I'm not giving up my seat

So, last night, my SO and I decided to do dinner and a movie. I had been sick for a while, so I was excited to get out and have some fun.

We had dinner, and arrived at the theater about 30 minutes early. As you can imagine, the theater was pretty empty at the time. We sat in an empty row, towards the middle right of the the row second to the last. Time went by, and the theater filled up, except the first 5 rows which remained mostly empty. A group of friends sat next to SO, leaving an empty buffer seat by his side. Two friends sat next to me at the end of the row, and also left an empty buffer seat on my side. The trailers rolled, and the movie began.

About 3-5 minutes into the film, a couple enters the theater. They walk up the stairs to our row, and walk through the row from the left side (remember, we are on the right side), and looks at me, asking if the seat next to SO is taken. I truthfully answer “No”. She asks if the seat on the other side of me is taken. I again say no. She then asks me to move. I politely decline. She asks why wouldn’t I want to be more at the center. I tell her I am happy with my seat, sorry. She gets upset with me, after which I point out that the first 5 rows are just about empty. She is annoyed with me, but goes away.

A few moments later, her male companion comes in front of everyone. He asks if the seat on my side is occupied. I say no. He asks me to move. I again, politely decline. He asks why not.* I tell him I am happy with my seat. I again, point out the 5 empty rows in front. He grows indignant saying “What is your problem!” blah blah blah. I say I got to the theater 30 minutes early, I suggest you do the same next time. He becomes even ruder, and I finally say " Listen, I’m not doing anything wrong. What are you going to do, have me arrested?"

my SO gets annoyed and says “She says that she doesn’t want to move. End of story”. The guy starts throwing profanity my way, and SO has had enough. He says “Get out of here, NOW.” I tell SO not to let the guy get to him. Fortunately, the guy finally leaves.

…And then 5 minutes later, the woman comes back into the row, and takes the seat next to SO. Whatever. A minute or two later, the man comes into the row, approaches the woman, and the people on the other side of her move for him. They just had to have those seats.

I have been in their shoes. I have gone to the movies, and walked into a packed theater, or one with all of the prime seats gone. And I sucked it up. I have sat in the very front row (we are talking bend your head all the way back seats), or I have even been separated from my companion by several rows. I have never demanded that someone move, and never will.

So, who do you think was in the wrong?

In case you were wondering, why I did not want to move:

I had just gotten over a cold, and the people we would of been moving closer to were sniffling and stifling coughs. I felt it wrong to humiliate the sick person by pointing her out, so I didn’t. I had just gotten over a cold myself, my balance wasn’t so great, and there we go. I don’t know if the guy in question watches the news, but there is a flu epidemic out there.

On top of that, I don’t care for entitled people, and I a had an inkling they would not be the best movie goers. And what did they do? Text during the whole 3 hour long movie. Who would of thunk. :rolleyes:

But to me, I don’t need a reason. If I didn’t want to, I didn’t want to. It’s as simple as that. As the old adage goes…"A lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part

I don’t think it was wrong of them to ask you, but once you declined, that should have been the end of the story. You had no obligation to move under any circumstance, and as you point out, you arrived early and took the seats you wanted. It’s not your fault that the way other people sat wasn’t a convenient configuration for the late-comers.

In other words, I think there was nothing wrong with your actions, nor were you required to explain yourself beyond the “No, sorry” that you offered. The late-comers were jerks.

Since I’m terrible at giving advice, I’ll give an equally terrible hypothetical:

If you’re sitting in a packed subway train, and an elderly person goes up to you specifically and tells you to vacate the seat for them.

Now, you’re not necessarily entitled to comply. There ARE other people he/she could be asking…But back to your situation, while they were wrong for making a huge scene about it, was it too much for you for a simple compromise?

Your last line sums it up for me. I feel no compunction to discommodate myself in order to accomodate people who are rude and thoughtless.

Would you have moved if you’d been asked nicely if you minded moving vs being told to move?

Had someone asked me politely if I minded moving one seat, I’d have cheerfully accommodated them, provided I wouldn’t have gotten a worse seat (e.g. behind a really tall person, or farther away from center). In fact, I might have offered to do it before they even asked.

Had someone told me to move, I’d have told them that I was content where I was.

What Asimovian wrote. Both of them are assholes. They probably have this sense of entitlement because they pull this shit all the time. Good on you for not moving.

I probably would have just moved and not given it a second thought, one seat won’t make a difference, but clearly they were in the wrong when they started yelling and by their texting.
(How long until a certain person shows up to say how texting during a film is perfectly appropriate?)

I don’t see the problem in moving one seat over… the rest is a bit immaterial to me.

I think people who try and hog space are being rude. If there’s room to move, the obligation is to move. I don’t buy your explanation as a reasonable one, and think you just wanted elbow room at others expense.


Frankly, I’m not pleased with anyone in this scenario.

I am a New Yorker, and the person would not of even had to ask. I have gotten up for the elderly, pregnant women, and those with small children numerous times.

It’s true, sorry you think I am a unreasonable though. I like my health, especially after not having it at 100% for a few days.

Regardless, I did make point number 3. Let us also remember these people were late, interrupting my experience on top of all of that.

This doesn’t really fit. In the OP’s case there were plenty of other seats, but the person just didn’t like them as much.

That said, I don’t see any real reason not to move over when asked and would have done so if the request was reasonably polite. Once it turns from a request to a demand, I’d absolutely stay put but it seems like a reasonable request and I don’t really see a reason not to do it.

Not your experience!


Uh…yes, the movie was my experience.

Meh. Moving wouldn’t have killed you (terrible viruses notwithstanding). A little human compassion and decency was too much to ask from you? You deserved their loud complaints and insults.

No, of course you don’t have to give up your seat. You’re just doing your bit to make the world a slightly worse place.

How’s the movie…
…fine except for worlds biggest a-holes hogging 4 seats.

So it’s you and SO, together, with an empty seat on either side of the pair of you, right? SO gets up, moves past you to the empty seat, and frees up a pair of seats for the latecomers.

That doesn’t seem too difficult.

So either accept that other people are going to become a part of that experience, good or bad, or wait to get it on DVD.

2 seats. There were 5 rows for them to choose from. But they had to get what they wanted, right? :rolleyes: