"Sorry, this seat is taken. And that one. That one, too...."

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?

For theaters, I think proper etiquette should have one person saving no more than two seats (three seats total). Any more than that just doesn’t make sense (two people I can understand getting food for three people).

For restaurants… well, I just try to avoid crowded restaurants. If it looks too crowded, I just go somewhere else. If EVERYWHERE looks too crowded, I just wait 'til the herd leaves. I’m patient.

'Scuse me, I was saving this thread for someone… Oh comeone, someone had to say it, right?

Reminds me of a Simpsons quote:

Lisa is on the bus and she asks if she can sit in the seat next to Mrs. Skinner. Mrs. Skinner says, “Oh of course not, dear. This seat is for my coin purse.” She sets the coin purse on the seat, Lisa grumbles away, and Mrs. Skinner takes back her coin purse and glares at Lisa.

School buses are the worst to find a seat. Especially if you’re the last stop.

Once I got on a bus where every seat was taken. In the front was a woman who had two children beside her, and the stroller and blankets on the two seats behind her. I pushed the stuff to one seat and sat down, and she starts yelling at me for touching her stuff. I said “Look lady, I paid for a seat. Unless you paid for four seats, leave me alone.” Then the bus driver told her to shut up or get off the bus.

My husband has only gotten into a fistfight twice in his life. Once was over saved seats. Crowded bar. He is meeting his buddies who all have seats around a table. He sees five or six empty barstools at the table next to him and takes one. The lone guy at the table says, “Hey, those are saved!” Husband apologizes and returns it. A half hour goes by. Still nobody is sitting on the “saved” seats. Husband takes the same barstool and shrugs his shoulders at the guy, like “Sorry. Your friends still aren’t here and your “save” pass just expired.”

Words are passed and they actually come to blows over a stinking empty seat. They both get thrown out of the bar.

Common sense: You should be able to “save” a seat for a few minutes. The more crowded the place, the less time til your save pass expires.

I would tell these bozos that they suck at saving seats. Personally, I don’t go for the whole ‘saving seats’ thing. It’s first come, first serve IMHO. If I see a jacket or something, I assume someone got there earlier than me, and I move on to other seats. But somone who has not arrived has less right to a seat than someone who is already there. The seat isn’t yours until you put your butt in it.

Just an opinion.

Well, in my movie theatre manager days the saving seats rule went like this. Yes you could save seats but when the first preview (ok actually it was a paid ad) started there were no saved seats. If your friend didn’t make it back from the concessions stand or bathroom by then tough.

If I went to that lecture I would have said that I was in the class from the other college and sat down.

I live in NYC and in places like donut shops you frequently share a table with a total stranger if you are alone.

I think you should be able to save a seat for about 5 mins and thats it.

Oh come on…this one is easy. The only way a seat can be saved is if it proclaims Jesus Christ as its’ Lord & Savior :stuck_out_tongue:

And before everybody officially wakes up this morning to start chiming in on what is sure to be a hot-button topic, we must make the logical extension to idiotic line savers, and people who park their grocery carts in the checkout line and then wander off to pick up “a few more things” while their cart sits there “saving” the person’s place in the checkout line.

Can one person “save a place” in a line of people waiting for, say, a bank teller? This happens to me occasionally but not frequently. Enough to piss me off. Scenario #1: I see some joker walk into the bank, where she spots her friend in line ahead of me. She walks to the head of the line & they chat for a few minutes. If anybody is bold enough to question her, she says “oh, I’m with him”, suggesting that she doesn’t really have any business to transact. She turns out to be a scum-sucking liar with plenty of business to transact. Scenario #2: Waiting in line at the Dairy Queen, a guy several places in front of me in line, let’s call him Jack Schidt, sees his sisters Holy, Fulla & Lotta. He invites them all into the line with him. I would say something but their father (Horace) is sitting in the car and he looks like one mean dude.

To address the OP, the maximum ratio of seats-saved to actual-bodies-saving-them should not exceed 3:1. Any higher than that, and I would stongly consider just sitting down in whichever “saved” seat I damn well please & if they have a problem with it, let the theater manager sort it all out.

On preview, I see that I have waited too long to post my rant- either that or somebody let a bunch of posters in line in front of me. Grrr…

Thanx, bd, I needed that. :slight_smile:

For the record, if you do sit down regardless, you have to have thick skin. Enough to be able to ignore the stage-whispered “what an asshole” comments.

What the hell. It’s better than standing.

Absolutely the worst example I have ever seen of this type of behavior was at Bumbershoot last year. For those of you not from the Seattle area, Bumbershoot is a weekend-long music festival featuring a lot of different groups.

Anyway, the boyfriend and I were going to see Ladysmith Black Mambazo, which for some unknown reason were playing in the Opera House – in other words, limited seating. We got there pretty early and found decent seats. The guy in front of us was sitting with his wife and had their jackets draped over the next three seats over. So two people were taking up five seats. I heard them talking before the show started about their kids, and “I hope they show up! Do you think they will?” “Aw hell, I don’t know, maybe.”

Meanwhile at least ten different people asked if those seats were taken, and the man and his wife were like, “Sorry, we’re saving it for our kids.” The auditorium completely filled up. There were people SITTING IN THE AISLES. And these two jerkoffs were saving seats for their kids, who… wait for it… never showed up. I don’t even think they expected them to show up, based on the conversation I overheard.

The nice part was that at intermission, three of the people who had been sitting in the aisle (and were apparently friends) came over and basically commandeered those seats. They just started to sit down, and when Asshole and Wife of Asshole said, “Oh, those seats are saved,” these guys said, “Not anymore” and sat down anyway. I felt like cheering.

[George Constanza]We’re living in a society people![/George Constanza]

Sorry that’s all I had to add…


It’s pretty embarassing for the person saving the seats. When I do it, I just want to give them the seat. But then we were here first and you weren’t. Sorry!

I am elated that so far there´ve been at least seven posts clearly criticizing obnoxious seat-savers, while there’s been only one mildly defending them. Kinda shows ya which side America is on! But will the seat-savers ever feel embarrassed about their lack of courtesy? Naw.

You can’t say “we” were here first unless the person you brought is right next to you, butt parked on seat.

That right there cuts to the crux of the problem. Seat-savers insist that there are invisible, unseen people who are somehow “there.” I say there ain’t nobody there and I say the hell with them.

How about unfit mothers who “save” their place in the checkout line by leaving an unattended baby stroller, with baby, right there? People like that should have their children taken away by Social Services.

Love yer fictitious names, Attrayant.