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Would you move?

I'm trying hard to be more "mindful" when I eat lunch, instead of just grabbing a sandwich or bringing my lunch and just working through lunch and cramming the food in as I work. So when I go out to lunch these days, I try to sit and enjoy my lunch quietly and take my time.

I was at a busy lunch place today. This is the type of place that has dozens of community tables, like a big cafeteria, and you get your lunch from any of a dozen or so "stations" that serve different types of food. There are a few booths along one wall, but all the rest is community seating. Although it's very busy, there are always plenty of seats as people come and go fairly quickly, and today was no exception.

I got my lunch, was eating it and reading a story on my phone. I was sitting towards the end of a long lunch table, 2nd seat from the end on one side. I was about 2/3 of the way through my meal when a group of 4 young men came to where I was sitting with their trays, and the one guy says to me, "Are you waiting for someone?" and I said no and he said, "Would you mind moving down a couple of seats? We have 4 people and want to sit here," gesturing and indicating the end of the table.

There were 4 seats all together towards the middle of the table (2 on each side), and plenty of room for the same setup at several other tables I quickly glanced up and saw . I was super annoyed. Because I am a lone diner, my lunch doesn't count and I should pick up and move to accommodate these guys? I was just pissed and I got up and took my tray and dumped it in the garbage and left. I gave the guy a nasty look as I was leaving the garbage area and he looked at me like I was crazy.

I would not have felt comfortable just looking up at all 4 of them standing there staring at me and saying, "No, I wouldn't," and calmly going back to eating my lunch. I guess I was just more annoyed than that, or I'm not Miss Manners enough to pull it off.

Am I just a crazy old, get off my lawn lady? Would you have just politely moved because you are one diner and oh, they have four and who cares if you're still eating? Maybe I'm just not a nice person.

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  1. I would have moved and had no qualms about it. I do it at bars and counter seating quite often.

    If I can make someone's world a better place moving down a seat or two so they can sit with their dining companions, it's a small gesture.

    11 Replies
    1. re: Janet from Richmond

      Yeah, I'm getting the feeling you're just a nicer person than me :) Probably the same for most other people too. I don't exist to make other people's lives easier, I feel I have a right to occupy the space I'm in.

      Now, that being said, if I were just casually drinking at a bar, I would have moved. But someone in the middle of their meal and reading, it just bothered me.

      1. re: rockandroller1

        Nah, that's not it....I've just learned that being part of the solution is something that works for me as a general rule.

        You gave him the power to ruin your lunch...that seems crazy to me.

        Think about the difference between getting pissed and dumping your tray and giving the guy a dirty look and simply saying "Oh sure." then scooting down a seat, sliding your tray over and finishing your meal.

        Which has the better pay off?

        1. re: Janet from Richmond

          I'm with you Janet. We spend a lot of time making ourselves miserable.

          1. re: escondido123

            "We spend a lot of time making ourselves miserable."

            Simply and beautifully put, econdido.

            "I was just pissed and I got up and took my tray and dumped it in the garbage and left. I gave the guy a nasty look"


          2. re: Janet from Richmond

            Well, I was 2/3 done as I mentioned, the rest of it was probably calories I don't need. But I see your point. I'd rather not have stuck around there and fumed and continued to eat, that would have made me even more upset than just leaving.

            1. re: rockandroller1

              You could have stuck around and not fumed (not being snarky).

              I'm a big believe in "Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?" I like being happy. Some people (not referring to you) like being in Rightsville.

              1. re: Janet from Richmond

                I almost post that be right or be happy comment the first time around. I try very hard to keep that thought in my head all the time because it certainly makes life easier.

                1. re: Janet from Richmond

                  Janet, that is one of my favorite sayings/philosphies: Do you want to be right or happy? I want to be happy! Once I started to embrace that idea and quit fuming over being right, life got much better.

                    1. re: hyacinthgirl

                      "But I wanna be right AND happy!!!!!"

                      And what if being right makes one happy?

              2. re: rockandroller1

                Well..the guy did ask you..you had the right to say yes or no. Getting pissed seems a bit extreme to me. Maybe they had a preference for that spot..? Either way..you're reaction seems a bit odd..especially since you stated that you don't exist to make other people's live easier. If you really feel that way..then why would you have qualms about saying no? Doesn't make a lot of sense to me.
                FYI..I probably would have just moved over a couple of seats and gone on with my lunch. Life is too short.

