I was at a small movie theater with my daughter the other day to see Oz (loved it!). It was a surprisingly crowded theater, and we arrived exactly when the movie was supposed to start.
Anyway, after circling the theater, I was appalled that there were actually no double seats free, only singles left. I was starting to wonder if we'd have to leave and get a refund, but then I saw a group of four women together, with a single seat on their right, and a single seat on their left.
"Excuse me," I said, and I pointed to the two seats. "Are these seats free?"
"Yes," one of the women said. "Do you want them?"
"Well," I said, "I was wondering if you might be willing to scooch over so that I could sit with my daughter? She's only six."
The woman glared at me like I just asked her for her firstborn. "Well, we could. But it's a hassle."
I didn't know what to say. I mean, did she really expect a six-year-old to sit alone through a two hour movie? "I just want to sit with my daughter," I finally said.
She didn't answer right away, so I just stood there. Then she snapped at me, "Okay! I said, just a minute!"
(She had not said that.)
Instead of scooching, they got one woman at the end of the row to move three seats over. And I was allowed to sit with my child during the movie.
I mean, was it SO wrong of me to ask that? I know it's a huge hassle to have to move one seat to your left, but seriously, we're living in a society here. I don't think it's too much to ask.
hah! I think it is time American theatre start assigning seat nos. like my country does at the least for the movies which run houseful.ReplyDelete
Honestly, how do people not know to move so other people can sit down? Folks at my church do this every week. They take up a bunch of seats at the end of the row, rather than moving to the middle, then everyone else has to scoot past.ReplyDelete
It would have ruined my movie experience. I bet it was not easy for you to enjoy the movie afterwards.ReplyDelete
Partially. Although mostly because I was worried that she'd start randomly screaming at me when the movie was over.Delete
we're living in a society!ReplyDelete
maybe something else going on with that person and it really had nothing to do with you but was just an outlet unfortunately. Certain days I probably could have reacted like that women unfortunately, but then again I don't think so. You did have a young child with you and I am not heartless.ReplyDelete
I would have moved for you and been pleasant, but I'll admit that I would have been annoyed. I'm one of those types who feels the need to be early to everything. I hate being late. If someone is late and then I have to accommodate them it's an aggravation. I showed up early so that I wouldn't have to be bothered with something like this, and yet this person couldn't put forth the effort to get in early, too? And for something like going to the movies with a child, it seems as if you would have an extra incentive to get there early to ensure that you had your pick of the seats. I mean, what if the only seats were at the very front, and your daughter had to crane her neck up at the screen the whole time?ReplyDelete
Those are the knee-jerk thoughts that would go through my mind. I recognize two things, though:
1) Sometimes, despite our intentions and best planning, life happens. There's unexpected traffic, some sort of delay, some sort of problem, and it's out of your control. Some people who are chronically late are deserving of criticism, but those sorts of snap judgments shouldn't be made for people you're meeting for the first time.
2) You can tell I'm not yet a parent. Showing up half an hour early and waiting calmly, amusing yourself with other things and/or work, is fine for adults. What parent wants to be put in a situation where their child is forced to idle for more than a few minutes? "Just in time" is golden perfection for that case, I'd imagine.
I recognize those two points and because of them I don't think I've ever been snooty to anyone who was late. Either way, the purpose of this comment was just to share the darker thoughts that go through the minds of people who obsessively try to be early to things, many of whom probably do not consider those two points.
You hit the nail on the head: a kindergartener is not capable of sitting in a theater 30 minutes or even 20 minutes, waiting for a movie to start. If I know it's going to be an empty theater, I'll generally skip the previews too because it increases the chances she'll be able to sit through the whole movie.Delete
There is a flaw in your logic though: if a movie sells out, even if everyone arrives early, there are going to be people who arrive earlier than others and the situation will still arise. I was on time for the movie, so it's not like I made her move while the film was playing. What makes *more* sense is for those people who arrive early to sit in such a way that there aren't scattered seats. Instead of leaving one seat on your left and one on your right, sit in such a way that there are still two together! Seems like the unselfish thing to do and decreases your chances of being bothered.
She was a bitch for sure!Delete
I'd have moved and said hello to the kid, may be I'd have said lovingly that next time if she wants the "best spot ever" she could come a little early... All in good humor.
And right, the people who arrive early should at least try to seat themselves with some logic.
I see this even in the parking lots - all cars will try to save themselves a throne of a spot, leaving 1-2-3 spots in between, and many times, will be parked "Royally" leaving unusable spots between.
"all cars will try to save themselves a throne of a spot, leaving 1-2-3 spots in between"Delete
YES. I hate that.
