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Confronting the rude seat hog

An older man sits in one of the set of facing seats hard by the doors, his backpack filling the adjoining seat. That's what I see when I board at Grand heading north at rush hour with a 60-ish woman, both of us noting his rudeness as we eye the empty seat -- empty but for his backpack.

He sits with his head down, studiously staring at images on his digital camera. The woman stands right by the empty seat, too timid to confront him.

And he ignores her.

Finally I wave my fingers in his  face and ask if she can sit down. He looks up disgustedly at me, and asks her if she wants to sit. She says yes. He slowly makes a big deal about moving his backpack.

She sits. She never thanks me.

I move down the aisle and ask yet another guy if I can sit where his bag is. This guy also has a HUGE wheelie suitcase in the aisle between his legs. But he readily gets up and moves his bag for me to sit down.


I find people will move their stuff (although they'll make a big deal out of it) if you just say "Excuse me".

People are so rude. I would never THINK about putting a bag on a chair, unless the train is obviously empty enough. I have no problem confronting other people to move their stuff. Good for you.

so rude but i'm glad you got a seat

I used to be too timid to ask but now I do. I ask nicely and they will roll their eyes - but I dont care. I want to sit. Their bookbag/laptopcase/nordstrom bag doesnt need that seat.

I always politely ask people to move their bag, unless it looks like it would be hellish to sit next to them (if they're really twitchy, smelly, etc.)

My favorite are people who sit on the aisle seat and take up the window seat with their bag, and when I ask them if I may sit, they move the bag and do the butt pivot to the side, so I have to squeeze in. Love the butt pivot. ;-)

If I'm carrying so much stuff that it's a PITA for me and a seatmate to deal with, I just stand. It's my own fault, no one else should have to deal with it.

I hate the butt pivot. I'm a big guy. Get the hell out of the way! :)

When I encounter the butt pivot I think, "hey if you want my big ol' 47 year old ass in your face, here it comes" and I push right past them and sit down.....and if I'm a bit flatulent it's even better (well, for me)

Regarding Ye Olde Butt Pivot: Years ago, I had a friend who was about a size 8 on top and probably a 16/18 on the bottom. She told me once that people underestimated her size due to her small upper body, so more often than not she got 'the pivot'. I can still remember her pantomiming to me how she'd get up and all but smear her hind end entirely across the person's face! You get what you ask for, pivot punks =D

Why not just sit right down on their bag? I had a tough day at work one day and this a-hole had the only open seat on the bus occupied with his bag...

I turned and started to sit and, wouldn't you know it, he moved the bag with amazing quickness. Some days I don't want to put up with other people's shit.

CC you rock.

Suzanne, that's hilarious!!!!

Saw this happen a week or so on the Red Line coming to work... white guy asked a black guy to move... didn't know the black guy happened to be crazy, and the black guy started in on this CRAZY tirade for about 15 minutes (no kidding) and I thought there was going to be a fight. Then another guy gave up his seat and came and stood by the crazy guy who was spewing racial epithets and talking to his empty seat next to him. Made for an entertaining commute.

clueless. that is, i'm absolutely CLUELESS why this goes on. i often have a big bag with me. it 1. goes on my lap, or 2. goes on the floor. i don't have any, but if i did, i wouldn't be bringing chanel on the el, people.

the only time i put my bag on the seat is like random late nights or afternoons. and even then, if i look around after two stops and i even SUSPECT the train is filling up and someone might need or want my seat, i take it BACK OFF the seat. i don't want someone who is too afraid to ask to not have a seat.

for cryin' out loud. it happens even MORE on the amtrak to milwaukee. it's not assigned seating, but it's like...umm, people paid $19 for their seats, too, asshole, and until this train is max capacity, we all get to have a seat. and of course i'd rather not sit next to you, either!!


I guess I don't get what's wrong with the butt pivot. If the person who's there first wants the aisle seat, I don't have a problem with having to climb over him or her. It's not like it's that hard.

Of course, I wish the CTA were designed like the London Tube, where all the seats are against the two walls, facing the inside, and there are arm rests between them to prevent people from sitting in two seats at once.

The problem with the butt pivot is that it's rude.

If you want to have a guaranteed seat all the way to your destination and never have to move out of the way for anyone, then take a cab.