            2. > I was just pissed and I got up and took my tray and dumped it in the garbage and left.

              Cut off your nose to spite your face much?

              You could have moved graciously or said no graciously, pointing out the other seats available. Either would have been fine and saved you your lunch.

              9 Replies
              1. re: travelmad478

                I see your point. I would just never ask someone to move like that when there are other places available to sit. Even if there weren't places to sit, I would never assume that where I want to sit is more important than where someone else sits, and have them move to accommodate what I want. I just have never, ever done that and never would. I would stand and wait for a place or split my group of 4 into 2s before asking someone to move. I just think it's rude.

                1. re: rockandroller1

                  It WAS rude. Maybe a better way (and one where YOU'd have the "last laugh") would have been to say, "No, I wouldn't mind at all. Just as soon as I 've finished my lunch."

                    1. re: ChefJune

                      @ ChefJune-I like your response best and similar to what I would have said. It's not only neutral but politely points out they are disturbing your lunch (which was the point you was trying to make anyway). Another poster suggested declining to move and pointing out other seating options...that's something else I'd do if I was feeling particularly fiesty or otherwise having an off day. OP's approach was a bit too passive aggressive for my taste. Not to mention put her in a bad mood and wasting some lunch. Too much energy wasted :(

                    2. re: rockandroller1

                      He did ask if you were waiting for someone, so it doesn't sound too rude to me.
                      But, it pisses me off if someone asks me to give up my window seat on a plane so they can sit with their friend and gets all huffy when I refuse, which I always do unless I am getting another window seat, which is never. So we all have our personal boundaries.

                      1. re: Samalicious

                        Hmm, this brings up a thought, though.

                        It could be construed from the question "Are you waiting for someone?" that the only reason a single diner could possibly have for not sitting on the very end is if she were awaiting a dining partner. This is a highly unpleasant thing to have suggested.

                        1. re: Harmy

                          I sorta thought the same thing, there is that implication.

                          1. re: Harmy

                            The flipside to that observation is that the person was kind enough to ask instead of just saying, "since you are alone, do you mind moving." It's all about how you see things: glass half empty, half full scenario. Why do we always expect the worst from one another?

                        2. re: rockandroller1

                          OK, you wouldn't ask, but they did, and from your own description it does not sound like they asked in a rude way. You certainly had the opportunity to say no, and to be civil about it. Instead you ended up being the rude one, giving people dirty looks for no good reason, and in the process put yourself and the other party in a bad mood. Really, who came out on top in this episode? Not you, certainly.

                          In the airplane seat case that Samalicious mentions, I too will always decline to move out of my chosen (aisle) seat unless I am getting a better aisle seat. But I don't feel the need to get snippy about it--I just say "no, I chose this seat ahead of time because I need to sit in an aisle seat." And then I stop talking. No dirty looks necessary.

                      2. I would not have moved. Had there been no reasonable combinations of seats for 4 I would move gladly. But just so they could have the exact seats they wanted, which I have and also want, no way. I think it was quite unreasonable of him to ask.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: CanadaGirl

                          I would have moved if there weren't other places I could easily see for them to sit, and many of them.

                          1. re: rockandroller1

                            I suggest that whatever drew you to that location also drew them. And while I am a great reader of diverse material, I learned the hard way that to engage in conversation with likeminded strangers is a much better payoff.

                        2. I would not have moved. I would have said something along the lines of, "I won't be here long, but I want to finish my lunch. There are places down there, tho...." I would have pointed to a couple of places that would have accomodated them, and gone back to my reading.

                          It would have been different had you not started eating yet, or if there were no other places for them to go. For them to ask you to move was presumptuous.

                          Of course, you could have had a little fun with it, too. On your way out, you could have whispered in the ear of the man who took your seat, "I really hope that seat's not wet...when you guys approached me, it startled me a little, and I now realize I leaked out a little pee....", then leave him to wonder.

                          1 Reply
                          1. I would have moved.

                            You didn't want to move. You should have said so.

                            You threw your lunch away and gave the guy "a nasty look" (I assume to make him feel bad). Silly move. He didn't care and you went hungry.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: ttoommyy

                              Well, I was 2/3 done, I did not go hungry. Given the portions, I had eaten plenty of food. But yes, I guess I should have just said no, I don't care to move.

                            2. To be quite honest if he said excuse me, smiled and asked politely I would have said sure. Bonus if he was cute or nervous. If he didn't, or if my first impression is "wow this guy is a douche" I would have just stared at him w/out responding.

