I know a player who, when she wants to exchange a tile for a Joker on someone else’s rack, she just sticks out her hand with the Joker and doesn’t say a word. She expects that the person with the Joker will know exactly what she wants and usually it works out that way. But I find it a bit rude and I personally do like to say something along the lines of, “may I have your Joker please?”
Also, when this same person wants to claim a discard and it is her turn to pick, she doesn’t say anything…she just picks it up. That used to be okay – albeit a little strange – but ever since last year’s card, the rule has changed so that now you must verbally make a claim.
Interestingly enough, the wonderful Gladys Grad, the Grand Master of American-Style Mah Jongg, just wrote about these very subjects:
Q. When we play in our home game, we just place our tile on our opponent’s rack, and exchange for their Joker. Or we put it on the table directly in front of them. We’re smart. We can figure out what they want. It’s the same with the new rule from the NMJL; why do I have to say “take,” when I want their discard if I am next in line for my turn. I don’t have to say “take” when it’s my turn to pick from the wall. Isn’t this the same thing? Isn’t this a bit much? Marlene
I agree with both of you. If everyone played the rules suggested by the NMJL you could go anywhere in the US and join a game and not have to ask what are your table rules.