Dear Meredith: Please Help Me Understand Seat-Saving Etiquette
Q: I was in Aspen for a comedy show at a bar when two women at the community table insisted on holding the eight remaining stools for their friends. Shortly after turning me away, they allowed a party of three to sit. I asked again if I could park myself, but they maintained their friends were still coming. Eventually I found a spot elsewhere, although at least one member of their party never showed and the chair remained empty the whole time. Needless to say, I was incredibly annoyed. What’s the seat-saving etiquette here?
A: Oh, wait, I once saw this on an episode of Beverly Hills, 90210 … or maybe I’m just confusing your story with actual high school, because that is what it reeks of. Who saves eight chairs in a venue where people work for tips? It’s one thing to arrive early afternoon to, say, a Jazz Aspen Snowmass Labor Day fest concert, spread out a blanket, and set up shop for the entire day—and then have friends join you later. However, in a bar, club, or restaurant where each chair could mean rent money for the server, it’s entirely unacceptable to hold more than one or two spaces. (And even in that instance, at least let someone else occupy the seat until the latecomers arrive.) A party of 10 people who attend a general-admission performance and insist on all being perched shoulder-to-shoulder either needs to find another event that accepts reservations for large parties, or Krazy Glue themselves together to ensure they all arrive at the same time—because, otherwise, you can and should just take a seat.
Have an Aspen etiquette question for Meredith? Submit it to [email protected] and we’ll consider it for a future issue.