                              1. I would have moved and would not have been offended at all by the request...now if they had asked me to get up so that i actually had to go hunt for another place to sit that may or may not exist, i would not be so obliging about that. But as long as i had another spot i could quickly and easily move to, i would not have a problem.

                                1. I would have either moved and chalked it up as a good deed for the day, or pointed out the other seats that were available.

                                  One of my pet peeves is when people leave only one space between them and the next group at a communal seating table, so when you show up with two people, there are three empty seats, but not together. People love ignoring you standing there rather than just moving down and filling in the empty spots so another couple can sit down. That's what I was thinking about when I read that you were in the 2nd seat from the end...but since there were 4 seats together elsewhere, it sounds like that wasn't the case.

                                  Since there were other seats for them to sit in, but they wanted the end seats which means you had to move, that is super annoying. But what if there was a reason for that, though? For example, I have a shoulder injury and would rather not have anyone on my left side, if the seats are close together. If you had pointed out the other available spots maybe they would have shared a reason they wanted these spots, or they would have just taken the available middle seats. Dunno. I don't understand the passive aggressive response of throwing your lunch away and giving the guy a nasty look, though...I doubt he gave it a second thought, and you were clearly unhappy about the exchange so it didn't solve anything.

                                  1. Make it hard or make it easy, your choice.
                                    Next time, instead of throwing a fit, (throwing away food, giving dirty looks), just look up at them like you don't understand what they are saying and babble incoherently, then go back to your reading.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: wyogal

                                      "like you don't understand what they are saying and babble incoherently"

                                      and use lots of dramatic hand gestures. (heh)

                                      1. re: hill food

                                        It's possible a bit of drool escaping would have truly sent them seeking other seats in the room. Perhaps that is the way to handle it, should this issue arise again.

                                        After their departure, a napkin wipe, and you are at peace with your book and meal again. Nuf' said.

                                    2. I wouldn't have dumped my lunch! I might have been annoyed, but I prob. would have moved. Life's too short to be upset by something like this. Not to pass judgement, but dumping 1/3 of your lunch makes you look bad, IMO. Just chalk this up to a bad day. Tomorrow will be better.

                                      1. I wouldn't move as in selling my house, but I accomodate minor intrusions of my space on our crowded planet.

                                        1. Yes, i'd move and never give it a second thought

                                          1. I don't understand why you didn't move to the *end* of the table (one seat down), rather than pitch a hissy fit.

                                            "I'm sorry, I don't want to sit in the middle of the table, but I'm happy to move to the end so your group can sit together". Then slide down, keep reading, and let it go. Or move to the country/eat at home.

                                            1. On the road I eat solo quite a lot and while not often, I have been asked to move to accommodate a group of diners, in most cases I move with perhaps a smile or nod but it depends on available seating and the manner in which I'm asked.
                                              On two occasions I simply looked at the person,looked at all the available seats and went back to my meal. There was some muttering of how rude and such but at this time in my life I'm all about pleasing myself and as it turned out on one occasion my waitress wrote a "good for you" on my check.

                                              1. I hope this doesn't shock anyone:

                                                Sometimes I offer to move for people even if they don't ask.

                                                Works for me.

                                                6 Replies
                                                1. re: Steve

                                                  I do also Steve. If moving a seat can make someone's world a better place, what's the harm?

                                                  1. re: Steve

                                                    I frequently offer also, if I see people looking for seats together. You'd be amazed at the number of people who have bought, or offered to buy, me a drink just for that small gesture. Everybody wins.
                                                    So I'm rather astounded at the ire in response to the request.

                                                    1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                      I had a real nice time at a restaurant the other night after I offered to move for a young couple. They asked me about the book I was reading (When Nietzsche Wept), and we got into a conversation about schools - they are public school teachers, and I have schoolkids. It was a rewarding experience and a way to connect.

                                                      1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                        I don't understand why many people seem to find it reasonable that the OP was asked to nice when there were other seats in a grouping of 4 that would have served this group perfectly well. The only scenario I can see that would make what the OP was requested to do fine would be if someone was, say, in a wheelchair and the only way the group could stay together would be at the end. Otherwise, I'm truly perplexed that asking someone to interrupt their meal purely so I have my preference seems okay.

