplane with your—like, you're horrible people, I'm so tired of ...

Nick: [laughs] Yeah, you're ruining it for everyone.

Leah: You're ruining the whole world. And ...

Nick: Actually, yes you are ...

Leah: ... you really are.

Nick: ... ripping at the fabric of society by doing this. Yeah.

Leah: Everybody can hear you. The idea that you think—because they're like this throughout their entire life. It's not just on a plane.

Nick: Yeah, this is not the only time.

Leah: And it would be nice if we could just look at them and say, "Hey, do you really think that everything is about you?"

Nick: Well, do you want to ask that person that question?

Leah: No, but I just wish we could.

Nick: What do you think the answer is?

Leah: I wish we could have a person walking around, the etiquette police, saying, "Hey, do you really think everything is about you? Because you're unbelievably narcissistic."

Nick: Well, and these people will be like, "Yes." [laughs] So, so much for that interrogation.

Leah: I know, but it might feel good for a third of a second.

Nick: So what about looping in a flight attendant? At what point do we want to do that?

Leah: Well I mean, the flight attendant got looped in on the first one, and then they just turned it down and turned it back up.

Nick: I guess if you made the polite request and they sort of refused, then I think you could discreetly let a flight attendant know. Like, go to the bathroom, and then while you're back there then, like, let them know. And then the idea is we would hope they would catch them in the act, and so that they would then say something directly and not make it seem like, oh, you tattled. Because I don't think I want to tattle, and then now I have to sit next to you for six hours. So I want the flight attendant sort of like independently, like, see them doing this behavior and then, like, them calling it out and them trying to fix this.

Leah: Last option ...

Nick: Okay.

Leah: We just—of this sentence, I struggled to come up with anything that didn't sound as furious as I was feeling.

Nick: Mm-hmm.

Leah: "Us people who have been feeling furious and not knowing what to do, we just let the furious come out. We scream, 'Are you kidding me?' We grab their phone and we hurl it down the aisle."

Nick: Oh, okay. I mean, let's put it on the whiteboard.

Leah: Or we grab it, we drop it, we—we break it with the heel of our shoe

Nick: Okay. Okay.

Leah: We just pick it, take it, drop it down the toilet, get a standing ovation from those around us.

Nick: I mean, I'll have to consult Amy and Tish and Judy and Emily on this one.

Leah: You could send Emily an email and say, "Hey, let us know how you feel about this idea of just ..."

Nick: "What do you think about this?"

Leah: ... pitching somebody's phone down the aisle."

Nick: And she'd be like, "A telephone on an airplane?"

Leah: "Horrid!"

Nick: [laughs] Who would do such a thing? Also, telephones on airplanes? How does that work? Where is the cable?? Yeah. So I'm sorry this happened to you. But yes, I think long story short, I think be confident with a polite-yet-direct, non-judgmental, value-neutral request. See how far you get, and hopefully that'll solve the problem. And just gotta be bold, gotta be confident.

Leah: Argh!

Nick: So our next thing is a question, but it's really a vent and it's quote, "Nine out of every 10 times I'm at a busy gas station where cars are lined up waiting for an available pump, there's at least one vacant car at a pump where the occupants have gone into the convenience store to putter around without a care in the world. It enrages me to levels I cannot begin to articulate. Is this a common occurrence nationwide, or do I just live among absolute monsters? If I see someone replace the pump and begin to head to the store, I hesitate to confront them since you never know who's a tinderbox just waiting to pop off. Any suggestions?"

Leah: Two things up top: our letter-writer just perfectly said what I was trying to say earlier, which is "You never know who's a tinderbox ready to pop off."

Nick: Yeah, that's the phrase.

Leah: That's a real thing.

Nick: Yeah, you never know.

Leah: And the other thing is, it's both. It is a common occurrence nationwide, and we are all living amongst monsters.

Nick: Yeah, these things could both be true. Yeah, and they are.

Leah: I think the hard part is is that we're in line in a car, and we physically are far away from this person.

Nick: Right.

