March 20, 2023

Tossing Food at Hotels, Sharing Discount Tips, Entering Without Knocking, and More

Etiquette, manners, and beyond! In this episode, Nick and Leah answer listener questions about tossing unopened food at hotels, sharing discount tips with friends, entering rooms without knocking, and much more.

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Etiquette, manners, and beyond! In this episode, Nick and Leah answer listener questions about tossing unopened food at hotels, sharing discount tips with friends, entering rooms without knocking, 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



  • Should we toss our unopened food when we're leaving a hotel?
  • Is it rude to ask people to take time off to attend a birthday party?
  • What should I do about a personal development coach who missed our scheduled appointment?
  • Is it rude to tell people about things I bought on sale and give them the info in case they might be interested?
  • Should I be annoyed that my boyfriend's friend came into our bedroom without knocking?







Hosts: Nick Leighton & Leah Bonnema

Producer & Editor: Nick Leighton

Theme Music: Rob Paravonian



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Episode 177


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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, "Should we toss our unopened food when we're leaving a hotel? For example, we bought pickles at the beginning of our trip and forgot they existed, so they were never opened. We don't like to waste food, but at the same time we don't know how to dispose of the pickles. My mom debated leaving them for the housekeeper, but we weren't sure. We came to the conclusion that it would just create more work for them if they didn't want them or couldn't take them, so we decided to toss them ourselves. Was that the right thing to do?"

Leah: I think we've discussed previously my first job was in housekeeping.

Nick: I thought you were gonna say, "My first love is pickles."

Leah: I mean, it was hard for me to decide which I was gonna say first, actually.

Nick: [laughs]

Leah: So great call on that part.

Nick: But we're gonna lead with the housekeeping. Okay.

Leah: And me personally? People would leave things in the room.

Nick: Yeah?

Leah: And I think if something is unopened and you were gonna throw it away, I personally would rather you left it. Maybe I want it.

Nick: Right. Or I know somebody who might, or somebody else on staff, or ...

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: Right.

Leah: But I understand why it feels like a conundrum. Are you just creating more work for that person?

Nick: Although my question is: okay, you dispose of the pickles, but what does that mean? Because in my mind it just means you just threw the open pickles into the garbage in the hotel room and then, like, left the glass jar in the hotel room. Or did you, like, take the pickles outside of the hotel somewhere? Like, what did you do with the pickles?

Leah: That's a good question.

Nick: That was where my mind was going. I was like, oh, did you, like, go to the dumpster in the back of the hotel yourself? Like, what is happening with this pickle jar?

Leah: Nick wants to know where are the pickles now?

Nick: Dove pickles?

Leah: ¿Dónde está pickles?

Nick: Pickles, dinar?

Leah: Hodgepodge pickles.

Nick: [laughs]

Leah: That means—that means, "How are you, pickles?" Because I couldn't remember how to say "Where are?"

Nick: Ou est le pickle? So yeah, where are the pickles?

Leah: Ich bin pickles.

Nick: Oh, that's different.

Leah: I think I said I was a pickle.

Nick: You are a pickle. Yeah.

Leah: [laughs]

Nick: Which may be true. So I think yes, if it's unopened, and it's something that's not, like, total garbage that no one's gonna want and there might be some value to someone else, and it's not, like, some enormous thing, I feel like the pickle jar falls into the category of, like, yeah, I think it's okay to leave it in a conspicuous spot.

Leah: Yeah, like, leave it out so ...

Nick: It's clear.

Leah: And this is obviously that it's unused.

Nick: Yeah. And you can even put a note on it and be like, "Hey, we love this brand of pickles. We couldn't take it back in our luggage—it's more than three ounces. And so if you know anybody who loves pickles, like, please enjoy."

Leah: And don't leave that instead of a tip.

Nick: No! Oh, gosh, no. No. But it's good to leave a note. And I feel like actually so often in hotel rooms, we feel like we need to be coy or we aren't allowed to leave a note. And it's sort of like, no, you could actually just, like, leave a note like, "Oh, this is your tip. Thank you for the stay." Or, like, "These are pickles we didn't want. Hope it wasn't too much of an inconvenience. Hope someone likes pickles." Like, it's totally fine to actually, like, communicate. And you don't have to, like, leave a mystery for whoever's, like, cleaning the room.

Leah: I like all of those things.