                                                        1. re: travelmad478

                                                          I agree the OP over reacted, but I think we are getting different readings on people's opinions about the reasonableness of the original request :)

                                                      2. re: Steve

                                                        I'm with you, Steve. I find it difficult to believe this would be such an issue for someone. I think of all the times people have gone out of their way to help me (just today as I was struggling with some shopping a stranger stopped to help me - I was most grateful) and I consider it a way of being able to repay my gratitude by doing a small deed for another person.

                                                      3. Seems like there is a contingent of people here who like confrontation and see moving as being a sign of weakness. Either move or don't move. Saying snarky things to the guy who it seems was polite enough in asking the OP to move is just asking for confrontation.

                                                        14 Replies
                                                        1. re: ttoommyy

                                                          I agree, in this situation. Especially the fit thrown at the end.

                                                          1. re: ttoommyy

                                                            Well it was rude and weird for the four guys to ask her to move. Why did they need those exact seats? It can be uncomfortable/intimidating to be sitted with four young men hovering over you. So I get that "yes I do mind" isn't that easy to say. I don't think that the OP overreacted, just took her frustration out in the wrong way. If it was the only group of four seats avaliable I doubt that the OP would reacted the same way. But your right, a polite "yes" or "no" is more productive than a snarky remark.

                                                            Movie theatres and air planes are different because there are advantages and disadvantages when it comes to seating. Unless the theatre is packed there is rarely a good reason to move seats for someone. If they wanted to sit together/in a certain row they should have planned their arrival accordingly. Same with airplanes. If they want a certain seat the should have picked a seat earlier or accept that they can't alway sit with their companion.

                                                            1. re: viperlush

                                                              It occurs to me that at least one of them may have been lefthanded. My son is lefthanded and when we are out with with a group, he always prefers to sit on the end. Some people simple prefer the end seats for a variety of reasons.

                                                              1. re: BlueMagic

                                                                A preference isn't a necessity. Unless one of the party needed the seat (disability, electrical outlet, is Sheldon Cooper etc.), they shouldn't have made the OP feel uncomfortable and feel forced to move. There were other grouping of 4 seats available. I'm sure that your son is polite enough to ask nicely (which it seems like they didn't) or just adapt.

                                                                  1. re: viperlush

                                                                    +1 Viperlush. I don't think the OP handled it particularly well, but geez, the request itself is what really bugs me. It just seems another piece of evidence that an "I am the center of the universe" mentality is getting more widespread.

                                                                    OP, I think a simple, "I'm not quite finished yet, but as you can see there are many other seats available," would be fine. And the reason I would want to do that instead of move is that I wouldn't feel like reinforcing the group's behavior; I think moving would do just that, increase the likelihood that they repeat this type of request in future situations.

                                                                      1. re: viperlush

                                                                        "they shouldn't have made the OP feel uncomfortable and feel forced to move."

                                                                        Where in the OP's telling of the story do you intuit that is was their goal to make her feel "uncomfortable" and "forced to move?"

                                                                          1. re: kubasd

                                                                            They never said that. That is OP's interpretation.

                                                                                1. re: viperlush

                                                                                  +1 on the Big Bang theory reference!

                                                                    1. Lol. I will shake my palsied, liver-spotted fist with you at these hoodlums, r-n-r.

                                                                      Seriously, they needed the END of the table, and you should shuffle up to the middle? I like the end of the table too; can I just ask a group of 4 to move because I want it? Maybe THEY need to grow up and be considerate. First-come-first-serve seating means you fit yourself in; if there was approp space, they needed to sit elsewhere. I'm all about making room at bars/etc., we choose seating so that we can be comfortable and that we aren't "hogging" space but I expect same from others.

                                                                      I'm pretty pushy; I'd have directed them to another area, myself. "Actually, I'm okay right here, but there's seating for you over there and there and there."

                                                                      1. I would have pointed to all the available seats for a group of four. Then, if needed, I would tell the guy that no, I don't want to move. I wouldn't have thrown my food in the trash, though. My glaring at the guy would have occurred while pointing out his alternatives.

                                                                        1. I'd have moved. Simply not an issue for me.

                                                                          1. I would have politely pointed out the other available places for them to sit and then continued on with my reading.

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: Withnail42

                                                                              Which is a great response. Why others suggest snarky comments and other silliness is beyond me.

