My daughter has been dancing at the same dance studio for 10 years. Every year there is a big recital at our convention center’s auditorium. The owner does want to fill up the auditorium so she has a contest for the most tickets sold. It’s low key with just a small prize. Usually the winner is someone with a large family but with grandparents, siblings, etc. it can end up being quite a few people. What resulted from this is rather an interesting example of entitlement. Several of the “big” ticket sellers’ moms, feeling that they were entitled to good seats because of all the tickets their child sold decided to hold these seats in an unusual way. This is how I found out what they were doing.
I like to arrive early to events in order to get good seats. The first year my daughter danced I brought along my 87 year old grandmother, my mom, and son. We were about 10th in line. The doors opened and I made a beeline for the seats I wanted for my family. And I watched 3-4 women taking MASKING TAPE and taping off ROWS of seats. Not two or three seats. These were several rows of 15-20 seats for people who were not at the auditorium and who we watched arrive over the course of the next half hour and sit down in these saved seats. We were relegated to seats much farther back than where we wanted to be. This was partly because as we had headed up towards the front we wasted time trying to figure out what was going on with all the taped seats and by that time we made our way back through the crowded aisle much of the auditorium was filled up. I was stunned. I felt so bad that my sweet little grandmother stood in line like a trooper and then was deprived of a seat close to the stage by people who had not earned the right to that seat by standing in line. I can understand saving one or two seats but entire rows? These women had taped off at least 60 seats in the best part of the auditorium. And just so it’s clear–these were not employees or volunteers marking off reserved seating for guests of the studio or dancers. These were just moms with tape. I am sure no one questioned the taped seats because they thought there was an “official” reason thee seats were being reserved. I figured it out because I had arrived so early and saw the taping actually happening. In response I did two things and I don’t think either of them will send my to etiquette hell but I will be interested in the response to this story.
One thing I should say is that at the time I was new to dance studio etiquette so I wasn’t sure if I had a right to be mad. Maybe this was something that was acceptable or that the owner allowed? So I didn’t complain but I did gather info and opinions. I found out that the owner had allowed it to happen for many years but it wasn’t encouraged. She just let them get away with it. So when recital time came around and the same thing happened I just took the tape off the seats and sat down with my family. Taking the tape off one end of the row resulted in much of it coming off so other people just moved on in to those seats too. The looks on the tape moms’ faces were priceless. I am sure they thought I was several bad names but how could they protest? Their families weren’t there and 50 other people were. After that, another mom and I mentioned to the owner how unfair this behavior was to her other dance families and she put a note in recital newsletter that taping seats was not allowed. It’s never happened since. I still can’t believe it happened at all! 0313-12