Author Topic: Taking up two seats on the subway  (Read 5791 times)

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Slartibartfast

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Re: Taking up two seats on the subway
« Reply #15 on: February 24, 2013, 03:46:20 AM »
The woman knows she's big, you wouldn't be calling attention to it by standing up, nor would you be telling her something she didn't know. She likely puts her purse on the seat next to her to discourage people from wanting to sit in a seat she knows won't have enough room for them.

I disagree with this - larger women get this argument all the time to justify rude comments and actions, and quite frankly it stinks.  It may be true that you're not "telling her something she didn't know" if you obviously stand up right after sitting down, but it's unnecessarily hurtful.  She *was* using two seats - putting her bag on the other half of the second seat seems like a prudent way of avoiding this situation to begin with.

Not that AuntyEm was wrong to sit there - I think she did the right thing.  In the circumstances I think it would be appropriate to realize your error (that the seat was being used after all), then weigh your current discomfort at your lack of space against the emotional discomfort you'd cause the other woman by standing up immediately and decide whether or not you should remain seated.

cicero

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Re: Taking up two seats on the subway
« Reply #16 on: February 24, 2013, 04:27:43 AM »
Aunty Em you didn't do anything wrong. i agree with Slartibartfast - you sat, you figured out that it wasn't a good, umm, fit, and you weigh your otions - either stay put till something else comes along or move, possibly causing the other woman to feel bad.

I myself am large, i don't take up more than one seat, but i am on the border there. however, I do my best to mitigate the situation, e.g, i scrunch over, etc. I think that if the other woman had done that, it would have been different, but she comes across as having *attitude* - pushing you, throwing her feet around. I'm not saying it's her fault that she is taking up more space and i am certainly not advocating to fight rudess with more rudeness, but in *that* situation i would have felt that my discomfort takes precedence over what may or may not be her discomfort.

and i have to say - I always wonder when i get on an extremely crowded subway/bus/train and there is *one* seat empty, i wonder just *why* that seat is empty. more likely than not, there is an issue with that seat - it is broken, wet, or the *other* person/people may be causing issues (taking up too much room, attitude, drunk, etc). maybe i'm a pessimist (on public transportation) but if i saw that empty seat and nobody grabbing it, i would have just waited a few more stops till soemthing else came up

Had an awkward commute into work last week and wonder what was the best way to handle it.

I got onto the extremely crowded subway car on my morning commute and noticed a seat next to a woman that I thought was only occupied by her large open purse.  I was carrying my laptop, purse and regular winter gear and asked her if I could please sit there.  She seemed to ignore me once so I asked again.  She moved her purse and I went to sit down but couldn't actually get into the seat properly because she was physically overlapping into the other seat.  She made no move to adjust her position and I sat on the edge of the seat as best I could bracing against the seat back beside me.  I would have been more comfortable standing and putting all my gear into the seat but didn't want to embarrass her by pointing out that she was taking up two seats. 

During the ride, she pulled out her cell phone and bottled drink and rested her arm on my back and then stretched her legs out into the crowded aisle making a hazard for the people trying to stand and hold on.  Instead of feeling sorry for her, I began to be annoyed.  I said nothing and just waited for a chance to move when it would have been normal to do so.

Would you have continued to sit precariously on the edge or just have stood up?  I did move to an empty seat when I could a few stops down the line.

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Morty'sCleaningLady

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Re: Taking up two seats on the subway
« Reply #17 on: February 24, 2013, 07:44:47 AM »
I am lucky enough to finally have a car commute, but I vividly recall my ten 'fun' years of public transit.

The woman was beyond rude.  Overlapping the seat if she was very large could happen (and be embarrassing for her).  But when she continued to jostle and the used you as an arm rest.  Good gravy!!  That was not nice.  Standing would have been a better choice (or saying something).

One of my BFFs is a regular subway commuter.  Her pet peeve are the men who wit with their knees sprawled and don't tuck in when you sit next to them (or worse yet, when the training pushes people in and you are almost standing in his crotch.   Gag!!)
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TootsNYC

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Re: Taking up two seats on the subway
« Reply #18 on: February 24, 2013, 02:54:40 PM »
She was taking up two seats because she was so big (it was mostly her lower half so it was not apparent when I asked to sit down).