                                                                            2. Reminds me of the last flight I took on Southwest. My buddy and I got to the airport early and got good seats (aisle/window) which was important because middle seats and big guys isnt a good fit (no pun intended). Last people on the plane were a middle aged couple; faced with only a few scattered middle seats the husband asked my friend and I to move (to a middle seat) so they could sit together. "Not a chance" was the response from each of us.... which almost led to a fist fight because he couldnt imagine not sitting next to her for 3 hours. Too bad!! get there earlier next time!

                                                                              In response to the actual OP, if there were plenty of other seats available I would have told them I did mind and continue eating. On the other hand I am the type of person who would have moved if I had noticed there was no other place for them to sit together while there were plenty of spots for a solo diner. Common courtesy extends both ways

                                                                              10 Replies
                                                                              1. re: joe777cool

                                                                                It's fine if you don't want to move, but why respond in an inflammatory manner? Isn't just politely declining to move enough? If the person overreacts to that, well, then that's totally their problem.

                                                                                1. re: iluvtennis

                                                                                  Well there is more to the story and I didnt actualy say "not a chance' I was paraphrasing the conversation. The couple had an attitude to begin with and practically demanded us to move. Thats why we got there early, so we wouldnt be put in that situation or have to sit uncomfortably. Its first come first serve, and its not fair to expect us to move in that situation. I am the first (and often the only one) to give up my seat on a train/subway or in a restaurant for an elderly or handicapped person; as already stated I am always very aware of my surroundings and try to be sympathetic to others....even if it means I may be slightly inconvenienced. This was not the situation, however.

                                                                                  1. re: joe777cool

                                                                                    Your explanation makes more sense now. Thanks for clarifying.

                                                                                    1. re: ttoommyy

                                                                                      Yeah I can see where my poorly chosen words and omission of certain facts could have been misinterpreted. Im not sure if I would have moved even if they had asked nicely (probably not) but they didnt...

                                                                                2. re: joe777cool

                                                                                  Common courtesy extends both ways

                                                                                  I think your refusal to move is within your right, but why the response, "Not a chance?"

                                                                                  Women don't like to be wedged in between two "big guys" either, you know. You know, their legs up against yours, no room on the armrests, no way to lean either way, hence no way to doze.

                                                                                  If she is next to husband, there is a little more ability to get comfy. Surely you are exaggerating the likelihood of a fight; but, if your response was literally, "not a chance" you surely don't win a prize for courtesy.

                                                                                  1. re: sueatmo

                                                                                    Well put sueatmo. I was wondering why the need for the "not a chance" response as well.

                                                                                    1. re: sueatmo

                                                                                      If it was that important to them then they could have gotten to the airport 2 hours earlier. The last people on the plane in a "first come first serve" sitting situation dont have the right to be picky. If it were a mother and her 8 year old child I would have moved without hesitation.....a middle aged couple throwing a hissy fit? I feel no regret

                                                                                      1. re: joe777cool

                                                                                        The last time my husband and I flew, we were not seated together. Did we ask anyone to move? No, wouldn't dream of it. Besides, we were each able to get a window seat!

                                                                                    2. re: joe777cool

                                                                                      I'm sorry that woman didn't choose to sit between the two of you, given your rude response. I was on a very long flight to Australia and a couple got on who wanted to sit together. I gave up my aisle seat for them because I was young and they were older. I was treated like a queen by the staff, got free champagne and had one of the best flights ever. Kindness can actually be a good thing!

                                                                                    3. I have loved reading these responses! I will (and have) conceded that my response was inflammatory. For me, it's actually MORE comfortable to have done what I did than to sit there and tell them to sit somewhere else, to scoot down and glare, to have them stare at me or start an argument or whatever, than to do what I did. I was almost done with my lunch anyway but those who hit it on the head were the ones that said they just couldn't fathom why they would insist on unseating me just because they preferred my seat, when there were plenty other very visible places for a group their size. The way he addressed me and the way they crowded around, clearly expecting me to move, was because they were a very self-important group and that I as a lone diner do not count, so therefore I should accommodate them just because that's where they wanted to sit. It irked me. Honestly, I would have steamed about it all afternoon if I had let them unseat me and move me down because they were more important and should have their pick of seats. Doing what I did helped me to let it go and move on, physically as well as mentally (though I did want to come back here and post for other opinions).

                                                                                      I think some of it was just a "you had to be there" moment. They just seemed self-righteous to me, as if to say, they wanted to sit here, we are the kings, you are alone and don't count, and you should move.

