To ask your opinion on this? If you'd arrived half an hour early to grab a good seat for a school show, would you then give up your seat to someone claiming to have back problems?

(126 Posts)
MumfordandDaughter Wed 27-Mar-13 08:44:04

Lengthy title, but i'd like opinions on this please.

Your 5yo's school show is due to start at 2pm.

You arrive at 1.30pm to grab a good seat because you know the school hall fills up quickly.

By 1.45pm, all the seats are taken. New arrivals have to stand at the side.

At 1.55pm, a man arrives with his wife, asking if you'd mind giving up your seat for him because he has back problems. Your seat is located near the side, next to an empty spot where his wife could stand against the wall beside him.

You refuse, because you've picked a really good spot in the second row where your child will be able to see you from the stage.

The man seems okay with this and walks off.

A minute later, he and his wife return with the janitor. The janitor has a spare chair and sits it directly in front of you.

The man sits down and now your view of the stage is blocked.

You ask if he'd mind swapping, explaining why. His wife politely declines because he's just sat down, and it might hurt him.

Opinions on who was right/wrong?

jamaisjedors Wed 27-Mar-13 08:53:01

Well I would have given up my seat in the first place (but probably been a bit miffed).

I think asking to swap was a bit off tbh.

OTOH this is not the kind of thing I'd stress too much about - there will be other shows, and your DC knew you were there, that's all that matters.

Dawndonna Wed 27-Mar-13 08:55:17

That happened to dh a while back. I had to take him home and he missed our dds performance. Guess that answers your question.

trixymalixy Wed 27-Mar-13 08:55:52

I'd also have given up my seat in the first place. Asking to then swap was very cheeky.

There is no way that your view of the stage was blocked, instead you just became the third row.

No one was unreasonable. Apart from maybe the woman who asked to swap as the person with the bad back was settled.

makemineamalibuandpineapple Wed 27-Mar-13 08:56:19

I think that's pretty cheeky of him actually. If he knew this was going to be a problem then he should have turned up earlier. Also, why did his seat have to be at the front? If he needed one then it could have been anywhere, not blocking the parents who had bothered to turn up earlier. I, like you, would have been miffed.

Why did you ask to swap seats?

Surely the man wanted to see the stage as well, and see his DC perform?

Tbh, I would have given up my seat in the first place, it's not the end of the world if you are not directly in view of your child at one performance.

Yes, maybe they should have got there earlier to be sure of a seat. But it's just a little act of kindness that wouldn't really have put you out too much.

Emilythornesbff Wed 27-Mar-13 08:58:57

I would have given up my seat (unless I too had a physical need) begrudgingly tbh
But they were v rude. The man/ janitor should have brought the extra seat and then asked you to swap.
Never mind. Best let it go. angry grin

SuedeEffectPochette Wed 27-Mar-13 08:59:53

I'd give up my seat to someone who had a problem and stand up myself. Unless I thought for whatever reason it wasn't true (hurt back). It must have been a bit embarrassing to ask for the seat mustn't it? I don't know many/any people who would ask without genuine need tbh.
When my oldest children were young I used to stress about getting the "best seat". Since my twins were born and I arrive everywhere really late I have realised that often you get a better view standing at the back/side, or often there is a spare odd seat near the front anyway when you arrive late. Even if someone sits in front you can just move your head a little and get a great view, I find!

Emilythornesbff Wed 27-Mar-13 09:00:17

I'm assuming he was taller and that's why your view was blocked.

wintertimeisfun Wed 27-Mar-13 09:01:10

i'm with you op on this even though it wasn't the kindest thing to do. if i had had a bad back i wouldn't have had the front to ask someone who had clearly been queuing for ages to give me their seat. if it was that important for him to sit the wife should have got there early to secure a seat for him or they could have asked the school in advance for a seat for him

Shinyshoes1 Wed 27-Mar-13 09:01:18

There was no reason for him to sit at the front . His back would have still been problematic whether he sat front back or sides .

He wanted to get there 5 minutes before the start and bag a good seat . Which he did
You were right not to give up your seat . I wouldn't have done either

However I wouldn't have asked to swap . I would have just either stood at the side for the entire performance so I had a good view or politely asked them to shuffle along if you really couldn't see

I'd give my seat up. I've suffered with back problems in the past but didn't "look" like it (I'm young etc) so I know how horrible it can be to have to stand (on the bus etc on my way to see the specialist) and no-one offer to help.

ProphetOfDoom Wed 27-Mar-13 09:01:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

trixymalixy Wed 27-Mar-13 09:02:12

I'm guessing this is a reverse AIBU.

spottyparrot Wed 27-Mar-13 09:06:46

I would have refused to give up the seat and I would have stated the reason - that I arrived half an hour early to get a good seat to see my child. I think it's obvious people come early and to ask for the seat is outrageously rude whatever the reason.

The person who had a bad back should have either asked the school to put a reserved notice on a chair near the door in advance or upon arrival sought the help of the janitor without interfering with people who had waited a long time to get their position.

Once seated blocking your view, you state your view is blocked - not to swap seats but for his to be shifted by the janitor.

BatmanLovesVodkaAndCherryade Wed 27-Mar-13 09:09:03

What spottyparrot said.