Otherwise, please stand up and let me in the window seat or scooch over to the window seat yourself, thanks.

It's called living in a society and acknowledging the presence of others.

Question about the butt-pivot...Is it rude to butt-pivot rather than stand all the way up when the window person wants out? I only stand up if the person is large or has a bunch of bags or a child with them...otherwise I butt-pivot, let them out, then I scoot over to the window.

I think it depends on the size of the butts involved, Lady.

I must agree that, yes, it is rude to do the butt pivot. Ivy, your post says it all. If you can't tolerate others or be courteous, take a friggin' cab! Why should anyone have to crawl over someone to exit or enter a seat? If I step as hard as I can on your foot as I pass you, is it my fault or yours?

I'm not a big person so when I do butt-pivot the person getting out has PLENTY of room to do so...I guess I don't see how the butt-pivot is rude...but to each his (or her) own I guess!

Hey how about the folks standing in the area by the steps and they want you to climb thru them to step down. I always speak up to "please step down" because I refuse to climb around them and possibly fall down the steps. I also make the person stand up instead of the butt pivot because I do not want my butt to be in their face - its embarassing to me. If they dont get up right away, I assertively say (in a nice way but assertively) "Excuse me I'd like to sit there" or something like that.. I refuse to butt pivot and climb over people while walking down steps of the bus!!!

One of the worst offenders I saw was on the westbound #80 bus a few years back. It was one of those buses that the row of single seats on the door side--and you know those seats were coveted.
The bus is jammed, height of rush hour, and there's this man sitting in a single seat, with all his bags in the seat in front of him. He should have been fried by all the dirty looks he was getting. Professional man, so it would have been like a briefcase and maybe even a wheelie or laptop bag. Finally I asked him for the seat & he told me (borderline nasty) no because he didn't have anywhere else to put it. The next person who asked (very slow trip between the Blue Line L & Cicero) got the same answer.
He got up at Kilpatrick to ask the driver something & took his things with him. We promptly sat down, and were treated to dirty looks, but from him. I believe he made some really snide little comment about me getting to sit down. I may have pointed out (or did I only think it?) that not only are my hips wider than his, but I have gotten on with a lot more stuff and managed to keep it all on me & in my seat, to boot.
There would have been less fuss if he had taken any of the other seats: the inwards facing ones or the paired seats near the back. But taking 2 of the single ones--well, that just fried everyone.


Though I must confess, it's really gratifying to smack them in the face with backpack as I attempt scooch pass them :)

The only people worst than Butt Pivoters are:

1) Leg Crossers who sit in the aisle-facing seats (both train and bus) and leave their crossed leg dangling in the aisle for me to walk around. I do so LOVE ruining their pretty shoes as I walk into their leg and keep on trucking :)

2) Backpack Wearers standing on a crowded train/bus who are so oblivious that they don't realize there's an extra 15-20 inches behind them that we all have to manuever around. Get a clue people!

3) Tribune Readers who read the paper as if their sitting at their dining room or coffee table. It's a special joy when one of them happens to be sitting behind me. I get to swat at their paper every time it brushes my head as if I'm being attacked by a swarm of mosquitoes.

A bag on the seat? You call that a problem? HA! Lemme tell you about some of the seat hogs on the New York public transportation system. Big sweaty jocks in hockey uniforms and big hockey sticks will fill the front seats of the bus reserved for the disabled and elderly. Often beautifully groomed Asian women in their 20s do the same, but these women typically refuse to move if asked to do so by an elderly/disabled person. They seem personally offended by the request! The worst offenders have to be the young men(white, black, latino) also in their 20s who feel entitled to take up three full seats on the subway by spreading their knees apart as far as possible. Must be a testosterone-driven territory- marking instinct. These guys take up way more space than my fat behind ever could, and there's at least one of them on every subway car. A public confession: I have lost my patience with all of these rude people. I am elderly and disabled and use a cane, and I will sit down wherever I like whenever there is a seat available. If they don't move their stuff, legs, bags, etc., I will still lower my butt into the space that should be made available. If they still don't move, I will sit on top of their legs, bags, and hockey sticks as if I didn't notice them under me. If they get huffy about it, I "very oh very accidentally" whack their calf/ankle/foot with my cane as I settle into the position I want. I sincerely apologize to them for my clumsiness. Maybe because I am a disabled old lady, the situation doesn't escalate further. Yeah, I might "accidentally" whack a homeless psychopath and perhaps live to regret it. In the meantime, I get my seat, dammit. Yeah, it's passive-aggressive or just plain aggressive . . . but it works.