                                                                                      7 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: rockandroller1

                                                                                        As I was reading this post, I immediately thought of the many years of cliques in a school cafeteria at lunchtime. From the "cool" tables, the "jocks", the "loner" tables, even the people who skip lunch entirely and go to the library to avoid the potential interaction altogether. I was not there to make an opinion if they were being bullies or attempting to be polite, but it sounds like you did the best you could in that situatiion and feel ok with it. And this thread has maybe given some suggestions for something else to try in the future. Thanks for putting yourself out there for the discussion.

                                                                                        1. re: rockandroller1

                                                                                          I understand that in the moment you felt intimidated, but as this was obviously in a public establishment, if you had said no- what is the worst that could have happened? You make it seem as if you only had two options- to do as you did or to move and then steam inwardly. However, you really had three options- you also could have said "No" while pointing to the obviously empty spaces elsewhere. It is entirely unnecessary that you let these people ruin your lunch. I learned this lesson the hard way- I used to be intimidated far too easily, which is why I do understand your actions. However, I realized as an adult that this was only because I cared way too much what other people thought of me. Once I realized that people (outside of those who truly care about you) are extremely fickle. In this instance, yes, the group who approached you may have been angry for the moment, but they most likely would have sat elsewhere and then have forgotten about it faster than you would imagine. For that reason, in the future, I hope that you stick to your guns and not overly react.

                                                                                          1. re: rockandroller1

                                                                                            But..once again..no one insisted. They simply asked. You could have said No. No one made you do anything. Asking and insisting are two completely different things.

                                                                                            1. re: rockandroller1

                                                                                              it seems to me gender was also a factor in this situation... all other things being equal; would these guys had made same request to a male in your situation. i suspect not!

                                                                                              1. re: betsydiver

                                                                                                Speaking as a male, I would've been more interested in job # 1 (stuffing my piehole), and therefore, if I looked up and saw four other dudes standing with trays in their hands, I would've wordlessly scooted over 12 whole inches without needing them to utter a request at all, and continued to focus on the more important task of filling up any remaining space in my gut.

                                                                                              2. re: rockandroller1

                                                                                                I think people get that your response was more in your comfort zone. They just don't
                                                                                                necessarily think that's a productive way to be in the world - for
                                                                                                your OWN happiness, long-term.
                                                                                                Also, if these guys were entitled jerks, your response taught them
                                                                                                nothing other than "there goes a crazy lady who let us ruin her lunch!"

                                                                                                1. re: rockandroller1

                                                                                                  "I think some of it was just a "you had to be there" moment. They just seemed self-righteous to me, as if to say, they wanted to sit here, we are the kings, you are alone and don't count, and you should move."

                                                                                                  I'm sorry, but from your telling of the story and the quote above, I think you brought a lot more psychic luggage to this occasion than it warranted. The fact that you're more comfortable feeling victimized and evicted from your lunch spot than you are simply and politely saying "no" and finishing it, or "sure" and smiling at them in either case makes you the self righteous one here.

                                                                                                  You refused to speak up for yourself, threw your lunch away and glowered to punish them?

                                                                                                  Life is just sweeter if you can say what you mean assertively and with a smile, whether your answer is yes or no. Either would be acceptable.

                                                                                                  I would have moved if it were not to an unfortunate spot. If I'd reacted the way you did, I'd have forgiven myself for having had a bad moment.

                                                                                                2. I would have moved, very far away, and let the group have the seats, and not looked back.

                                                                                                  Just me,


                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                    This more in line with what I would do. Although.... I have been told I have quite the death stare, even when no evil look is intended! I'd just say "Sure." Pick up my tray, move, and not look back, lest my basilisk-like stare wreak havoc.

                                                                                                    1. re: kubasd

                                                                                                      So long as there are no highly-reflective bowls, platters, shield, or mirrors, that "basilisk-like stare," should do the trick. I have been known to do similar, with the furrowed brow, the piercing eyes, and then, "the voice of God," and most run for cover.

                                                                                                      OTOH, I seldom refuse logical requests, and usually make offers, in advance, but have missed a few situations, where I would have, but was too involved in my dinner, my Kindle, or something else.


                                                                                                    2. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                      I'm just curious as to why if there were plenty of empty seats available.

                                                                                                    3. If you didn't move they were going to climbing over seats rather than sliding in....do you think that might have played a role in the request?