MumfordandDaughter Wed 27-Mar-13 09:09:35

Just to clarify, I'm not either party. I'm friends with one and related to the other. However, neither party knows each other.

It's alll gotten rather messy and i've been plonked in the middle.

fluffyraggies Wed 27-Mar-13 09:10:28

Yes he should have arrived earlier or made other provision. Such as ask the school to reserve a seat somewhere. No need for tit to be at the front. It's not his vision that was the problem. A side seat anywhere would have been fine.

jamaisjedors Wed 27-Mar-13 09:10:48

Yes I thought it might be a reverse AIBU too. Is it OP?

fluffyraggies Wed 27-Mar-13 09:11:14

Not tit - IT!

fluffyraggies Wed 27-Mar-13 09:14:14

In what way has it got messy OP?

Is the mum your friend and the man your Dad?

Emilythornesbff Wed 27-Mar-13 09:14:53

Tell them both you'll put laxatives in their tea if any of them mentions it again.

NotTreadingGrapes Wed 27-Mar-13 09:17:05

He wasn't being U asking someone to stand if he has a physical incapacity.

Unfortunately it was the OP.

I reckon the janitor came over all PC and instead of just getting the man a chair he had to go OTT and give him the Best Seat In The House.

So no-one except the janitor was U really.

(though I do find parents who arrive early to bagsy seats a leeedle bit like Germans and their towels on the sunbed.....wink)

Footface Wed 27-Mar-13 09:17:25

The man was wrong, he should have got there earlier, tbh sounds like he's using his back as an excuse to get a good seat. He's sounds entitled and if he sat directly in front if the woman then I would presume it was on purpose. He sounds like an arse

NotTreadingGrapes Wed 27-Mar-13 09:17:39

(oh yes, and all parties need to get a grip, obviously)

MumfordandDaughter Wed 27-Mar-13 09:20:28

Not sure what reverse AIBU means, sorry. blush
I'm friends with the woman, and the couple are my parents. They were going to see dd's show on my behalf as i was working. It all came to light last night (while they were all ranting to me about what happened) that i knew everyone involved. So now I'm being made to take sides.

My mum thinks she was a very 'rude' young lady, and my friend thinks my dad's a 'faker' and was just wanting her chair.

My dad says he preferred that seat because there was a small space next to it where my mum could stand beside him, to help him up if he needed help. Otherwise, he would have had to stand at the back. The place was bursting full.

My friend says she's never been able to get a good seat at previous shows and her child always gets upset, so this time was determined to get there early.

Floristneedsaname Wed 27-Mar-13 09:20:53

Well, I think the bad back person could have been there earlier or sat anywhere there was a chair really.

I hate school play seating. At our last nativity two women in the front row held up their I-pads to record their DC's performance. All the people behind could see were airborne I-pads with images of these mums DC on them.

A curse was summoned.

ChippingInIsEggceptional Wed 27-Mar-13 09:22:18

I probably would have let him have the seat, more out of 'surprise' than anything. I would have been annoyed though - why didn't he get there early enough to get a seat? and given that he's a grown up hmm he didn't need his wife to stand next to him, so why didn't he ask someone at the back?

Bathsheba Wed 27-Mar-13 09:22:50

I think your Dad should have approached a member of the school staff first and requested that a chair be made available - at the end of t row or off to the side etc - however if he needed a chair he should have been there earlier than he was (presuming you had prewarned hoim that it would be very busy).

His mistake was really asking someone already seated to move.

I agree with your friend. If she is sad keen enough to get there half an hour early to get a decent seat I don't see why she should have to give it up because your dad preferred that seat.

However, it's done now - they are all being very childish if they are going to carry on getting their knickers in a twist about it now.

ChippingInIsEggceptional Wed 27-Mar-13 09:24:31

I'm sure you Dad wouldn't have needed to get up before the end of the performance and so your Mum could have helped him up no matter where your Dad was sitting hmm

Why didn't your parents get there earlier?

I think your parents are the rude ones tbh.

MumfordandDaughter Wed 27-Mar-13 09:25:22

Yes, i agree my they should have gotten there earlier. They apparently left in plenty of time, but the traffic was bad. My friend lives five minutes' walking distance from school.

There was no other seats available in the hall. There was barely any standing room left either as there are four fire doors, and all had to be left clear. This is why my dad went and asked the janitor for a seat. He said to me that he'd told the janitor he didn't mind where he sat, so long as there was room for my mum to stand beside him such as 'over there' (and he pointed to the place my friend was sitting, supposedly just to give an example).

Timetoask Wed 27-Mar-13 09:26:34

I haven't read all the replies but I think the man with back problems is in the wrong and was extremely cheeky asking for the seat in the first

MrsSpagBol Wed 27-Mar-13 09:27:34

If your dad has such strong requirements (has to sit because of a bad back) and preferences (wants your mum to be close to him at the side) then he really should have made the necessary advance arrangements ie ask the school for a reserved seat / get there a lot earlier etc etc

We all have preferences - your friend's preference was to ensure she got a good seat and a clear view, and she took the necessary steps to ensure this (got there early).

It's sort of cheeky to have all these requirements and preferences and then just expect everyone else to put aside theirs to accommodate yours at the last minute.