Nick: And I love that this is about pickles again. And I didn't realize there's so much pickle enthusiasm out there.

Leah: I hope we can bring up pickles every week.

Nick: Be careful what you wish for.

Leah: May I say?

Nick: Sure.

Leah: I was out to dinner, and I was like, "What is this taste that I'm getting?"

Nick: Uh-huh.

Leah: And I said, "I think this is a dilly bean." And then the man next to me was like, "What's a dilly bean?" And I was like, "What's a dilly bean? I mean ...

Nick: I'm not entirely sure what a dilly bean is.

Leah: I don't—I don't know what you guys have been doing with your lives. [laughs]

Nick: I assume it's a type of pickle based on the context of our conversation.

Leah: It's a green bean that's been pickled. They're in jars. Dill pickle.

Nick: Oh, okay. So it's a green bean. I pickled it. Okay.

Leah: Dill pickle. It's a dill pickle green bean. And then people chop them up. Or you can either—I'll eat it like the spear. Like a spear of a—it's not a spear. I'll eat the bean.

Nick: Uh-huh.

Leah: Or you could chop it up. And so then the guy next to me goes, "No!" And then when the—when the waiter came over he goes, "What is that?" And he goes, "Oh, it's a pickled bean." And the guy was like, "How did you know that?" I was like, "How do you not know what dilly beans are?"

Nick: I have a very refined palate.

Leah: [laughs] I am refined. I know dilly beans.

Nick: Okay, so our next question ...

Leah: What a crunch!

Nick: ... is quote, "Is it rude to ask people to take time off to attend a birthday party? I was recently invited to partake in some day drinking, but I was requested to take off work. I declined, and I said I'd rather save my time off for vacation. I feel bad, but I also feel it's inappropriate to ask people to take time off. Thoughts?"

Leah: My thought here is that the equation is that you shouldn't feel bad.

Nick: No, no. An invitation is not a subpoena.

Leah: And so I can imagine a world in which a person goes, "Hey, I'm gonna take today off for my birthday and I'm gonna go out. Did you want to take today off with me?"

Nick: Yeah. And you're like, "Unfortunately, I can't."

Leah: And you're like, "I can't."

Nick: Yeah, I think that's fine. I do think though, that the explanation for why you can't attend, I think that might come across in a way you might not intend, because I think, like, yeah, you're, like, annoyed, like, oh, I can't, like, celebrate your birthday because I have to work, and I can't use my vacation time for this. But I think by explaining it that way, it might sound like you're saying, "Oh, my vacation time is more important than you or is more important than our relationship or more important than your birthday." Which could be true. But, like, you don't have to say that. And I don't think we want them to, like, potentially hear that.

Leah: I think also sometimes we feel like we're irritated that they would ask us to take work off.

Nick: Right.

Leah: And so—but then we feel guilty, so we feel the need to explain. And we don't need to explain. We can just say we can't take work off.

Nick: Yeah. And I guess that piece where it was like, oh, we feel bad about something, so we kind of actually, like, give more explanation than required to, like, justify our actions, this is actually when we get into trouble.

Leah: And it's also—I always think it's funny where we feel—and I don't mean to speak for our letter-writer, but I know I do this, I feel irritated, but then I feel guilty saying no.

Nick: Right.

Leah: So it's like, don't feel guilty saying no, you can't take work off.

Nick: Yeah, just thank them for the invitation. And that's the end of it.

Leah: And I can see a world in which a person was like, "Hey, I'm gonna go to whatever on my birthday. It's a work day. Do you want to come?" I don't mind being invited and then being like, "I can't make it." Like, I'd rather be invited and not be able to make it than not be invited.

Nick: Oh, for sure. Oh, this would be so much worse if you just assumed, like, oh, you're working. I'm not even gonna bother and I'm gonna make that decision for you, that RSVP decision for you. Yeah, that's not good.

Leah: And I think that if this person invited you and then you're like, "I'm sorry, I can't take off work," and then they got mad at you, then you would be like, "Okay, you're out of line. I obviously have to work."

Nick: Well, that's like having a destination wedding and being mad that people can't come.

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: That's sort of like, "I'm sorry. I didn't pick the destination wedding. That's on you. Yeah, you decided this."

Leah: Yes. "You can go to New Zealand and I cannot make it." Although I'm going to New Zealand.

Nick: Sure. Well, if it's a Hobbit-themed wedding? Of course.

