New bag on seat strategy: Let the other guy take the blame

When I boarded the southbound Red Line at Morse at about 7:20 am last
I saw the most egregious violation ever of the “no bags on seat” rule.

A guy was sitting on the aisle with a briefcase on the window seat next
to him. Across the aisle from him, he had placed a large duffel bag and a
garment bag across both seats.

So, that’s one guy, four total seats.

People taking up a seat with their bags really ticks me off. So this
ignorant display of boorish behavior really had me steaming.

By Argyle the train car was getting crowded. As we left Argyle the guy
got up, reached across the aisle and piled the two bags on just the
window seat. So the aisle seat was now open. Then he picked up
the briefcase where he had been sitting and sat back down in the window
seat across the aisle from his pile of bags.

Well, thanks for that

At Lawrence, another guy took the empty seat next to the big pile,
placed HIS bag on the pile, and proceeded to surf the Net on his iPhone.

Meanwhile, I’m doing a slow burn. And all the way downtown other
passengers are giving the second guy the evil eye, thinking he had piled
his bags on the seat. All the while the first bad guy blithely rides to
the Loop, deflecting the blame for his boorishness.

I’m not sure why I let such behavior piss me off like that, but it
really does!


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  • I'm sure the situation will get "much better" when the number of seats per car goes down from about 47 to 38.

    The only solution is one that CTA can't afford, but occasionally works on Metra, and being tried by the airlines:

    Put a conductor in the car, and for each seat occupied by other than a human, the human associated with the baggage pays the full, unsubsidized fare (i.e. $7). At least Metra has luggage racks, where the conductor tells the passenger to put the suitcase.

  • It really pisses me off too, Mr. Tattler.

    Yesterday there was a young man and his backpack taking up two seats on the NB Red. An woman with a cane boarded at the next stop and doofus doesn't even acknowledge that she's standing right in front of him because his phone is oh so compelling. I was standing next to her and asked if she'd like to sit down. She replied that she would appreciate it but that there weren't any seats to which I replied that I'd get her a seat. I leaned over and tapped doofus (who was sitting in priority seating) on the shoulder and asked him politely to remove his backpack so the lady could sit down. He started to yap at me so I had to get all counselor-patrolling-the-halls-at-the-crappy-high-school with him and then he complied. The lady thanked me and, very graciously, him. His pal who was taking up two seats across the aisle started giving me a hard time so I returned the favor. When he called me a bitch I thanked him because, as I tell the kids at school, if you think I'm a bitch that's a good thing because that means I'm doing my job right.

  • I threw a guy's briefcase off the train once when he wouldn't let a very pregnant woman (not me, someone else) sit down. I know I could be arrested for it, but if the situation happened again, I'd do it again.


  • This isn't so much different from pickpocketing, really. Both of them use the victim's higher instincts against them. Pickpockets bank on the likelihood that you'll buy a sympathetic distraction instead of getting suspicious, for fear of offending. Blatant seat hogs bank on the likelihood that you won't immediately be able to get your head around their chutzpah, and therefore that you'll back down in silent confusion rather than be "rude" enough to call them out. The way to deal with it: Believe it, and be assertive, if not on your own behalf, for the sake of your fellow riders.

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