CloudsAndTrees Wed 27-Mar-13 09:27:41

Your parents were out of order. They should have got there earlier if they knew they needed to get a seat, and as they didn't, they should have had to use seats at the side without a good view. It was awful of them to allow the rude janitor to put a seat in front of someone else.

The fact that they didn't just take any seat when it was needed, and instead allowed someone else's view to be ruined, shows they were being selfish. Apart from anything else, they are grandparents, and in ten pecking order of who gets to see a child's show, parents trump grandparents.

I would have complained just as loudly about the janitor being so rude as your parents did. I'd be ashamed of them if I were you.

ENormaSnob Wed 27-Mar-13 09:28:47

I agree with your friend.

If his back is that bad he should've got there early enough to get a premium seat.

My mobility is massively reduced at the moment and I wouldn't expect to rock up 5 minutes before the performance and get a seat.

My gran is physically disabled and arrives 30 minutes prior to the dc shows at school so she can sit. There's no way she'd do what your dad did.

Footface Wed 27-Mar-13 09:28:55

I think your dad could have swapped chairs to make everyone happy

Emilythornesbff Wed 27-Mar-13 09:29:13

Not sure why being seated in the front row After arriving by the skin of your teeth would give anyone cause to complain.

I would just "mmmmm" not commitally when anyone brings it up.

Timetoask Wed 27-Mar-13 09:29:42

I haven't read all the replies but I think the man with back problems is in the wrong and was extremely cheeky asking for the seat in the first place.
1. If you have back problems and need a seat then make sure you arrive early
2. If you don't make it early, then by all means ask the janitor for a chair but then don't expect it to be placed in front of everybody else
3. He sould gave sat at the back

Icelollycraving Wed 27-Mar-13 09:31:44

If an older man asked for my seat because he had a bad back I would get up,no question. I would be pissed off,no question!
Tbh your mum & dad should have got there earlier. Your friend was rude asking to swap & then to call him a faker. You don't say rude things about your friends parents to their face anyway.

Emilythornesbff Wed 27-Mar-13 09:32:48

Your mum was rude in her " polite" comment about your dad not being able to move. Sorry.

Emilythornesbff Wed 27-Mar-13 09:33:27

True icelolly

StuntGirl Wed 27-Mar-13 09:34:26

Your dad was being cheeky and behaved rudely. As did your mum if she backed him up over this.

There was no harm in asking but should have accepted your friends answer. To then plonk himself in front of her and refuse to move was spiteful and a bit childish.

CloudsAndTrees Wed 27-Mar-13 09:34:45

I don't think the friend was rude when she asked to swap seats. She shouldn't have been put in the position where she needed to ask in the first place.

LadyBeagleEyes Wed 27-Mar-13 09:35:06

You'r dad should have had the same forward thinking as your friend and got there half an hour early too.

Chandon Wed 27-Mar-13 09:35:10

I think the friend was BU, and precious and dramatic (her child getting upset if mummy did not have a good seat? really?)

Also, they are all taking this way too seriously.

arriving half an hour early, really? This would have never occurred to me! I would arrive 5 minutes before, and wonder why it is packed already grin.

cocolocopoco Wed 27-Mar-13 09:36:12

Is this the first time your parents have been to a school show, op? If so, that could explain why your dad didn't think to get there very early to ensure a seat.

Bathsheba Wed 27-Mar-13 09:37:25

You Dad also sat in the car to get to the school, walked in, walked away to get the janitor, walked in again and sat down.

Now obviously people with bad backs can and do move around in your friend's defence it may well have looked like he was a bit of a chancer who arrived late and wanted a seat...

BuggedByJake Wed 27-Mar-13 09:37:59

I think the man should have either got there earlier or asked a member of staff for a chair before asking someone to idea why the janitor couldn't just put him at the back so he didn't block the veiw of anyone who was already seated.
I can see why the woman was upset but if it's anything like our school plays you can't see a thing unless you get on the front row anyway.
After 8yrs of school plays I have learnt to just enjoying listening & if I actually get to see my child that's a bonus.My ds just likes to know I'm there.
Far too much fuss being made about nothing really, she should be glad she actually got to go, plenty of mums can't get time off work for such things.

Lucyellensmum95 Wed 27-Mar-13 09:38:22

OP - repeat after me "i'm not getting involved" say this, over and over until your friends and relatives get the picture - it shouldnt take more than two or three repeats.

Lets face it, these things are usually totally shite anyway - we only go to please our kids so you just hve to pop up when you see little cressida or ptolomy and wave, then you can go back to playing angry birds on your phone grin

MumfordandDaughter Wed 27-Mar-13 09:38:40

I'm not 'ashamed' of my parents. Although, i do agree they were being unreasonable. The conversation between them all was apparently very polite, and my dad didn't pressurise my friend into giving up her chair.

However, it was my friend's retelling of the story last night (before i told her the couple were my parents) that made me think perhaps they were all somewhat unreasonable. She said, 'I'd have given my chair up for someone with crutches or a stick, but for all i know he could have been a faker who just didn't want to stand.'

My dad said he didn't realise he was blocking the woman's view until she'd said otherwise. The janitor had sat him there so my mum could stand beside him, and because it was right next to the exit door so he wouldn't get bashed about once the show finished.