The situation will arise no matter what. Even if everyone shows up two hours early, people will still be filing in and choosing seats in some sort of time-based order. It's unavoidable. The point is that if you have a specific requirement, you need to be one step ahead of everyone else. That is, if everyone else is showing up two hours early, you'd better be there two hours and ten minutes early. Luckily (maybe), most of society is running just-on-time or late, so arriving earlier than everyone else doesn't require tons of time. If you show up later than most other people then you are at their mercy, because you are inconveniencing them by asking a favor.Delete
I don't fault you in this situation because as mentioned before, you had a young child with you and that creates a special circumstance. The woman in your post... well, to say that she didn't handle the situation well would be an understatement. She certainly came off as being unnecessarily rude, and all over something that probably wasn't a huge deal (I say "probably" because I don't know if she had some movement disorder or other such impairment that would make moving a big issue for her). Yet ultimately she was there first. These comments calling her a 'selfish bitch' and so on grate on me. Again, I'm speaking as someone who makes that effort to get there early, who hates to ask favors or bother others, and who usually ends up having to accommodate people who - for what ever reason - are just-on-time or late. Who's selfish in a scenario like that - me, who put forth the energy to arrive early, or the people who show up late and then expect me to accommodate them as if it's no big deal? (I'm talking beyond the movie theater here - shifting over by one seat isn't a huge deal, assuming no physical impairments, the movie hasn't started, and you haven't settled down with a ton of stuff.)
ireflect: My guess is that a joking comment about showing up early would have come off as being passive-aggressive to most people. I'm also unsure what you mean when you say that people who arrive early should sea themselves with "some logic." If I show up early to a theater, I sit where I'll get the best view and where I'm most comfortable. It doesn't matter if I'm alone, with my wife, or with friends - that's probably going to be somewhere in the middle of the middle. Is that not my right as someone who shows up early? We all paid the same ticket price. Why should I put myself off in some corner just in case some large group comes in later and wants to sit together? What prevents them from showing up as early - or earlier! - than me? Asking me to move over one or two seats isn't a big deal, but telling me to sit somewhere to accommodate people who come in later? I don't think I'd be selfish to disagree with that notion; rather, I think it seems inappropriately entitled to think that I should have to do that. (I agree with your parking lot scenario, though. People who take up more than one parking space or seat just because isn't right.)
Ledgem: Does just wanting two seats together anywhere in a huge theater count as a "specific requirement" though? I would think that's about the least specific requirement any person could ask for, aside from just a single person going alone to the movies, which is rare.Delete
I think when ireflect mentioned "seating with some logic," they just meant that you shouldn't leave that luxury seat between you and your neighbor. Or better yet, giving your coat its own seat. If you are with a friend and you come across four seats in a row in a crowded theater, for example, it seems to be the polite thing to do to sit in the leftmost or rightmost seats... but a lot of people will sit in the middle two seats, making the other two seats essentially "unusable" and risk someone having to ask you to move. Is that really so unreasonable?
I do agree that a comment like saying to come early next time would have been pretty obnoxious.
Re: seating with logic.Delete
If there are a total of 6 people in the theater it would be kind of awkward to sit right next to a stranger and not leave a luxury seat. I don't go to movies that often but I have no idea if it will be crowded. The only time I know it will be crowded is if it's opening weekend, and I haven't gone to an opening weekend show in a long time.
And that's why they assign seats everywhere else in the world!ReplyDelete
What a bitch! Seriously hate people like that! Its one thing to be a little annoyed but outright rude to someone, in front of their daughter, when you're going to be sitting next to them for at least 2 hours is stupid.ReplyDelete
Ugh hate entitled,righteous women like that!
Sorry, this just got my blood boiling.
you could have sat on either side of them and then asked them repeatedly to pass the popcorn and soda back and forth between you and your daughter!ReplyDelete
Forget passing popcorn and soda. She would have been hysterically crying if she had to sit by herself.Delete
I love this!!!Delete
NExt time, I am gonna tell my six year old, sweetie, let go play a game at the movies - its about passing the popcorn.....
I have to sit on an aisle on the rare occasion I go to the movies, for medical reasons. However, if it comes up, I politely explain this, there was no need for her to be a cow about it.ReplyDelete
I'm claustrophobic so I prefer to sit on the aisle. When ordering concert tickets or something with assigned seating, this is easy enough, but even then I try to put my coat on the seat and leave it empty until the last minute so people can get to their seats without having to squeeze by.ReplyDelete
Related rant: I was at the Metropolitan Opera in a section with a steep incline, and was leaning forward to better see the stage. After the opera was over, the person behind me tapped me on the shoulder and said "just so you know, every time you lean forward, you block the view of the person behind you." What was the purpose of that, other than being an asshole? If he'd told me at either of the two intermissions, I would have apologized and sat back for the rest of the evening. But at the end, when I can't do anything retroactively, what's the point other than making me feel either guilty or like this guy's just being a dick?