Leah: I'm there. I'm already there. I'm waiting for you with my elf ears.

Nick: So letter-writer, at the end of the day, guests and hosts, they both have obligations. So yeah, you can ask, you can invite, you cannot attend, and that's kind of the end of it. So it wasn't rude to offer, but it's also not rude to decline.

Leah: Very reasonable.

Nick: Yeah. So our next question is quote, "I had an initial appointment with a personal development coach, and when he was late without notice or explanation, warned him that I'd be moving on with my day after 15 minutes. Hours later, he apologized for not showing up and said that things got busy. He wasn't unprofessional about it, but I consider this—on the first appointment especially—a serious etiquette crime and a potential dealbreaker. Are there reasons other than documented emergencies—and what kind—that would justify someone overlooking this kind of first impression and giving the professional a second chance? How could I tactfully but firmly set the tone for this never happening again if I decided to work with him?"

Leah: This person is a personal development coach.

Nick: Uh-huh?

Leah: Being on time ...

Nick: Is like the whole thing.

Leah: ... is the whole thing.

Nick: [laughs]

Leah: I—they didn't tell you they weren't gonna be there.

Nick: But Leah, things got busy.

Leah: But then hours later, things got busy after you were like, "Hey"!

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: So I think the idea that they are a personal development coach is at odds with their behavior.

Nick: Right.

Leah: And I don't think that I would comfortably be able to hire someone who behaves in such a manner.

Nick: Yeah. So I mean, I think we know how I feel about this sort of thing. But let me just say, I get that things happen. People are late. I've been late. This has happened.

Leah: And you message. You message people when you're late.

Nick: Emergencies happen, stuff comes up. I mean, I get all that. This is not what happened here.

Leah: This is not what happened here.

Nick: This is just somebody who lost track of time. And so dear letter-writer, let me just save you some money. 99 percent of being successful in life is showing up. That's the whole game. Just showing up. Showing up for your job, showing up for your friends, showing up for your relationships, showing up at the gym, showing up. Like, that's most of life. And so the fact that this person can't do that, I mean, that's the whole thing.

Leah: Also, the sentence where our letter-writer said, "Are there reasons other than documented emergencies—and what kind—that would justify someone overlooking this kind of first impression and giving the professional a second chance?" You didn't even mention they wasted your time.

Nick: Yeah, that's a huge etiquette crime.

Leah: They wasted your time, and they're supposed to be a professional development coach. And they're wasting your time!

Nick: Yeah. No, that's not good. But it's actually never the etiquette crime, it's the cover up. And, like, okay, we lost track of time. I get it. Okay. You know, our days sometimes escape us. Perhaps hypothetically. I've heard it happens. And so okay. But, like, how did we recover from that? And that's where the rubber does not meet the road here. It does not appear that this person is sufficiently mortified.

Leah: I don't think so at all. If I missed an appointment for a job ...

Nick: Yeah, a paying client.

Leah: I would be mortified. I would apologize. I would offer something. "Let me give you one session free."

Nick: Yeah. No, I would have to do significantly more than what this personal development coach has done.

Leah: And I—things do come up, but usually when things come up, you either text or there's a full explanation when it's an emergency. "I'm sorry I didn't get back to you. This thing happened with my family. Blah, blah, blah, blah." I think we all understand that. As Nick said, that's not what this is.

Nick: That's not this. No. So I'm sorry, no. I think you're being very charitable to even consider the possibility of working with this person again.

Leah: I think you're being extremely charitable.

Nick: So if this were me, I'd know enough about this person to know that I don't think this is my style in terms of how I schedule things and how I treat my time. So I don't think this would be the right personal development coach for me. If you want to give them another chance—and I probably wouldn't, but if you feel so inclined because you're feeling very charitable, then I think you would just need to have a very polite, very direct conversation, which is like, "Hey, that wasn't how I like to operate. And so is that a one-off or is that just sort of your style? Do you actually have, like, a looser relationship to time and time management? Maybe you do, in which case, like, I'm probably not the right client for you. Or if that was a one-off then, like, oh, now you know that that doesn't work for me. So we're gonna have to all make an effort to, like, not let that happen again." I think that would be the only solution if you didn't want to, like, cut them off.

Leah: And I think our letter-writer is already leaning towards it being a potential deal breaker. They just are wanting to be charitable. And I think you don't have to be charitable. This—this is clearly not that this person had an emergency.