Once he'd sat down and got himself settled, my friend then asked him to swap. He'd said he would have done, but my mum said no because she knows it's sore for him to go from sitting to standing once, let alone twice in such a short space of time. There was no room to move the chair over a few inches either.

My dad told me he had tried scooting down in his chair as much as he could, which my friend later acknowledged when talking to me, but as he's so tall this really made no difference.

NotTreadingGrapes Wed 27-Mar-13 09:41:10

Chandon- thank heavens. Thought I'd stepped into a parallel universe for a minute.

The friend was uber precious and def more out of order than the (presumably elderly) man with a disability.

Emilythornesbff Wed 27-Mar-13 09:41:22

Actually cloudsi agree. Buti think it's rude to call him a faker to op.

He does have a bad back I take it. grin

And I disagree about the friend being precious. What's wrong with wanting everything to go well for your dc's performance and. Wanting to see it.

I'm in full support of any PFB type behaviour btw. The world would be a better place for it. smile

FasterStronger Wed 27-Mar-13 09:41:28

At least they know to arrive early next time.

firawla Wed 27-Mar-13 09:43:35

your parents were the unreasonable ones, no wonder your friend was annoyed with their behaviour so can't blame her if she was a bit rude - they should have gone early and sorted it out before you dont just demand someones seat then plonk yourself in front and block their view!!

CloudsAndTrees Wed 27-Mar-13 09:45:06

You might not be ashamed, but aren't you even a little embarrassed by your parents behaving so selfishly towards another parent at your child's school? I would be. Grandparents have no right to spoil something as special as a child's school performance for a parent, especially when it's clear from the situation that the parent got there early to get a good view.

Some people aren't that fussed about school shows, but some parents treasure them and see them as something special that they make a big effort for. If your friend feels like that about it, I can well understand why she was upset by what your parents did, and I think she deserves an apology.

Chandon Wed 27-Mar-13 09:47:16

I think it was karma really, and quite funny.

Stroppy woman refuses to give up seat, then gets her comeuppance grin as the person she refused the seat gets sat in front of her.

tell your friend it was karma wink

TheCraicDealer Wed 27-Mar-13 09:52:30

They were both being unreasonable, refuse to get involved. If they bring it up again say, "I swear to fuck, I will get the kids to re-stage this bloody performance just so we can all forget about it and move on!".

Hulababy Wed 27-Mar-13 09:54:09

Sorry, I think your parents were being unreasonable.

When the janitor placed the seat directly in front of the woman he must have known he'd block her view. He got there late, he should have made do with his seat being placed anywhere n the hall, not just a place with the good view. Also when your mum said no to him moving, he should have agreed to move regardless, or at the very least asked your mum to swap with the other woman.

I'm not very tall. If a tall man sat in front of me I wouldn't be able to see at all. I'd have probably ended up having to stand up at the side in order to see.

notimefors Wed 27-Mar-13 09:59:28

I think your parents were rude tbh.

2rebecca Wed 27-Mar-13 10:01:14

I agree that your parents were unreasonable, if there are limited seats I think parents should be given priority over grandparents anyway. The janitor shouldn't have put the seat blocking the woman's view and your dad was unreasonable not to try and give her a view of her daughter. Why should he punish the little girl who wanted to see her mum? Asking someone near the front to swap was unreasonable, someone at the back may have been more obliging but in general I think he should have just asked the janitor for a seat rather than ask the friend. You wouldn't try and shove someone out of their seat at a cinema or theatre why should you at a school play?
Next time I wouldn't be telling my parents when the school play is if they're going to behave that badly towards my friends.

riskit4abiskit Wed 27-Mar-13 10:01:54

I agree your parents were unreasonable, and I am inwardly cringing at the thought of my parents or in laws doing the same!

Surely it wasn't just your friend but also those all around and behind who were blocked? Just like I have bladder issues so I sit near aisle and near back so I don't disturb others if I leave, if I was tall I would not sit right at the front, bad back or not.

I think the best solution would be to suggest to the school that on the letters or tickets for the show people request a reserved disabled spot if they need one in advance. Then this situation would not happen, and perhaps you suggesting this idea might mollify all concerned?

maddening Wed 27-Mar-13 10:04:18

They were unreasonable as there was a free seat for the person with a bad back - his wife could have stood as per all other late arrivers without physical problems.

foxache Wed 27-Mar-13 10:12:59

Hey OP it's your fault! grin You should have warned your parents about the cut-throat seating at school plays.

Really it's a shame, and nobody's fault. Your parents were inexperienced and your friend had made an effort for a good place. I hope it's resolved soon.

(My dad went to ds's play for me once and popped outside the classroom door, into the playground between acts for a fag blush)

diddl Wed 27-Mar-13 10:13:02

So where did the seat come from?

Did the janitor magic up an extra one or was it an empty one which he placed-for whatever reason in the way of others?

Because if it was an empty one already in the hall-why didn't your Dad just sit in it?

And surely your Dad could have asked anyone sitting along the side to stand-not just someone near the front?

maddening Wed 27-Mar-13 10:15:03

Sorry I read it as there was one seat next to your friend and by the wall.

