A corpus of transcribed, oral requests used in a previous study of compliance-gaining strategies (Tracy, Craig, Smith, & Spisak, 1984) is examined interpretively from the perspective of the politeness theory of Brown and Levinson (1978). Findings include the following: (1) politeness strategies occur in great abundance and variety; (2) superstrategies are mixed in varyingly skillful ways; (3) goals are accomplished through multifunctional discourse; (4) the interpretation of politeness strategies confronts several kinds of indeterminacy; (5) facework strategies that fall outside the scope of the politeness theory, including aggravation and speaker-oriented strategies, are much in evidence. In response to the several theoretical problems that emerge in the course of the analysis, six tenets on which to build a new theory of facework are proposed.