Originally created 09/14/03

Saving a row of movie seats is bad manners

Dear Carson: At a movie theater, a couple of people decided to save a row of seats directly in front of them for their friends. There were no visible means of marking these seats, i.e. jacket or purse. People came from all over the theater trying to sit in those seats. Finally, a man sat on the end of the saved row when two people behind him leaned over and said, "Excuse me, I'm sorry, but we are saving these seats." The man responded, "You can't do that. I'm going to sit here." The people saving the seats became frustrated and proceeded to make insulting remarks, while telling the interloper that they would pray for him.

Who is right? My husband said that the man was wrong, but I don't think people should save such a large block of seats. I think the man might have fared better if he had gone to the usher or theater manager. - Sore About Seat Savers

Dear Sore: No one should be allowed to save a whole row of seats, depriving punctual people of desirable seating. Such people are getting their needs met at the expense of others. Saving a seat for a spouse or a friend getting refreshments is understandable, but the event you describe is inconsiderate and selfish. Sometimes ushers and theater managers do not want to get involved in a confrontation between customers. I applaud the man who held his ground.

Dear Carson: I refer to your letter of Sept. 7 in response to "Grip Gripe." While your reply was well taken about not offering your hand to someone who is dining, I must point out that you neglected to tell us what to do when we are the ones dining. I feel annoyed, as well, because we never know if a person's hands are clean. Also, it is an interruption to the act of getting food to one's mouth. What should one do when confronted with the extended and unwelcome paw? - Response to Repelled by Handshake

Dear Repelled: To refuse a proffered handshake is worse manners than to offer one in the first place. It is best to simply endure the handshake with a smile.

Dear Carson: Is it proper to send out thank-you notes for wedding gifts received before the wedding takes place? - Pre-Nuptial Note Writing

Dear Pre-Nuptial: The gift came before the wedding, so why wait until after the wedding for the thanks? An early gift deserves timely thanks.

Dear Carson: I received a wedding invitation addressed to me "and guest." Is it proper for me to take a good friend rather than a date? - Single Socialite

Dear Socialite: It is permissible to ask a guest, regardless of age or gender.

Write to Ask Carson, The Augusta Chronicle, P.O. Box 1928, Augusta, GA 30903-1928. Send e-mail to askcarson@comcast.net. Carson Elliott's Web site is at www.theproperthing.com.


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