I think they were unreasonable to pick one person to ask - they should have asked the janitor in the first place or asked the whole group of people there if anyone was willing to give up a chair - they shouldn't have chosen a good spot based on where your mum could stand - and the group of people they should have approached should have been the people at the back.

cocoplops Wed 27-Mar-13 10:15:36

Oohhh sounds very awkward for you! I would've given up my seat tbh, especially for grandparents - would've been an automatic, polite reaction. I might've been a bit pissed off afterwards (especially having made an effort to get there early) but would try and bask in the warm glow that I had done.the.right.thing. I would've stood to the side so I could definitely see though.

Grandparents don't necessarily know the lay of the land with performances, timings to get there or that it would've been better to see if they could've got a reserved seat. But unless he obviously looks like he has a bad back I can see how your friend might've not wanted to (although not everyone who is poorly or disabled looks like it).

Think it was cheeky that your friend asked to swap. I probably would've asked your Mum if she would like her seat though, apologising for not moving, saying I had come really early to see it as my DD gets upset if she can't see me, and if I had your Mum's standing spot at least she would get to see me.

All a bit swings and roundabouts really. As I bet the whole time the whole lot of them were simmering with annoyance and uncomfortableness, rather than enjoying the performance anyway. I think with school performances you just have to take them good humouredly - if you get to see a hair on their head through sixteen children and a tall bloke then you're doing well!

2rebecca Wed 27-Mar-13 10:19:59

If there are reserved disabled spots they shouldn't be all at the front, but edge seats, otherwise everyone will decide they have a disability. It sounds an administrative hassle though. I think if you have a disability you ensure you get there early, even allowing for bad traffic.
Most school plays manage to cope with this.
Some only allow 2 tickets per child to conform with fire regulations and ensure they only give out as many tickets as there are seats. All these people standing at the side sounds a nuisance and possibly unsafe.

SarahBumBarer Wed 27-Mar-13 10:23:36

Your dad needs to grow the hell up. Needs to have his wife standing beside him? I'd expect a 6 year old to be more mature than that.

PlainBefuddled Wed 27-Mar-13 10:28:03

Why didn't 'Soreback man' get there earlier to ensure a seat?

It really annoys me when people arrive to this sort of thing and sort of throw up their arms, with a why didn't you cater for ME attitude.

Thumbwitch Wed 27-Mar-13 10:29:18

I agree that he should have got there earlier. I know they tried and the traffic was bad but was it unexpectedly bad? Or was it just standard rush hour/school pick up traffic? In which case they should have planned ahead better.

Your friend did plan ahead, so she was not unreasonable to not want to give her seat up. The janitor could probably have placed your Dad elsewhere.

All things considered, it was a bit of a mess but your Dad and Mum created the mess and should stop blaming your friend.

PlainBefuddled Wed 27-Mar-13 10:30:30

Your parents were wrong.

JustGiveMeFiveMinutes Wed 27-Mar-13 10:31:28

I don't think you can take sides OP because I think they all sound like they were rude and unreasonable. It'll be ancient history soon.

foxache Wed 27-Mar-13 10:32:23

2rebecca, you're right, and it's sad that a school couldn't arrange a disabled seating system without the expectation that people (parents of the school!) will abuse it. It's true that people should arrive early.

MardyBra Wed 27-Mar-13 10:37:20

Since when do we have janitors in this country?

MardyBra Wed 27-Mar-13 10:38:03

I'm Team Friend btw.

footphobic Wed 27-Mar-13 10:40:29

I think most people with medical conditions that cause pain and discomfort don't ask for or expect special treatment, especially for a show which might last only an hour or so.

I have severe problems with joints and muscles. I can't stand for long, it's also painful to sit. For our school shows at the primary, most of the adult seating is on low child size chairs placed very close together, so not comfortable at all.

We always want a good seat near the front so we get there early. By the end of the performance I will usually be very sore. That's just the way it is. I enjoy watching my child, I can manage the extra pain for a couple of hours and take a couple of ibuprofen as required wink.

I don't expect anyone to give up a seat for me. If I was delayed for any reason I still wouldn't expect it. If I was desperate and had to ask, I would ask someone near the back not someone who had clearly arrived early.

I would think it rude if a member of staff plonked me directly in front of someone else near the front and I would have suggested somewhere else.

There was obviously an element of your parents wanting to be seated near the front though, otherwise they would have just asked someone nearer the back.

fascicle Wed 27-Mar-13 10:41:02

The perfect AIBU, OP - you have a unique insight into each party's perspective.

Never mind the rights and wrongs - you all need to have a good laugh about it smile

ariane5 Wed 27-Mar-13 10:43:04

At my dcs school the first row and sometimes second row are always reserved for pta/headteachers from other schools etc etc.

Perhaps the parent in question should have made the school aware of his back problem prior to the concert and they could have reserved a seat for him?
If it was a sudden thing then I do not see why he couldn't have sat in the spare seat OP mentioned.

I would have given my seat up if asked though as I'd have felt too guilty not to.

ZZZenAgain Wed 27-Mar-13 10:57:15

I think no one was seriously at fault but all could have been more thoughtful.

