Once I wanted to see a famous Nobel Peace laureate speak at good ol’ CSULA. In some of the front rows there seemed to be lots of empty seats, with no jackets, purses or limbs draped over them. So I sat in one.
Next thing I know, someone’s telling me all those seats are being reserved for a class. (From a different college, mind you.)
So I choose a seat in a neighboring row – again, no jackets, no limbs. Then this guy says, “Oh, I’m sorry, I’m saving those for my wife and kids, they’re not here yet.”
I finally found a seat in the back. Fellow audience members who also ran into the Outside Student and the Family Man weren’t so lucky.
(This event proved so popular that they had to move it from the lecture hall into the Student Union, where the audience packed the balconies up to the rafters.)
Another time, I got a donut at a café. There were no empty tables. There was one table where I saw someone’s belongings occupying one space, so I genteelly took a seat on the other side of the table.
It wasn’t long before a horrid young woman came over and brayed, “Excuuuuse meeee, I’m sitting heeeere!”
“You’re sitting here?” I asked incredulously, indicating my own seat.
“Well, my friends usually sit with me,” was her response.
“Just give me a minute to finish my donut,” I grumbled.
“Well, okaaaaaay, as long as my friends have somewhere to sit.” (People like that don’t deserve friends, and if they have them, they probably treat them like shit, too.)
Crowded restaurants and theaters are just the sort of pressure situations which separate the jerks from the considerate people.
Some of these people, by the way they act and talk, make me suspect that they are not actually saving a seat for an actual person who’s actually going to show up – they just don’t want me sitting there. And “saving” seats is the quickest, most relatively risk-free, cheapskate way to keep me outta there, assuming they don’t have funds to buy the place.
Got some questions for y’all:
How can a seat with no jacket or neighboring person’s arm on it be “saved”?
What’s to stop these people from “saving” every seat within a 20-yard radius, or maybe every seat in the room, so that they can watch the show in solitude and comfort?
What makes a seat “saved” anyway?
How do these people know that I didn’t previously save that seat?
-Maybe I was there a few minutes ago and left for a moment.
-Maybe I called on the phone and told the management I was saving the seat.
-Maybe I had this seat “saved” from way back, from the first time I came here, and everybody knows - or ought to know - that this is my regular seat.
-Maybe I sent out psychic “seat-saving waves” the moment I entered the room. Or on the way over. Yeah, that’s it, I just visualized the seat that would be there waiting for me.
(Silly as these scenarios sound, they are just as righteous as some of the things the seat-savers have told me.)
Are there any ettiquette books with digressions on seat-saving? How about theater-owners’ manuals?
And, the final question: what would happen if I just stayed there and refused to budge? I think that’s what I’ll be doing from now on, and I hope it becomes a nation-wide movement. We Americans are too polite when it comes to honoring “saved” seats.
I mean, I’m really sick of this shit. Have been ever since the kids on my school bus told me I couldn’t sit in one of the two seats they were presently occupying. The only polite guy was Darrin, the 6’9’’ basketball player who would get up for you and then sit on the outside.
How 'bout you? Got any favorite or un-favorite seat-saving stories?