Nick: It's okay to bounce. Yeah, you definitely have my permission.

Leah: [laughs] Nick's already bounced for you.

Nick: Oh, yeah. And I'd be delighted to talk to this person on your behalf and let them know why that's happening if they are unclear. So feel free to pass along their email. I already have a template. [laughs]

Leah: [laughs]

Nick: So our next question is quote, "I love a deal and getting stuff on sale, so when someone compliments something I'm wearing, I'll often say 'Thanks, I got it on sale!' I also love sharing the deals I find with others. But someone just told me that they were offended by this because it made it sound like I think they can't afford to buy things at full price. Is it rude to tell people about things I bought that were on sale and giving them the info in case they might be interested?"

Leah: What a great question!

Nick: I think I've been in this conversation with people, so I think this is familiar.

Leah: Definitely. I always like to look at things first. The way that I would take it if I was on the receiving end.

Nick: And how would you take it?

Leah: You know, I come from a long line of professional yard salers.

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: I have a lot of friends who love, like, vintage shopping online, they love a good deal. And I've been in many conversations where I'll compliment and they'll be like, "Thanks, I found it for, like, $5." And then they tell me what the store was. And I've never taken it like an insult.

Nick: Right. And also, who likes paying full price? Like, who's that person? Like, "Oh, no thank you. I would rather just actually pay more for the same thing." Like, there's not that person.

Leah: There's not, right?

Nick: I don't think so, no.

Leah: I recently was in a conversation where—you know, I buy all my glasses as sunglasses.

Nick: Like you're reading glasses are, like, just sunglasses?

Leah: My glasses that I use to see far away.

Nick: Oh, all your distance glasses. So all your driving glasses.

Leah: Yes. I'll buy them at a sunglasses store, so you get very fun frames and they're significantly cheaper than if you go to an eyeglass store. And then I'll just have them put my ...

Nick: Oh, so we're not, like, driving at night with sunglasses?

Leah: No, they're not even sunglasses. I'm using sunglasses frames.

Nick: Oh, right. So you have fun frames because they're intended to be sunglasses, but you put in regular lenses. Got it

Leah: And then put in regular lenses. And it's always significantly cheaper that way as well.

Nick: I see. Oh, you found a loophole. Okay.

Leah: So I recently told somebody this information when they were complimenting my glasses, and when I read this question, I thought, "Oh, no, was I insulting this person?"

Nick: [laughs]

Leah: I was just genuinely excited that I was like, "You can get all the frames you want. You just buy them and bring them and you save money." You know? I wasn't in any way assuming that that person needed to save money. I think when people are sharing, like when people are like, "Oh, I found this for 25 cents," they're—they're excited.

Nick: Yeah. No, because it's like a treasure hunt. People like treasure hunts.

Leah: It's a treasure hunt. And who wouldn't get excited?

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: So I think it's not rude.

Nick: I think the only thing is there might be a way to say it in some tone that conveys the wrong thing, and so I guess it's a tone issue.

Leah: I guess if you were like, "Hey, I've noticed that ..."

Nick: "I've noticed that you need new shoes." And yeah, I don't even know what the tone is.

Leah: "It also seems to me like you're in the same boat as me, living week to week. Would you also like to get this great deal on glasses?"

Nick: [laughs]

Leah: That's not the way to say it. But I don't think that's what anybody is trying to say.

Nick: Yes. "As someone who's also financially struggling, clearly you would be interested in this information I'm about to give you. So let me give it to you." Yeah. I mean, I don't know.

Leah: I don't think anybody's saying it like that. If you are saying it like that, don't say it like that.

Nick: Right. Okay. So our next question is quote, "I'm spending the night with my boyfriend. He has a friend crashing for the night, so he won't have a long commute to work. This morning at 7:00 a.m., this person comes into our room without knocking and helps themselves to the lotion in my boyfriend's bathroom. The door was not locked, but it was closed. We were scantily clad, but mostly covered. But I'm livid at the audacity. Again, it's not my house, but I can't help but feel like an unspoken boundary was crossed. Am I blowing this out of proportion? How can I navigate this without seeming like I'm making rules for a roof I don't live under?"

Leah: I would definitely agree that a boundary was crossed.

Nick: Yes. And actually what I wrote down was: does the Leah rule about in-laws apply here?

Leah: I say family is different than somebody—here's the thing.

