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Feb 23, 2012 09:52 AM

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 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'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.