Leah: So we would actually have to roll down our window and yell out to them.

Nick: Right. And even if you're actually saying something polite and direct and not judgmental and value neutral, the act of yelling across a parking lot? It's a little tricky. Yeah, that comes across as a little aggressive.

Leah: I guess we could yell, "Are you paying with cash?" Which, you know, maybe they had to go back inside to get their cash, and we're giving them the benefit of the doubt. And then obviously they'll say, "No."

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: And then you could be like, "Why are you leaving then? There's a line!"

Nick: And they're like, "I need Pringles." [laughs]

Leah: And then you're like, "Pull forward then!"

Nick: Yeah. I mean, I guess if you could catch them in a way that wasn't super screamy across a parking lot, I guess you could be like, "Hey, are you done? Would you mind if I snuck in before you went inside?" I guess could we say something like that? Does that work? I like the idea of trying to sneak in. I often use that expression. Like, if somebody's blocking me on the street or, like, on a subway or in a line, I'd be like, "Oh, do you mind if I sneak by you?" I like the idea of sneaking because it kind of feels like, oh, I'm just like a little, little mouse. Just like, oh, don't mind me. I'm just gonna, like, sneak around you, tiptoeing.

Leah: It is very nice.

Nick: So it kind of feels very light somehow, even though ...

Leah: It's so light.

Nick: ... my internal monologue is like, "What is wrong with you? You're blocking this entire sidewalk. Do you realize what you're doing? You're ripping the fabric of society." But no, "Can I just sneak by?"

Leah: "Don't mind me!"

Nick: "Oh, just little old me."

Leah: "You just keep staying there and being inconvenient to everyone."

Nick: "You do you! I'm just gonna sneak by ya." Yeah. What do we do here? I guess it's just we need to come to some consensus as a society that this is not done and you shouldn't do it.

Leah: We could also—if we could come to a strong enough consensus, then when we saw that person going in, everybody else who's now agreed that we don't do this now comes together in a loud chant or maybe a group booing.

Nick: Oh, I do like a group booing.

Leah: [laughs]

Nick: Yeah, I like booing. I think booing—booing's not bad. Yeah, it'd be great if there's more booing.

Leah: It's a group boo would be ...

Nick: I mean, if I was at the theater and somebody's cell phone went off and everybody just booed that person, I mean, that person's not gonna do that again.

Leah: Yeah. And that way you're not singled out, and—you know what I mean? In case the person's a tinderbox. It's a—it's a whole group booing.

Nick: [laughs] Right. Sure.

Leah: But say we cannot orchestrate this group boo.

Nick: Okay. Then yeah, I guess we just have to let them go. And then do we just give them a very sad, disappointed look when they come back? Like, "Oh, you're an animal for doing what you just did." Is that what we do?

Leah: I mean, the problem is is that they're—they're not gonna see us.

Nick: Also, they're immune to that kind of thing.

Leah: They're immune. I mean, I've been giving these looks my whole life. Nobody's ever picked up.

Nick: But why do people do this? Are there not enough parking spaces that are not at pumps at a gas station? Like, is that why we don't do this?

Leah: People don't do it because they don't think of it.

Nick: Yes, I think that it's usually not malicious. I feel like it's actually probably not malicious. It's just like, "Oh, I was parked and my car is still here, and I need to run in and it's going to be real quick and it's part of the gas buying experience. And so that's why I did it. And it didn't occur to me that, like, oh, somebody needs this pump."

Leah: Well, it's the not caring about other people needing the pump.

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: Because you see a line of waiting cars.

Nick: Yeah. You have to see that, right?

Leah: You don't not see a line of waiting cars.

Nick: So yeah, then you just don't care.

Leah: You just don't care.

Nick: Yeah. So then yeah, that makes you an absolute monster. And to answer the question: is this a common occurrence nationwide? Certainly it's a thing that happens in Los Angeles County. I have certainly observed it in the Bay Area. I'm not getting a whole lot of gas in New York, but I can't imagine it doesn't happen here. Do we think this is coast to coast?