Sharnita-I had asked twice to sit down, was carrying a lot of heavy items and the subway was packed.  If I had stood up immediately, I think she would have known why.

So?

Who cares? She knows how wide she is; your act of looking out for your comfort is not something you need to apologize for.  If it's uncomfortable, then get up. Or, if you wouldn't fit, then stand up, turn around, and set your heavy gear in the half space that is left.

I'm sorry for those of you who are extra wide. But the rest of us shouldn't have to suffer physical discomfort because of your size. Getting your feelings hurt by the simple situation of someone realizing that you take up too much space for their comfort is simply part of your life. Stinks, sure, but it's *your* cross to bear--not mine.

Standing up after all because you take up too much room is a FAR cry from "unnecessarily hurtful" and ever further from saying things about it.

Heck, maybe I stood up bcs the guy on the OTHER side won't scooch over.

Quote

Her arm was resting on my back while she was looking at her cell phone.

This is incredibly unimaginably rude. Horrible. You should have said something. Everyone on the car would have backed you up. At the VERY least you should have stood up and plonked your stuff on the seat.

At that point, she deserves any hurt feelings she gets.

Softly Spoken

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Re: Taking up two seats on the subway
« Reply #19 on: February 24, 2013, 03:46:10 PM »
I'm sorry for those of you who are extra wide. But the rest of us shouldn't have to suffer physical discomfort because of your size. Getting your feelings hurt by the simple situation of someone realizing that you take up too much space for their comfort is simply part of your life. Stinks, sure, but it's *your* cross to bear--not mine.

I don't exactly disagree with the above, but I don't exactly agree with it either. I think the part I'm having trouble with is what I interpret to be the presumption that anyone is entitled to a certain amount of "comfort" in a given situation. If you pay to ride a subway or bus you are not guaranteed, nor entitled to, a seat. Basically if you can fit in the vehicle without everyone running out of oxygen, you can ride. People are forced into unwanted physical proximity and into physical positions they would rather not be in, in exchange for being able to get where they need to go. Out of politeness, consideration may be given to the very young, the elderly and/or the disabled...but everyone else is on their own no matter how tall or wide they happen to be.

To say other people "shouldn't have to suffer physical discomfort because of your size" sounds like you are putting the responsibility of other's comfort on the larger person. First of all, they are just as squished and uncomfortable as you are. Second of all, they did not design the subway car or bus. Public transit is designed to fit as many people into a small space as possible, not for comfort.

I will not apologize for taking up my allotment of horizontal space, just as a tall person should not apologize for being tall. We can be sympathetic to the shared discomfort of an impractically designed transit system, but we are no more responsible for the comfort of others then they are for ours. We did not steal space owed to them by being fat or tall. Like us, they are allowed to whatever space they take up - if that space does not exist in the seat next to me then that is their cross to bear. I'm sure germaphobic or claustrophobic people would love to have no one sitting next to them, but if the bus is crowded that isn't going to happen. Stinks, sure, but that's public transit.
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MariaE

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Re: Taking up two seats on the subway
« Reply #20 on: February 24, 2013, 04:10:20 PM »
I think Toots was replying to the notion that people should stay seated in an uncomfortable position rather than stand up and suffer less physical discomfort but possibly embarrass the other person.

I agree that it's not the responsibility of the other person to make others more comfortable, but neither is it my responsibility to stay seated and suffer physical discomfort just because they might be embarrassed if I stand up.
 
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Softly Spoken

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Re: Taking up two seats on the subway
« Reply #21 on: February 24, 2013, 05:39:53 PM »
I think Toots was replying to the notion that people should stay seated in an uncomfortable position rather than stand up and suffer less physical discomfort but possibly embarrass the other person.

I agree that it's not the responsibility of the other person to make others more comfortable, but neither is it my responsibility to stay seated and suffer physical discomfort just because they might be embarrassed if I stand up.