Yes, your friend could have acquiesed, I probably would if asked by an elderly person. BUt where would she have gone? Your mother was standing in the space to the side so she would have had to go right to the back presumably and stand behind those already standing there. She would have seen nothing. If it had meant moving to a seat nearby, I am sure she would have done it.
In any case it was not just your friend who did not give up her seat for your father. There were people behind her and sitting next to her who overheard. Had someone further down the row given up his/her seat, everyone could have moved along and there would have been space for your father to sit and your mother to stand.

Your father could have offered when the seat arrived to let her take it and sit in front of him, so she still had a good view. It is annoying when you are not tall and then a taller person chooses to sit right in front of you obscuring your view. I wish tall people would sometimes consider sitting towards the back but I don't think it occurs to many of them.It was not unreasonable of your friend to suggest swopping seats. After all if they had swapped, she would have had a good view and your father presumably would have had a good view since he is taller than her.

Your mother could have been more courteous in replying to the friend. I think your mother was worried about him and stressed in that situation, that is why she got snappy with the friend.

In this case, maybe if the place was so packed with people standing at the back, the only place the janitor could fit in a chair was at the front or in an aisle if there was one down the middle.

It is all a bit unfortunate but not really a dramatic affair. No one behaved outrageously and everyone had a reasonable reason for what they did.

ZZZenAgain Wed 27-Mar-13 11:00:55

oh just seen you wrote that your mother politely declined, so she was courteous.

ZZZenAgain Wed 27-Mar-13 11:02:49

Couldn't your father have asked someone sitting in the back row to give him a seat? For that person the difference between sitting right at the back or standing at the back would surely have been minimal? He could have remained seating until his wife was able to come and help him get up after the show.

I think you have to try and cause as little disruption as possible or get there very early to get a seat which is convenient for you tbh

cocoplops Wed 27-Mar-13 11:10:15

Just thinking about this - I'm coming at this seeing it from the perspective of my parents. My DF has heart problems and my Mum is his carer. DF and DM get very stressed by being late, being somewhere new etc. So I could see how this type of thing could happen.

However, in my parents case, I don't think they would actually have ever asked for a seat at the front (or probably anywhere - unless DF was about to keel over) as they wouldn't want to inconvenience anyone or cause a fuss. I reckon my DF and DM upon seeing a packed hall would've packed my DF off to sit in the car or outside the hall - and my DM would've stood where she could so she could give a wave to my DC and hopefully see a bit of the play. So maybe you're parents are a wee BU. But I would've still given up my seat.

cocoplops Wed 27-Mar-13 11:11:16

your not you're <tuts at self>

ElliesWellies Wed 27-Mar-13 11:18:03

I think the person with back problems should have turned up earlier. Given the time they turned up, think they should have asked for an extra chair straight away, rather than asking other people to give their seats up.

HarrietSchulenberg Wed 27-Mar-13 11:22:38

YANBU. Can't see why your dad couldn't have asked for an extra seat in the first place, then placed it at the back. No reason for him to sit at the front. Or you could have warned him that it would be busy and advised parents to get there early, but hindsight is a wonderful thing but not much use here (sorry).

HarrietSchulenberg Wed 27-Mar-13 11:22:54

Sorry, that was a YABU.

Iamcountingto3 Wed 27-Mar-13 11:24:35

I would have given up my seat, but I think your parents are most in the wrong - sorry! They arrived 5 mins before the show was due to start - unless the traffic was INCREDIBLY bad, they didn't leave enough time (you warned them to arrive early, right?) And even if they did. tbh, I tend to think that;s just how it goes sometimes...

They also asked someone near the front for a seat - ie asking to have one of the best seats in the house - rather than asking someone near the back, where the seats are at less of a 'premium' if you know what I mean. I know you've said there was an empty spot too for your mum, but I can't believe they couldn't have worked round that (eg. your dad waited in his seat until others had left at the end.

That said, I agree that the janitor didn't help things - but does your dad really need your mum standing right next to him?

And no, I wouldn't have asked your dad to sop seats. Although I would probably have sighed quite loudly wink

sweetiepie1979 Wed 27-Mar-13 11:27:42

I would have given up my seat in the first instance. Karma!

Dancergirl Wed 27-Mar-13 11:27:45

A few years ago, our school experimented with giving out seat numbers for the school play. It was pure pot luck what seat you got. It was brilliant IMO, none of this standing around in the cold for hours or having to turn up early to get a decent seat and no arguments over who sits where.

Unfortunately the went back to the usual free for all the following year!

MoominmammasHandbag Wed 27-Mar-13 11:32:45

Everytime I hear the word "janitor" I am 8 years old again watching "Hong Kong Fooey"
slinks away having added nothing to the debate

BlissfullyIgnorant Wed 27-Mar-13 11:33:06

Ah...the man knew about his problem and should have asked for a reserved seat suitable for his condition in advance of the event. However, there was no reservation, so it would have been kind for you to let him sit in the chair and stand at the side where there was probably a better view anyway.
Someone had me out of a seat at a dance once, because it was 'her seat'. As I stood up I told her I hoped she would die soon (perhaps a little harsh, I know) then DH had a rant at her about my walking stick and clearly obvious mobility problem. The only other seats were toilets. hmm

shewhowines Wed 27-Mar-13 11:33:31

On the fence here.

