Lately, social media has been rife with etiquette debates, particularly about seating arrangements in places like planes and public transport.
But a recent post in a popular online forum has brought a new communal space to the mix – cinemas.
When a couple went to go see the Barbie movie last week (along with everyone else…) they were confronted by a mom and her daughter already sitting in their seats.
What ensued was a heated discussion in the cinema and then later online as people weighed in on the situation.
The mom and daughter were already sitting in the wrong seats
In the post, a 22-year-old man shared his experience of going to see Barbie with his girlfriend. The cinema was virtually sold out, but they managed to snag a couple of seats in the middle in advance.
But after arriving at the theatre, they noticed people already sitting in their seats. It turned out to be a woman and her daughter, who looked to be around five or six.
“I let the woman know that they were our seats and I even showed her the tickets. She said when she purchased her tickets they only had two seats available, one in the front row and another in the far back,” the poster explained.
“She said she wanted to sit next to her daughter and she didn’t want her sitting that far away from her so she asked if my girlfriend and I could swap seats.”
The man told the mom it wasn’t his problem and reminded her that he “paid for those seats.”
“I then politely asked her if they would get up. The woman said she understood I paid for the seats but I didn’t have to be rude and inconsiderate,” he continued.
Thankfully, they eventually got up but the man now can’t help wondering if he was in the wrong for making them move.
“At first I didn’t think I did anything wrong, I paid for those seats and the woman purchased the tickets knowing she wouldn’t be able to sit with her daughter. Now I’m starting to feel a little bad because of what the woman said.”
“Their poor planning is not your problem”
The forum community provided a united front in the comments, with most people agreeing with the man’s stance.
Their main argument was that the mom didn’t deserve to be rewarded for her poor planning, or for being presumptuous and assuming strangers would give up their seats.
“The woman should have chosen a different movie time instead of assuming people would move for her. She was being inconsiderate to her own daughter in the situation as well as you,” the top comment read.
Another person added: “She also ‘just happened’ to choose the middle seats and middle row to try this.”
And then someone else summarized the situation like this: “The woman purchased the two tickets far apart. It was her decision, and it was a bad one, as her child is too small to send off to sit by herself. So her solution was to usurp somebody else’s seats and play the victim when somebody else (you) objected, and retaliate against you saying no by making you look and feel bad.
“She could have simply purchased two seats together for a later show or a later date – but instead she relied either on the kindness of strangers or on her own ability to manipulate the situation in her favour. None of this says anything bad about you, and it’s all on her.”
Then someone else concluded: “This wasn’t a plane seat. The mother and daughter could go to the movie some other, less busy day, or to a later screening, or actually pre-plan and buy tickets ahead of time.
“It’s not like the Barbie movie is going anywhere.”