Oh I see. Then, good gravy no, who would do that? ??? I mean, if you are more comfortable standing up then stand up for crying out loud. Who stays stuffed in their seat just to be polite to a stranger? Especially in this case, where said stranger gave such strong indications that she didn't care what the OP said or did? ::)
"... for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so."
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TootsNYC

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Re: Taking up two seats on the subway
« Reply #22 on: February 24, 2013, 06:13:24 PM »
I will not apologize for taking up my allotment of horizontal space, just as a tall person should not apologize for being tall.

And you shouldn't.

But other people shouldn't say "Oh, I'm not going to get up from being squished next to her" or "I'm not going to step to the side to be able to see around her" just because they don't want to hurt your feelings.

Other people are allowed to MOVE to make themselves more comfortable, and if that makes wide people (or tall people) feel self-conscious, well, them's the breaks.

I'm absolutely not going to condone any comments to be made while this is happening, but the oP shouldn't have been worried about whether getting up from a too-small space would make the lady next to her feel fat--even if that lady had been a NICE lady instead of a total boor.

Anniissa

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Re: Taking up two seats on the subway
« Reply #23 on: February 26, 2013, 12:01:02 PM »
I met this lady's sister on a bus last week! She had her bag on a long strap around her neck and resting on the seat beside her. When I tried to sit next to her I said "excuse me" to ask her to move it and she turned her head away, deliberately ignoring me. I didn't have the moxie to pick up her bag and put it n her lap - not when it was around her body - so I switched seats.

As a regular commuter I really can't abide people who deliberately put their bags on the seat and have no intention of moving it. I don't go so far as to think this is the intention of everyone who sits with a bag on the seat next to them -most people are happy to move the bag when they see someone wants/asks for the seat but in this case where someone deliberately turns the other way then I will tap them on the arm/shoulder to get their attention and if they still ignore me then I do as the previous poster and go to move the bag myself which would almost always result in them moving the bag for me. I haven't had to resort to sitting on the bag yet  ;)

amylouky

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Re: Taking up two seats on the subway
« Reply #24 on: February 26, 2013, 01:19:38 PM »
If someone is taking up more than one seat due to their size, are both seats considered theirs? I'm a bigger gal myself, not quite to overlapping seat size, but if I were, I wouldn't be happy that someone came in and tried to squeeze themself into the other 1/2 of a seat that I was already occupying. Yes, I do think she should have moved her purse but I don't think OP should have tried to sit in the seat once she realized that the woman's body was occupying part of it. I guess it depends for me on how much "overlap" there was though.. an inch or two okay, but if she was taking up 1/3 of the seat, I think it can reasonably be said that both seats were already occupied.
I don't think that standing up would have been rude, though, once you realized you couldn't sit there comfortably.

Calistoga

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Re: Taking up two seats on the subway
« Reply #25 on: February 26, 2013, 01:29:19 PM »
I tend to run in to this problem the other way around, with someone trying to wedge themselves in to a space that they are too big for and ending up smooshing against me. It's rude in that case, and I'd fully expect them to get up and stop trying to smoosh in to a space they physically can not fit in. So it would be the same here. There's nothing rude about getting up once you realize you can't fit in the space, and I'm sure the woman you were sitting next to would be greatful to have the rest of her room back.


snowdragon

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Re: Taking up two seats on the subway
« Reply #26 on: February 26, 2013, 01:30:35 PM »
If someone is taking up more than one seat due to their size, are both seats considered theirs? I'm a bigger gal myself, not quite to overlapping seat size, but if I were, I wouldn't be happy that someone came in and tried to squeeze themself into the other 1/2 of a seat that I was already occupying. Yes, I do think she should have moved her purse but I don't think OP should have tried to sit in the seat once she realized that the woman's body was occupying part of it. I guess it depends for me on how much "overlap" there was though.. an inch or two okay, but if she was taking up 1/3 of the seat, I think it can reasonably be said that both seats were already occupied.
I don't think that standing up would have been rude, though, once you realized you couldn't sit there comfortably.