"white guy asked a black guy to move"

must've been really important to mention the races of these two men. what are you trying to prove?!

"2) Backpack Wearers standing on a crowded train/bus who are so oblivious that they don't realize there's an extra 15-20 inches behind them that we all have to manuever around. Get a clue people!"

What do you propose people do with their backpacks? put them in a seat?


"white guy asked a black guy to move"

It was important to mention because of the racist invectives that came afterwards. I find it amazing some people accept that black people can get away with such atrocious behavior in public. I guess you're trying to prove your PC creds, right? If someone's rude then race, gender, class, or age is irrelevant and shouldn't discourage them being outed.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with the so-called "butt pivot." If I get there first and want the aisle seat, it's my right to keep it. Maybe I'm getting off within the next few stops and making it easier for the person who wants to sit down not to have to pivot or stand up so I can get off. For whatever reason, just because you just got on doesn't give you the right to choose aisle or window and that someone else has to switch for you.

On the lt. rail system in my town, there are handicapped ramps at each stop. The train requires climbing 3 steps to board. So if you have a cane or crutch or just a gimpy hip or knee you use the ramp. If you are in a wheelchair naturally you use the ramp. Also mothers with kids in strollers use it. That's the good part. The bad part is that in a train of four cars the ONLY seats for those of us using that entrance/exit are four seats right behind where the driver sits because he has to open that door for us. You can't believe how many people get on via other doors and come sit there. They have the whole rest of the train. We have four seats. If someone is sitting there when I board, 8 out of 10 times it's because they shouldn't be. Try getting them to move out! It's darn near impossible. They need to start ticketing people for that!

To butt pivot or not? When the bus is stopped and the window-side person wants to get out, I will stand. But if the bus is moving, I do the butt pivot. I'd rather not stand and lose my balance because the inside seat person can't wait until the bus stops. If I'm on the inside seat, I will wait until the bus is stopped before asking the aisle person to move.

"There is absolutely nothing wrong with the so-called "butt pivot." If I get there first and want the aisle seat, it's my right to keep it."

--The butt pivot is rude because it is burdensome to a passenger trying to get into or out of a window seat. You weren't required to stumble over someone to sit in your seat, why should others stumble over you? If you wish to remain in the aisle seat, simply stand to allow the other passenger in/out and then sit back down.

I'm a big and muscular guy. If someone, man or woman, wants to do the butt pivot instead of allowing me to freely and gladly sit in the window seat next to them I have absolutely no problem either:
1 - stepping on their foot/feet
2 - hitting them "accidentally" with my bag
or 3 - taking off half of their body in the process of reaching my seat and sitting down. If they have an issue with it I would say "maybe it would have been easier if you just stood up and allowed me to sit down". If they look like there is going to be an issue and I don't feel like doing 1-3 above, I'll say that to start and it usually does the trick.

But honestly, it should be pretty obvious that there isn't enough room for someone to pass. So it's not just a rude behavior. It's pretty moronic in my eyes.

I feel there is nothing worse than rubbing elbows or God knows what else with a complete stranger and picking up who knows what germs they're carrying. I will absolutely take up two seats or strongly discourage people from sitting next to me (I'm overweight, so it works...) unless the mode of transport is at complete capacity. And that's even more gross.

Which is why I never take public transportation.



I ride the bus every day and what I find rude are the the persons that are not from the U.S. specifically the men that not only sit on their seat but spread their legs as fas as they can get them spread and are constantly taking up the space on my saet. These guys also don't like it when a woman, any woman, sits in the back of the bus. If you take a seat in the back of the bus it's like interupting a "gang" meeting or something.

They are disgustingly rude.

Amazingly watched a very obese man after a seat hog refused to move packages just sit down on top of the hog. Said "I paid for this and if there is a seat, then I paid for it too." Entire car was in hysterics and incrediblely the hog never pushed him off for three stations when fat guy left the train. I feel that guy deserves an award.