Leah: Oh, this is coast to coast.

Nick: Do we think this is small towns and big?

Leah: I think smaller towns don't get hit as hard at a certain time of day with the gas getting loaded up.

Nick: Okay. Although I feel like in a small town, there's only one pump, and then I know the guy who owns the gas station and we're gonna catch up for 20 minutes.

Leah: I mean, this feels like a survey.

Nick: All right, listeners.

Leah: I'm trying to think of, like, our pump at home, and there's one on each side, and definitely people will run in. But for some reason, it doesn't feel like you're in as much of a hurry. Like, they run in, they grab a lotto ticket.

Nick: No, it's rural Maine. Where are you going?

Leah: You got places to be.

Nick: What, the Blueberry Festival?

Leah: You got places to be. You gotta go to work. You gotta go to school.

Nick: You gotta get to the fudge shop.

Leah: I'm actually always—I'm always going to the fudge shop. So ...

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: I think that what happens in a smaller town is like, say you pulled up to the pump, and say your friend Lisa was at the pump and she was filling up and then she went inside to do something, you could run in and be like, "Hey, Lisa, I'm wicked late for this thing. Do you mind?"

Nick: Wicked late! Oh, somebody's from Maine. [laughs]

Leah: Yeah, that's so—exactly. I'd say, "Lisa, I'm wicked late for this thing. Can you just pull forward?" You know what I mean? And you just have, like, a friendly conversation about it.

Nick: Right. Yeah. No, I think that's how you do it at the Cumby's. Sure.

Leah: That's how you handle it. Because you would just be like—because then asking the person to move wouldn't be a big deal. You know each other.

Nick: Do you have Cumberland Farms in Maine?

Leah: We have it in Maine, yeah. Not in my town.

Nick: Okay. All right. Just—just want to make sure if we can be wicked late at the Cumby's.

Leah: Cumby's parking lot.

Nick: [laughs] So ...

Leah: Or even if you didn't know the person, I feel like it's easier to do it at a smaller pump.

Nick: Yeah. Like, "Oh, ma'am, would it be okay if you pulled up? I got to get to my whatever."

Leah: Yeah. I just feel like that's more doable when it's a smaller station.

Nick: That's true. Yeah, that's true.

Leah: I feel like where they have the busiest pumps and everybody's lined up, always happens to me on a highway. And when you're on a highway, you're in motion. You want to keep going.

Nick: All right, listeners. So global—we got listeners around the world—is this a problem everywhere from Los Angeles to Lisbon? I mean, let us know. Definitely curious about this.

Leah: I'd say yes, it is.

Nick: Yeah. I would be very surprised if there's someplace in the world that's like, this is not a problem. Except Japan. I imagine Japan probably doesn't have this problem. But everywhere else.

Leah: I pulled into a gas—after we got this question, and I'd read this question.

Nick: Mm-hmm.

Leah: I was out late at night outside of the Los Angeles area. I pulled into a gas station. 10 pumps.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: I was one of two people there. I wanted to run into the convenience store, and I sat in my car and I thought, "Can I run in and not pull up when I'm in the middle of nowhere and there's nobody here, or should I practice pulling up?"

Nick: Practice? Okay.

Leah: Well, I mean, you know, be in the—just be like—not practice, but I mean, you know what I mean? Be ...

Nick: Practice what you preach.

Leah: Yes, but be in the—even if it doesn't matter because there's nobody there.

Nick: I would say given the story you've outlined, I think you'd just leave your car.

Leah: That's what I did.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: But I thought—I wanted you to know that I thought about it.

Nick: No, I appreciate that level of thoughtfulness, because I think if everybody had that level of inner contemplation before they did something, what a world we would live in!

Leah: And I might have actually pulled up just because what if all of a sudden 10 cars came in, but then a wild car full of teenagers pulled up to the front and I was like, "I'll keep my car here."

Nick: [laughs] Okay.

Leah: [laughs]

Nick: So do you have questions for us? Let us know! You can let us know 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!