As a person who is bigger myself, I only think I get two seats, if I pay for two seats. otherwise I get one and the other is fair game.  No different than a lap baby on a plane, he doesn't pay for a seat so his parents need to make sure he stays out of the next seat over.  With a person who is bigger, they need to mitigate the issue, not everyone else.  ( and if there are armrests, they need to go down to minimize the issue as much as possible....is it comfortable for the bigger person, no, but it's what's polite. )

TurtleDove

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Re: Taking up two seats on the subway
« Reply #27 on: February 26, 2013, 01:33:18 PM »
If someone is taking up more than one seat due to their size, are both seats considered theirs? I'm a bigger gal myself, not quite to overlapping seat size, but if I were, I wouldn't be happy that someone came in and tried to squeeze themself into the other 1/2 of a seat that I was already occupying. Yes, I do think she should have moved her purse but I don't think OP should have tried to sit in the seat once she realized that the woman's body was occupying part of it. I guess it depends for me on how much "overlap" there was though.. an inch or two okay, but if she was taking up 1/3 of the seat, I think it can reasonably be said that both seats were already occupied.
I don't think that standing up would have been rude, though, once you realized you couldn't sit there comfortably.

I don't think you will ever get a consensus on this.  I wouldn't be happy if I had to stand because one person is taking up two seats. I think it is a judgment call whether a smaller person can fit in the seat.  I generally fit into a space if possible, because I wear heals and carry a heavy bag to work so standing on a moving bus is not easy for me, and can result in my bag unintentionally swinging into seated people.  I tend to think that if either person is uncomfortable because of squished seating, he or she can stand up. And I almost always will sit when I sense an "attitude" from the person taking up more than one seat or with bags on the seat as described in the OP. 

Calistoga

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Re: Taking up two seats on the subway
« Reply #28 on: February 26, 2013, 01:45:29 PM »
I think it kind of depends on how the seats are laid out. If it's bench style, then you should expect some touching of butt cheeks and elbows. But if there are distinct seats, then it should be one butt to a seat, and if possible, one seat to a butt. You should never take up more room than you HAVE to. If your butt is two seats wide, you can't help but take up two seats. In a situation where you have to use two seats and you're paying by the seat...yeah, it sucks, but pay for both and avoid someone else trying to smoosh in the second one.

amylouky

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Re: Taking up two seats on the subway
« Reply #29 on: February 26, 2013, 01:46:08 PM »
If someone is taking up more than one seat due to their size, are both seats considered theirs? I'm a bigger gal myself, not quite to overlapping seat size, but if I were, I wouldn't be happy that someone came in and tried to squeeze themself into the other 1/2 of a seat that I was already occupying. Yes, I do think she should have moved her purse but I don't think OP should have tried to sit in the seat once she realized that the woman's body was occupying part of it. I guess it depends for me on how much "overlap" there was though.. an inch or two okay, but if she was taking up 1/3 of the seat, I think it can reasonably be said that both seats were already occupied.
I don't think that standing up would have been rude, though, once you realized you couldn't sit there comfortably.


As a person who is bigger myself, I only think I get two seats, if I pay for two seats. otherwise I get one and the other is fair game.  No different than a lap baby on a plane, he doesn't pay for a seat so his parents need to make sure he stays out of the next seat over.  With a person who is bigger, they need to mitigate the issue, not everyone else.  ( and if there are armrests, they need to go down to minimize the issue as much as possible....is it comfortable for the bigger person, no, but it's what's polite. )

Oh, with paid/reserved seats I definitely agree that one should buy a second seat if they need it. I don't really see subways and busses as the same situation, though, since they're designed for standing room when the seats are full. 
If the rule for subways is you don't take more than one seat, and an average sized person came up to the woman in the OP.. should she then stand up so the new person can sit down, because she was taking up more than her one seat? That doesn't seem right either. I think it's first-come, first-served. So, flip side, if a small/average person is seated, then I don't think a larger person would have the right to sit next to them and overlap into their seat.