Am I an entitled prick? Were they entitled pricks? Were we all entitled pricks? I cannot decide. Help me, GT.
My boyfriend and I went to a very popular, very sold out film screening Saturday night. We got into the theater with fifteen minutes to spare to find many of the seats taken, which didn't surprise us, and began to scan the aisles for two adjacent seats. Boyfriend found two near the dead middle of the theater. Here's the setup: There are six empty seats, then the rest of the row is full. The first three empty seats have personal items in them: jackets and the like. Then there are two totally empty seats. The sixth seat has a purse in it. There is a man in the seat beside it, and on beyond him the rest of the seats are full (so I assume the purse belongs to someone who is going to join him soon). My boyfriend and I take the two totally empty seats and the theater continues to fill up. We're ready to enjoy the show.
Several minutes later, a woman our age steps into the row and says, very condescendingly:
"I'm sorry, but those seats are taken. I have six people sitting here."
Us: "Oh? Well these seats didn't have anything in them."
Her: "Really? Well we had things in all of them."
Boyfriend: "There was nothing in them, and now there are no open spots for us to move to together."
Her: "Oh really? Really? Because let me see: there are two, there are two, there are two...." She starts pointing willy-nilly at empty seats—which either have jackets in them or are front rows-extreme side (the really really shitty seats).
Me: (Wanting to diffuse the situation with some sort of compromise) "We can move down one so that you'll still have four seats. Is this your purse on the other side of us?"
At this point, the older guy right behind us says, "Are you really going to be pricks about it? I saw all of them here like twenty minutes ago."
I am speechless at that and my boyfriend just has no idea what to say, just robotically insists that the seats were empty, and the woman is like, "Fine, fine, alright, hand me my purse then. No, it's fine," still very condescendingly, and the guy behind us says, "Oh, you're going to be pricks then? Alright, be pricks."
I just want to flee the situation then. I felt nervous and shamed and really didn't want to spend the next 90 minutes near that woman or the man behind us. I grabbed my boyfriend's arm and whispered that I wanted to move and we got up. We ended up finding seats dead center in the back, and they were great (the theater is really steep so visibility was fine). But we were both really shaky about it after and didn't know what to think.
Caveats: I would have happily gotten up and moved right away, rightful claim or no, if any of the following were the case:
- if they'd left personal belongings in every seat (still kind of a dick move at a sold out show, imo, but I'd have certainly respected it). Never even woulda sat there.
- if they'd left even one friend to say, "these seats are for my friends." Cool!
- if the show wasn't sold out and the theater already mostly full (except for really bad seats that I wasn't about to sit in just because some stranger happened to be an entitled and irresponsible back of dicks) .
Am I crazy? I know it's pretty much anything goes in half-full theaters, but at a sold out packed screening, isn't it kind of your responsibility to claim a seat and stay there if you want a good one—or at least always leave one friend behind? Not just throw a jacket in it and then go out to the lobby for twenty minutes? I mean, even though that's not cool, I'd still allow that those are your seats. But to throw jackets in some of the seats you want and then claim that entire area to be yours? Isn't that a thing that you just don't do? Unless you're kind of a taint?
Validate me, GT! Or call me a prick. I probably am. :D I will still love you either way, my faithful dosh khaleen. Take it away, Shoshanna!
Update: Thanks, everyone! It was a Seattle film fest of a very sex-positive nature, so I find myself hoping maybe she reads GT and see this. If you are her: Aside from being a prick, your outfit was terrible, and the guys you were with all had really bad ironic haircuts. Be better at being a person next time!