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  1. #1
    Starcrossed Seafarer Aquarelle's Avatar
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    Default "Patrons of Size"

    I was just looking to buy tickets to a local theater production, and I came across something I've never seen before:

    PATRONS OF SIZE
    Patrons of size who compromise any portion of adjacent seating should proactively book the number of seats needed prior to the performance. The seats are 18 inches in width and set directly adjacent to one another. This purchase ensures that all patrons have access to safe and comfortable seating. If the appropriate purchase of an additional ticket is not made and there is an issue or problem, patrons of size may be asked to be seated in a different location.


    I was quite surprised to see something like this. It made me feel uncomfortable - I'm not sure I think it's appropriate to post such a notice. On the one hand, I can understand that it is awkward and uncomfortable to be seated next to someone who "compromises adjacent seating," but on the other hand, this notice seems somewhat insensitive to me (although I do think the wording is pretty tactful). What do you all think? Is this okay?

    (I realize this is a somewhat sensitive topic. I am simply interested in discussing the moral implications of the situation. I hope I have presented this topic in a respectful manner, and I would hope that any discussion surrounding it can remain respectful as well.)
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  2. #2
    Artisan Conquerer Halla74's Avatar
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    Default

    It's rude, but it can happen in reality. If the auditorium is sold out, and a person cannot reasonably sit in their sit for their own comfort or others around them, I really don't know what an ethical and sensitive way to handle that is. Maybe let them sit in the handicapped area ina different chair if any of those seats are available?

    I've always thought stadium/auditorium seating is way too packed.

    I took my wife and kids to a planetarium recently, and we were all squished together, with no leg room, and the whole rest of the place had only 4 more people in it, and about 100 open seats.

    Way to go. Build the room to maximize profit, even if it will NEVER be filled at that capacity. :rolli:

    Airlines are guilty of building seats that pack people like sardines.
    I think one airline at least actually had a "patrons of size" policy too, but don't know if it flew.

    I know I would complain to high heaven if I were asked to pay double due to my size. At the human level, it is just rude.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member Tiltyred's Avatar
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  4. #4
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Funny, I was just mentioning this to a coworker an hour ago as we discussed airline flights.

    As far as the OP goes, I'm not sure how else they could discuss this in a more kindly way. And is it better to just wait until people sit for the performance and then have an issue that disrupts the entire gathering? No, it's better to make people aware of this earlier.

    I see it as a logistics issue -- how do you maximize audience size while still providing for anyone with more space needs. If you happen to be too big for standard seating, then they can accommodate you before anyone even enters the room. It seems to be a delicate way of handling it, without any last-minute shocks. You also do need to consider that EVERYONE is buying a ticket, whether they are larger than average or not, so somehow you need to accommodate both groups of people in a comfortable fashion.

    The thing I was discussing with my coworker was the airlines forcing people to buy two seats if they were too big for one (since airlines are notorious for shrinking those seats -- *I* actually feel really squished on coach flights nowadays!); that's even worse than a performance, because instead of a doubling a $10-30 ticket, you're doubling likely a $200-400 ticket.
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  5. #5
    Starcrossed Seafarer Aquarelle's Avatar
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    Default

    Yeah, space is definitely an issue on airplanes. I think mostly the airlines are to blame, because yes, they sacrifice their customers' comfort for a wider profit margin (I definitely feel squished on airplanes, especially with regard to leg room). Of course airlines are also struggling financially and they have to think of people's jobs (my father worked for Northwest for 35 years before he retired), so I can't entirely blame them for that either. But yeah, asking someone to pay double airline fare really seems outrageous to me.

    Actually I was having a similar discussion with my friend the other day about babies/toddlers on planes. She thinks parents should have to pay for a seat for a baby even if the child will be on the parents' lap, because that would discourage parents from bringing small children (who often scream and disrupt other passengers' peace and quiet) on flights when it's not absolutely necessary. I disagree with that as well. I said maybe airlines could charge a "baby fee," but not require the customer to purchase an entire ticket when the baby will be on mom or dad's lap!
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  6. #6

    Default

    I think in cases like these, the airlines and theaters generally have seats that are cramped even for average sized people. Some theaters and even some airplanes have seats that are kind of old, and the size of the average person has steadily increased over time (even putting aside the rise in obesity) to the point where I'm sure lots of seats still in use were designed for smaller people.

    That said, I think it's only fair to require people to pay for a second seat if they do not fit in the seat provided. Too many people frame it as a judgment...it's not, it's a practical concern. It's not fair to the person sitting next to the large patron that they should have to be uncomfortable, have the use of less of their seat, and have their enjoyment of the performance or flight suffer. Certainly, if there are unoccupied seats, I think that the large patron should be offered the chance to sit where they won't bother anyone at no extra charge. But if the flight or performance is sold out, that's just the way it goes.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member swordpath's Avatar
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    Default

    I've sat on the window seat of an airplane, having a very large couple sit in the two seats adjacent to me. Luckily it was little more than a one hour flight and not across the country.

    This posted notice the OP speaks of is plenty reasonable to me, and simply honest in saying "Look, if you're large and take up more than a chair-full of room, it's going to interfere with the comfort of other paying patrons that have been assigned seats next to you, through no volition of their own." "To ensure that others are not inconvenienced, here is what one should do to fix the problem: Buy more space." In MOST situations, obesity is a choice and others shouldn't be forced to have to deal with it or be discomforted because of it (especially when people are paying decent money for their seat).

    In fact, if anything, I think it's rather polite that these notices are posted. People know if they're over-sized or not, so this gives them the opportunity to take care of the problem without being hassled about it, or embarrassed/shamed by others. Who wants to be confronted and asked to walk through an "Are You Fat?" machine in front of a box office of onlookers, at the airport or other places that would involve similar procedure?

  8. #8
    Intriguing.... Quinlan's Avatar
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    I like it actually, because "patrons of size" (even though it's probably a euphemism for fat), technically that applies to tall people, people with long limbs, rugby players, body builders etc.

    It's basically saying, if you're encroaching into space other people have paid for buy an extra ticket (or go first class in the case of an airline), which is fair enough I reckon.
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  9. #9
    not to be trusted miss fortune's Avatar
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    Default

    Most of the theaters around here HAVE some larger seats available in them... though I live in the midwest, which might have something to do with that

    why not have some larger seats available at a slightly higher price (say... 20% more or so) so that people can choose where they sit?... and at that seats with more leg room for a higher price as well

    then they get more money and people can choose seating to their liking

    on that note, I'm a smaller person and I feel cramped on airplanes and movie theaters... My knee sucks and I need to be able to extend it to sit comfortably for more than a few minutes with it bent... and I know that I'D be willing to spend more for more leg room
    “Oh, we're always alright. You remember that. We happen to other people.” -Terry Pratchett

  10. #10

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by whatever View Post
    why not have some larger seats available at a slightly higher price (say... 20% more or so) so that people can choose where they sit?... and at that seats with more leg room for a higher price as well
    I thought of this, but seat size is the main draw of first class seating, and first class is usually at the very least 250% the price of a coach seat. Airlines can't afford to give someone who would normally sit in first class and doesn't care about the free booze the chance to get a super cheap large seat.
    Everybody have fun tonight. Everybody Wang Chung tonight.

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