Nick: Well, let's just clarify what that rule is.

Leah: Okay, that's a good idea.

Nick: Which is in general, Leah feels—and she's not incorrect—that if there's an issue with an in-law, the person whose parent that is needs to be the point person for addressing that issue. Right?

Leah: Yes. I, though, if I'm sleeping and somebody walks into my room without knocking, I have no trouble—whoever it is—being like, "What are you doing?"

Nick: [laughs] Right. But I guess would we not defer to the boyfriend to have a conversation with his friend about, like, "Hey, dude, you gotta knock"?

Leah: Oh, I think if there's a conversation later, I would be like, "Can you go do this?" But I mean, in the moment, I think I would feel comfortable saying, "What's going on right now?"

Nick: "Oh, just getting lotion."

Leah: And then I would be like, "Really, dude?"

Nick: "Yep!" Yeah, I mean what is that conversation?

Leah: [laughs]

Nick: You know, that's how that would go.

Leah: I would just want to avoid my eye roll. I would need to voice my—I don't—I don't really get the feeling—did we tell our boyfriend we were irritated?

Nick: I do not know what has happened since. It does feel like we got this email probably from their phone while they were still under the covers and still mad that this happened.

Leah: I think we can tell our boyfriend "That's wild that your friend did that."

Nick: Yes. I think the next move here is let's talk to the boyfriend and, like, see how they feel about this. Are they cool about this? Are they also annoyed? Like, what's their deal? And I think that will tell you a lot about your boyfriend and this relationship. And so I think that's a good conversation.

Leah: And then also, this may never come up again. They may—this person might not stay in the house.

Nick: Yeah. Like, how often is this happening? But I think it's good to know, like, oh, what are the door closed rules in this house? I think that's good to know.

Leah: And I feel like if this person stayed at the house again and they were there, I'd have to make a joke. I would have to make a joke. I'd be like, "Gotta lock the door since you seem to just walk into places."

Nick: "I bought some lotion for you. I'm leaving it in your room."

Leah: Yeah. Or you could be like, "Hey, we're putting the lotion in your room so you don't feel the need to come in while we're sleeping."

Nick: Okay. I don't know if that's the polite-yet-direct approach we would advocate, but it would definitely get the point across.

Leah: It's definitely off base to just walk into someone's room when they're sleeping.

Nick: Yes. Oh, and just to clarify, the rule is that if a door is closed, we would knock. I think that's like the general rule, like, we don't enter rooms that might be occupied without knocking. So I think that applies to, like, bedrooms for sure, bathrooms, offices. Like, is there a room that might have a closed door that might be occupied where we would just, like, walk in?

Leah: No.

Nick: Right? I feel like that's actually kind of universal.

Leah: I think it's very universal. And I wouldn't even knock at 7:00 a.m.. I would be like, "I can live without that lotion."

Nick: Yeah. Actually, that's the big question. Like, how urgent was this? Was this urgent?

Leah: This wasn't even this urgent. And I think this is—this is a great word for it: the audacity. People just being like, "I deserve to have this lotion. I'm just gonna walk in while you're sleeping."

Nick: And I could see, like, oh, these are buddies and they've been buddies for a long time. And, like, this is just the relationship we have. So I could see, like, how we arrived here, but yeah, it's not great.

Leah: Yeah, I can absolutely see that they're, like, two dudes, they went to college together or whatever.

Nick: "We just have an open-door lotion agreement."

Leah: But I think you can step in and be like, "Hey, I'm not comfortable with this agreement. Can we knock on doors when they're closed?"

Nick: Yeah, and I think you are well within your rights to ask that.

Leah: And I think I would just bring it up with my boyfriend. Have that conversation. "Hey, if I'm gonna be sleeping over, I would love it if we could just, you know, suggest to your friends that maybe they just don't walk in."

Nick: And get a double deadbolt.

Leah: [laughs] Or we could tell our friends they have to wear chains around their legs so we can hear them coming.

Nick: [laughs] Or we get one of those dog invisible fences that are, like, give a little shock if they cross the boundary.

Leah: Zaps them when they do it. Yes. Perfect. Perfect.

Nick: Or we go to the old standby: bear trap.

Leah: [laughs]

Nick: Get some bear traps.

Leah: [laughs] I don't know why we didn't bring that up first.

Nick: So do you have questions for us about bear traps or anything else? 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!