I would have helped anyone with a child, although I do get annoyed on long flights when people want you to take their middle seat for your aisle seat because they weren't able to get their tickets earlier.ReplyDelete
Recently I went with my husband to a theater near us that assigns tickets and I picked tickets in the middle of the aisle. When we showed up, two couples in their 50s were occupying our seats and acted like it should be no big deal for us to sit on the end. They would have only been split 2 and 2, and while it was petty for me to be annoyed, I was since I had specifically chosen those seats. Not everyone follows the rules even when you have an assigned ticket.
I was happy to take either the seats on their left or their right, I didn't care. I just wanted to sit with my child!Delete
"I would have helped anyone with a child, although I do get annoyed on long flights when people want you to take their middle seat for your aisle seat because they weren't able to get their tickets earlier."Delete
How about this scenario: I was once in a middle seat on a plane with my 6 month old child because I was on my way to my 22 year old brother's funeral, all the way from Maryland to California. The person sitting on my left didn't speak English, but was kind and gracious. The person sitting on the asile seat was a nasty jerk and made sure I knew he was unhappy to be sitting by me and my baby. Was I sitting next to you, Anon @ 10:11? Should I have explained the reasons for my poor planning? I'm sorry you have to live in a world where people inconvenience your comfort on planes or in theaters. Must be rough for you.
You are 100% right. She is 100% wrong. There are no two ways about it. She's just really lazy and extremely inconsiderate. Some people just suck at life...ReplyDelete
How early/late were you? Since now you know that this happens and you can't expect the best out of any random, go to the movies as early as you can, especially the big blockbuster ones like Oz. Problem solved.ReplyDelete
Also, she's still a bitch.
I think I was a few minutes early.Delete
To be honest, I don't pay much attention to what movies are coming out when and I don't watch commercials, so I had no clue Oz was this big blockbuster that had just opened. I probably would have waited a few weeks to go if I knew.
Ohhhh, yeah waiting a few weeks to go so that the theaters aren't packed is DEFINITELY the way to go. Smart.Delete
The movie theater lady was not a bitch. Sure, she definitely could have handled the situation better. If I were her, I would have been annoyed, too (as being someone who can definitely relate to Ledgem's post), but I would have been gracious about it knowing that a child was involved and that's just life sometimes.ReplyDelete
That said, if you were in a sold out theater and there were single empty seats to your left and right, don't you think the polite thing to do is the shift over to make those seats available to a couple? I can understand not wanting to sit next to a stranger in an empty theater, but it's selfish to expect that in a full theater.Delete
If the four women were together, I'm surprised her friends didn't say anything to her and tell her to move. (Or, alternatively, they could all be horrible people and gang up on you).ReplyDelete
To echo anonymous above, we're living in a society all right! A society of selfish people!
That is just... asinine. What is *WRONG* with people? It's semi-analogous, but I went to see "The Call" yesterday on an impulse in afternoon since I didn't have anything else to do. Toward the end of the previews, two late teen-ish couples came in, chose my row in a nearly empty theatre and sat down directly to my left. Then for some reason they decided this wasn't an adequate place to sit, so they walked in front of me to sit closer to the centre off to my left. I thought, okay, that was kind of annoying, and just my luck since I hadn't been to a movie by myself in a year.ReplyDelete
Then about an hour into the movie evidently they decided they had better things to do and got up to leave (I really don't know why - it wasn't a great movie, but it was entertaining for what it was, and not something I'd ever have thought to walk out of. Though the ending was pretty disappointing, not that they saw it.). However, instead of walking left to the far stairs heading out, they chose to walk back in front of me, stepping over me and tripping over my bag in the dark. They weren't offensively rude about it, at least, as in your story, but the general thoughtlessness was stunning.
So you get there late and want everyone else to move and they are at fault? I go extra early to the very few movies I can afford just so I can sit where I want. Then you come along bothering me. You don't buy me popcorn, you probably have a cell phone ringing the whole time and gotta go to the bathroom three times at the very best part. OK I will move, but I'm not going to like it. Just because you save lives everyday you think that makes you special. You are.ReplyDelete
Do you mean, "you aren't"? :)Delete
Next time I'll buy you popcorn.