KansasCityOctopus Wed 27-Mar-13 11:38:05

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

NoHaudinMaWheest Wed 27-Mar-13 11:38:56

Janitor is the standard Scottish word used where English people would use caretaker.

LadyBeagleEyes Wed 27-Mar-13 11:41:41

And how did they know your friend didn't have health issues herself?

diddl Wed 27-Mar-13 11:46:10

Why does your friend think that your Dad is a "faker"?

I find my back starts to ache if I have to stand for any length of time-I'm sure I'm not alone!

But tbh, I just consider it tough on my part if I don't get there early enough for a seat-and wouldn't dream of asking anyone for a seat!

OP-what does "back problems" actually mean?

Startail Wed 27-Mar-13 11:51:33

He can fuck off, he need a seat not any seat. Wandering up to the front, rather than swapping with someone at the back is just fucking cheeky.

bedmonster Wed 27-Mar-13 11:54:08

I think your parents WBU and your friend was perfectly within her rights to say no. You have a bad back, you phone the school in advance and ask them to reserve you a space. You don't just saunter in and expect someone who has been sitting for half an hour to reserve a good spot to move because you have a bad back. Sounds very presumptious and rude.
(I am always one of those parents who isn't arsed about getting to these things an hour early and is happy to stand at the side and watch - you get a better view anyway!)

josiejay Wed 27-Mar-13 11:58:48

Your friend called your dad a 'faker' to you?!! That is very rude. Regardless of what she thinks about your parents she shouldn't be putting you in the middle of a row with them.

MumfordandDaughter Wed 27-Mar-13 12:03:47

I did prewarn them how busy it would be, but i think they underestimated it tbh. They said they left in plenty of time but the traffic was unexpectedly busy.

My dad said he told my friend he wouldn't have minded if she wanted to stand in front of him (this was in the first instance, when he asked for her chair), rather than stand at the back. How very considerate of him...hmm TBH, i don't think my parents realise how they come across to other people sometimes. They are always very polite, and seem to think this always makes them correct.

The janitor apparently brought the seat from a nearby classroom, as there was none left in the hall whatsoever.

I'm dreading 3pm as my friend will pounce at me and demand to know what my parents have been saying. It's all very childish. No idea why I've been roped into it.

Samu2 Wed 27-Mar-13 12:05:42

I don't think you should have moved and I say this as someone with an awful bad back myself, it hurts me to stand for longer than a few minutes. I make sure I arrive somewhere in good time to get a seat and never expect anyone to give a seat up for me.

The man and his wife sound like entitled brats.

MumfordandDaughter Wed 27-Mar-13 12:05:55

He has an ulcer and spinal arthritis, diddl.

SirChenjin Wed 27-Mar-13 12:08:01

Actually, the correct word up here is Janny - or The Janny as he's usually known! Or maybe it's Jannie? confused

Your parents WBU - he should not have expected someone to give up their seat. If you have such a bad back that you can't stand for an hour then you phone ahead and reserve a seat, or you ask the Janny/ie for help and sit at the back/side, or you don't go. What you don't do it plonk yourself in front of someone and block their view - v childish.

And yes, I do know what it's like to have a bad back before someone starts with that...

Samu2 Wed 27-Mar-13 12:08:23

Oh they are your parents blush

My opinion still stands though. They were rude.

Samu2 Wed 27-Mar-13 12:10:16

Your friend is going to demand to know what has been said?

She doesn't sound like a good friend. If it was me I would let it go knowing it was my friends parents so not to put my friend in the middle.

mrsbungle Wed 27-Mar-13 12:20:31

Well I think your parents were rude and should not have asked someone to get out of their seat - agree with those who say they should have either got there earlier or made arrangements with the school before hand due to the back problem. I don't think it's fair to ask other people to move.

However, I now think your friend is bring very unreasonable if she is going to pounce on you after school about it.

EarlyInTheMorning Wed 27-Mar-13 12:22:38

I am being unreasonable because I haven't read the whole thread but I just want to say, I hate it when parents 'save' a seat at school shows, assemblies, etc. I'm probably being unreasonable about thinking that too.

anothermadamebutterfly Wed 27-Mar-13 12:39:48

Your parents were slightly unreasonable, but overall I think your friend was very rude. I would always give up my seat for an elderly person. She could have seen perfectly well standing.

I actually think your friend is being ridiculous - this is a school play, FFS, all that matters is that you get to see your DC, they know you are there, and everybody should be happy.

piprabbit Wed 27-Mar-13 12:49:26

I hate competitive queuing for school performances. My DCs school have had keen parents queuing from 8:30am for a 10am performance. The school really don't need a bunch of adults loitering around for hours getting in the way of everyone trying to go through reception.
And don't start me on families who try to sneak in an 'extra' adult when the school has clearly, repeatedly and politely set a limit per family.

ZZZenAgain Wed 27-Mar-13 12:50:01

just explain to your friend that your father has an ulcer and spinal arthritis which makes standing extremely painful for him. It is also genuinely painful for him to sit down and to stand up because of the pressure that is placed on the spine when he does this. (Presumably the poor man is pain almost all the time). Say you know that to look at him, it isn't always that obvious but unfortunately he really does have great pain with it and could not have remained standing through the show. You wish they had got there early enough to organise a seat or that you had thought to arrange something ahead of time for him but unfortunately things didn't work out that way. You can say truthfully you are really embarrassed about the whole thing because you feel they could have handled it differently and you are sorry that despite getting there so early she did not get a good view of the show.