                                                                                                      1. Someone up-thread mentioned highschool lunchrooms and cliques. To me, it always felt awful to be sitting alone at a large communal school lunch table, and not have _anyone_ deign to sit within close proximity to me. It was rough knowing that the entire room bore silent witness that one was some sort of untouchable outcast undeserving of a shared dining experience... So in the case of the OP, I would have felt that hey, I am not an exile alone on my isolated island like Tom Hanks with a face-painted soccer ball - other humans actually are comfortable sitting elbow-to-elbow with me, I smell fine, and I don't have the cooties...

                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: silence9

                                                                                                          Silence9, your screen name says alot as to that you would post as you did....

                                                                                                          As an adult, and a fellow CH'er, if you were alone in the lunchroom, I would sit with you - IF you had good food in front of you:) That is how I would know you were 'one of my clique" - THE FOODIE TABLE!

                                                                                                          1. re: gingershelley

                                                                                                            You are a very perceptive individual, gingershelley. Thanks!

                                                                                                        2. I will not move. For anyone. I don't care if you have "'four people coming" I won't move. I get to the theater early so I can sit where I want to sit. Don't stroll in late, tell me you have ten friends who aren't here yet, and I should move. THIS IS NOT MY PROBLEM. I won't move in a fast foo joint, and I won't move on a plane or a train. I was here first. Coming afterward has nothing to do with me. They can all stand around holding their body parts, but I'm here. and intend to stay here. I would NEVER ask anyone to move to accomodate me and my friends.

                                                                                                          Please feel free to be a crazy old get-off-my-lawn lady. I am one, too. And oh, yeah, "these seats are saved" has no meaning for me. One seat yes, but a whole row? Go schmuck yourself.

                                                                                                          7 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: Duppie

                                                                                                              But would you change seats for her?

                                                                                                              1. re: silence9

                                                                                                                Probably not but she wouldn't expect me to......

                                                                                                              2. re: Duppie

                                                                                                                Thank you. And I would not ask you to change your seat.

                                                                                                                1. re: The 1st and only KSyrahSyrah

                                                                                                                  "these seats are saved has no meaning for me. One seat yes......."

                                                                                                                  Why one seat?

                                                                                                                  Are you getting soft on us?

                                                                                                                  1. Now is the time to brush up on your second or third language, as in "Non parla Inglese"...or "je ne parle pas L'anglaise" or better yet, your American Sign Language.
                                                                                                                    Strange to be asked to move, IMHO...

                                                                                                                    7 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: freia

                                                                                                                      They asked her to move "over," not move away.

                                                                                                                      1. re: escondido123

                                                                                                                        Just to translate, the response would be "I don't speak English", in Italian and French. Not "I'm not leaving". LOLOLOL
                                                                                                                        I was suggesting, rather tongue in cheek, that one can feign ignorance of the English language, thereby stopping any such requests from going further as the single diner would clearly not understand the request. And yes, they asked her to move ie. move from her seat. A move one or two down is still a move from an original seat, no? Which is a strange request given the original scenario waaay up at the top of the thread...
                                                                                                                        LOLOLOLOL you crack me up! :)

                                                                                                                        1. re: freia

                                                                                                                          and to employ a real language runs the risk of one of them being fluent in it.

                                                                                                                          1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                            LOL that's totally true...ASL is a good choice? Hmmm...I need to brush up on my SerboCroatian, or maybe Afrikaans? :)

                                                                                                                            1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                              Added to which, if you pretend to speak a language, at least learn the phrase correctly. "Io non parlo inglese" or "non parlo inglese." It doesn't take a fluent speaker to pick up on basics and blow your cover. ASL is a poor choice because anyone who knows sign language can tell what you're saying, from across the room, not just in hearing distance. I learned that quickly when I was w/ friends at deaf night at a bar and an inappropriate joke.

                                                                                                                              1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                YIKES can you imagine wrt ASL? (I would LOL but I'm afraid to) The scenario with respect to the spectre of being with friends at a deaf night at a bar...Gawd!

                                                                                                                                1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                  wow chowser I appreciate the grasp of what linguistics can entail. much more likely someone has a deaf relative than one who speaks a dialect known best to Gabon or Mindanao.

                                                                                                                                  in DC it was always cool seeing the kids from Gallaudet wandering the Hill signing into each others hands (I guess the equivalent of whispering, but also while watching one's step) in SF in the 80's there was a punk club that was popular with the students nearby because it was so thunka loud ANYONE could feel it in their bones.