How about this remark when I asked a woman if I could sit where she had her legs in the seat across from her? She grudgingly removed her legs... and said loudly to her companion and for all to hear... "I weigh 100 and she weighs 500"... look how she is squeezed into "MY SEAT".

When I get on a bus and see a person taking up 2 seats, one for the person and the other for a bag, I say to that person did you pay two fares? If the answer is no, then I say to move the bag out of the way so I can sit down...

If I run into the butt pivoter, I just squeeze through and try very hard to fart in his direction as I slide by. If that doesn't work I sit down and let one ooze out slowly while looking out the window. I can fart just about anytime after eating Mexican food for lunch.

I'll do the butt pivot if the window person gets up when it's crowded because I don't want to touch the people standing. I'm very little anyhow and can curl up with my feet off the floor, etc.

I'll do the butt pivot if the window person gets up when it's crowded because I don't want to touch the people standing. I'm very little anyhow and can curl up with my feet off the floor, etc.

if the butt pivotor is a woman ill go in with my bulge in her face if its a man i do the elbow to the eye and have no problem if it causes a conflict i would like that maybe teach him some manners but thats just me

The butt pivot doesn't bother me nearly as much as the guys who sit with their legs spread wide open on the subway (two men can take up three seats) Come on guys, I doubt it's so big you can't close your legs.

Then there's the idiots who wrap themselves around or lean against the pole in the middle of the cars that the standees need to hang on to. Also the men who are holding on to the "strap," AND leaning back on the pole, so their bodies are taking up the entire pole and no one can hold on to it OR get by. I always purposely grab the pole and dig my knuckles into the backs of the pole-wrappers/leaners so they get the hint.

Not to mention overweight people who take up half your seat, then scowl at you for trying to squeeze in. Sorry, people. Unless you paid two fares, you're not entitled to more than one seat. I'm not the problem in this situation. If you can't fit into one seat, then stand.

Ah, and the children taking up seats in the rush hour. These mothers get their entire brood on the subway for free, yet they take up seats that adults have paid for. Then of course there's the huge strollers blocking the doors and aisles, always accompanied by the defiant glares like YOU'RE wrong for wanting to get on or off the train. And the kids who loudly scream/sing/run around or whatever, while their mothers act like they don't notice it... or the mothers who encourage their kids to sing a song or loudly practice their ABCs or whatever, all the while casting proud glances around the car to make sure everyone is admiring their little genius. Sorry, proud mama... what's appropriate at home isn't appropriate in public. We're not admiring your little darling, we're willing it to shut the hell up.

And then there's the door-blockers, who insist on standing directly in front of the doors and refuse to step aside so you can get on or off. Defiant glares there too, as if you're the asshole for wanting to get on or off the train.

Gotta love the wonderful characters of the new York City subway. All that normal people want to do is get from A to B, yet all these idiots have to make it an obstacle course with their selfish, attention-seeking behavior.

I love my car. ;)

I agree with Charlie. Butt pivot? Usually not a big deal at all. I actually find it sort of funny so many of you apparently consider it so ill mannered. Where I grew up the so-called "butt pivot" was kind of the norm when used with a bit of common sense. Don't do it with big people, older people, disabled people, moms bringing kids to sit on their laps, people with lots of bags, etc, but really? Seriously? With all the other stuff that goes on in public transport that's what you pick to gripe about?

My personal least favorites were mostly all mentioned by Charlie above, particularly pole-leaners on crowded subways. Gah! And door blockers? That defies logic! But, whatever happens on a subway/bus/train, *most* of it can and should be let go. It's like being in a crowd. Don't expect the comfort of your own car! Chill out, people!

PS: To all of you who purposefully fart in the faces of butt pivoters (seriously people???), consider that everyone has different ideas of manners and courtesy. If they're offending you it very well may be incidental. Aparently I've offended many people since starting to ride the rails in this country years ago, totally unknowingly. What you're doing is purposeful, crude, and far more rude. Unless you're dealing with someone totally shameless who you've asked kindly to do/not do something, you have no call to one up them with a far nastier rudeness yourself. That's just naff!

Please, is it really so hard to say, "can i sit there?" What weenies most of you are. That is not "confronting" anyone, that is a simple courtesy, YES, a courtesy that you can extend. Amazingly, reading your mind is not a courtesy you can expect of other people.

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