That might have just been a. Ack-handed compliment Fizzy. ;DDelete
a back-handed compliment*
You could have added a please in there somewhere. It might have given you better results. I mean, we are all living in society right. Have so manners, ESPECIALLY if your little girl is watching and learning!ReplyDelete
I was actually incredibly polite to the point where even after they were so rude to me, I thanked them several times for moving.Delete
In the theater here, if it's full the ushers will start yelling for people to move as far to the ends of the rows as they can so everybody can get in, no single seats between groups, etc... So, if it's a packed house, you may not get to stay in the seats you originally chose... Personally, I like the aisle seats, so I usually don't have to move...ReplyDelete
Yes, they ought to have ushers for full theaters if people are going to act that way.Delete
Well if you wanted to sit with your daughter I think you should have turned up earlier.ReplyDelete
To everyone who thinks Fizzy should have shown up earlier -- it was a FULL THEATER. People are going to want to sit together, and I'm sure Fizzy wasn't the only person asking. The woman could have said no, but instead she acted like a bitch. God forbid we ask each other for favors.ReplyDelete
I think people who are suggesting this also don't have any experience taking a small child to a theater. It's hard to get her to even sit through previews, much less showing up two hours early, like one person suggested. The earlier we show up, the greater the chance we won't make it through the whole movie.Delete
I see some wrong on both sides. You weren't aware it is the most popular movie and likely to be full. You had a child and needed a (minor) accomidation. You asked people who had gotten there first, picked their seats, and settled in to move. On the other hand, they should also have noticed how full the theater was and been prepared to move if asked. I'm a bit claustrophobic. I just do NOT sit anywhere but the end of a row. So I get there early enough to make sure I get what I need. I would not have moved seats. I would have let you go past me to the middle seats beyond, but picking up my stuff and getting out of the way of a last minute arrival would be a minor nuisance. Price I pay for wanting the end seat though so I deal.ReplyDelete
Frankly, even if they weren't going to move for me, they should have noticed that people were being forced to sit in the very first row. I'd feel terribly guilty if I didn't scooch over a single seat and because of it, someone had to sit in a really uncomfortable place in the theater through a 2 hour movie.Delete
I guess we could put blame on people who show up late, but as we all know, everyone doesn't necessarily have the luxury in their lives to show up early to everything. My life is all about rushing everywhere.
As is mine. But that isn't other people's problem. I do wonder if there was also a "don't encourage the child to sit by us" factor as well. My 7 year old saw it and did fine, but it is a PG movie.Delete
We're living in a society that is selfish and lacks empathy, unfortunately. You arrived prior to the movie starting, I don't consider that late.ReplyDelete
The woman was rude. No question about it. If it was considered a "hassle" simply to move over, I wonder how she handles real problems in her life.
Wow...I can't believe this is actually a debate. You weren't asking the woman to give up a coveted prime spot for a shitty spot (i.e. aisle seat for middle seat on a plane), you were simply asking SOMEONE in the group to move down one seat IN ANY DIRECTION so that you two could sit together. I don't even agree with all the "well...since there was a child involved..." nonsense. I would do it for a couple, two friends, whatever configuration of two people came to a movie together. As long as it was before the movie started, and the seat was no better/worse, what is the big deal? Ugh. People.ReplyDelete
No kidding. It seems like the absolute tiniest act of human kindness, to shift over about one foot to help another human being. And still, some people protest.Delete
If there had been an usher there, there wouldn't have even been a discussion. She would have been definitely forced to move.
A lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine.ReplyDelete
So.... using that phrase gives you a license to forego basic human decency?Delete
Implementing basic manners and politeness does not constitute an emergency. I like this phrase when applied appropriately.Delete
OMG! Anonymous is the bitch from the theater!Delete
So you have to be 30 minutes early to the movies, but working part time is selfish? Not everyone has so much free time that they want to waste it by sitting in a theater for half an hour with nothing playing. That is just silly!ReplyDelete
Or do you all think that doctors should sign some kind of 'I will never go to the movies' pledge before starting med school?
If you like to waste your time by showing up early, fine, but that is your problem!
Welcome to our entitled, me-me-me society. When my son was barely 2, Delta, in its infinite wisdom, scattered the four of us a widely separated on a plane as possible. NO one would trade to let me or my wife sit with our little son. Finally, a German national who had a cuckoo clock sitting on a seat for which he hadn't paid took pity and moved the clock. This is AFTER I almost was thrown off the plane for insisting that the gate agent help me.ReplyDelete
One could say that you, Fizzy, and I, were the selfish ones in these scenarios, wanting others to accomodate us, but in years past, this would have been a no-brainer for people with class and empathy. People today have neither one. I wish I could understand what happened to us
That totally blows me away. Honestly, even if I were being selfish, I would NOT want an unsupervised 2-year-old sitting next to me on a plane! Just as those ladies didn't really want my frightened child sitting all alone next to them, sobbing.Delete