What can you do other than say you see her point, you are sorry and you are in an uncomfortable position since you care about her and you care about your parent? Invite her and her dd round to tea. Ask her if she would be able to get past it and tell her you're going to have to call the school ahead of time next time something like this happens, so you find a better solution for him.At least you can learn from how things went, how to improve the situation if it crops up again.

If she is a half-way decent person, she will get past this fairly minor business IMO, as will your parents.

diddl Wed 27-Mar-13 12:51:58

Like I said, I wouldn't want to give up my seat as my back starts to ache when standing.

So if someone said they had "back problems" & could they have my seat, I'd probably say no.

But really, I don't have "back problems" do I - it just aches when I stand for a time!

I think it's unfortunate at these events as unless ticketed, it really is first come first served, and it seems that no provision is made for disabled.

I do wonder why, on seeing that the place was packed, they didn't ask for an extra chair rather than ask someone (at the front) to give up their seat?

Or ask someone else when friend said no?

Emilythornesbff Wed 27-Mar-13 12:54:53

zzz by far the best post.

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Wed 27-Mar-13 12:58:43

I don't understand why they want you to take sides.

Are they all 5 years old?

They want you to do what? Come down and agree that they were right? I don't understand what they all want. Why do they all need you to rule on who was right and who was wrong. Does it even matter at this point?

I'm afraid I would be asking them why they needed me to adjudicate and what earthly difference what I thought would make to an incident that has already happened.

tbh, I don't understand why someone didn't just ask the janitor to fetch a couple more chairs or go and find them themselves. That seems to me to have been the obvious solution. That's what I did if they'd run out of chairs at my kids junior school stuff. Asked for another one.

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Wed 27-Mar-13 13:02:05

in the first place, I mean. I know they did in the end.

Owllady Wed 27-Mar-13 13:03:10

I would have given up my seat without even thinking about it tbh and I agree with zzz too

I would have rather have given up my seat to a faker rather than not giving it up to someone who was in serious pain. I am very mindful that disabilities are not always obvious as my sister has cystic fibrosis and even in the later stages of the condition she looked completely normal, shocking eh? sad

diddl Wed 27-Mar-13 13:08:49

I think you need to impress upon your friend that your Dad isn't a "faker" & on your parents that your friend wasn't rude & then say that the topic is no longer up for discussion.

It is weird that they seem to be clamouring for some final say from OP on who was right & who was wrong.

ubik Wed 27-Mar-13 13:12:51

why does someone with back problems have to sit at the front? Surely they just need to sit down...

stressyBessy22 Wed 27-Mar-13 13:26:41

I think the janitor was trying to make a point!!
I once went to see my child in a school nativity play with a 36 hour old baby and nobody offered me their seat.It was in a church and all they had to do was slither up the pew a bit.

HoneyStepMummy Wed 27-Mar-13 13:27:04

OP, TBH if I was put in the middle of this I would say "I'm sorry, I really don't want to be involved. Sorry you feel upset about what happened, but it really is over and done with."

Even though I'm the type of person who does give up their seat on the tube etc, I think the man with the bad back should have planned better. After all, he knows that he has this problem. It wasn't fair to impose this on someone else. Had could have;

a) planned better like the friend who got there early, because he knows he has a bad back

b) called the school and see if they could reserve a seat for him, any seat, ^ because he has a bad back^

c) if all else failed and he couldn't get there early enough, ask the janitor the get him a chair and put it in the back row, because despite him having a bad back he shouldn't put anyone else out

Waspie Wed 27-Mar-13 13:29:37

I’m surprised your father wanted to sit down. Sitting is the worst position for back problems. Either standing or lying down are much better positions for back pain sufferers. <said as the possessor of a very beautiful 6 inch long post operative back scar smile >

I think your parents were very unreasonable. If they’d needed special consideration they should have arranged this with the school in advance and had a suitable place reserved.

Kat101 Wed 27-Mar-13 13:32:04

I think your parents did owe your friend an apology. It seems they were in unchartered territory for them, bundled in too late for a suitable seat for their needs and then got it all wrong. I know they didn't do it on purpose but they did ruin the performance for your friend.

I have been in the friends position, and it was so busy that my DS didn't see me and thought I hadn't turned up. it made me feel awful and I am now much more assertive. I wouldve gone and collared the janitor and got things sorted but then age and number of children has turned me into a lairy cow

"TBH, i don't think my parents realise how they come across to other people sometimes. They are always very polite, and seem to think this always makes them correct."
Oh this did make me smile!

Bramshott Wed 27-Mar-13 13:38:50

I think all you need to say to your friend later was "oh god, my parents [roll eyes, wry smile] - I TOLD them they needed to get there early". If she has any tact she'll leave it at that.

aderynlas Wed 27-Mar-13 13:43:30

The thing is this is over, what exactly does your friend want you to do about it now. Over the years Ive seen something that has happened at a school play, fete parent evening drag on for weeks. Other parents taking sides children no longer playing together, and the initial complaint is generally long forgotten.

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