I travel on the bus a lot. Twice a day, 5 days a week, 52 weeks a year (minus a few weeks holidays) and I love it. It's a great time to unwind, to people watch, to lose yourself in thought for half an hour during that beautiful trip through the limbo of home life and work life where you can do simply nothing but wait to arrive at your destination.
One of the most interesting parts I've found (yes, I find mundane stuff like social etiquette on buses interesting) is dealing with busy buses, or more precisely the people on busy buses. Not crowded to the point people are standing or struggling to find space, but busy enough that there are no ideal* seats available.
Sometimes they don't even have to be that busy; if everyone on the bus is sitting in an ideal seat and has a bag with them this problem can present itself when the bus isn't even half full (or half empty, I'm not sure what the optimistic outlook on bus capacity is).
*An ideal seat is one that has the window available and doesn't require you to climb over someone to get to it.
Regardless of capacity, but assuming there are no other ideal seats available, but there are plenty of seats that are not occupied by patrons but are instead occupied by their bags, what is the optimal way of ensuring they move their bag so that you can sit down and relax for the duration of the journey, preferably without any awkward 'he made me move my bag / I had to make them move their bag' tension between you?
Attempts So Far
Perhaps unsurprisingly, I have in fact made several attempts to ensure other passengers' belongs will not impede my derrière's voyage to its temporary resting place, with mixed results. When I say mixed results, every single time they have been successful in getting the item of dispute out of my bottom's path, but it is the resultant fellow passenger's reactions that have been mixed. Here they are listed in what I have felt has been the most positive reaction to the most negative (judged by the resultant body language, verbal response and eye contact for the remainder of the trip):
- Asking the person 'Can you move your bag please?'
- Asking the person 'Do you mind if I move your bag?'
- Telling the person 'Move your bag.'
- Sitting down on the remaining seat that is left where the person's bag is.
- Moving the person's bag without any other interaction with the person. (As in picking it up and placing it on their feet, I've only done this once, I don't recommend it.)
So as you can tell, I'm a bit of a connoisseur in bag moving, enjoying variety and keeping it fresh, but I'm still really interested to know what IPS's thoughts on the matter are.
- I think bag size matters here, if someone is lugging a huge suitcase around with them on the bus which, for any reason (even because they simply don't want to) isn't in the baggage area, then I'd rather stand than have them move it. They've got enough to deal with, I'll take the hit on this one. So let's assume a bag around small rucksack size unless you want to explicitly address different bag sizes in your answer.
- My ticket does not entitle me to a seat. An important point on this one. As a living, breathing human being I feel I am more entitled to a seat than your nan's groceries but this doesn't mean that I am.
- People on the bus can be any age, any gender, any race, any shape, any size, anything, the only thing they share in common is a habit of placing their bag in between my butt and its planned safe harbour. Feel free to break it down in your answer though if you feel it is relevant.
- It hasn't arisen before, but if someone refused to move their bag on the first attempt, I would make a single follow up attempt to reason with them and then I would drop it and figure out alternative arrangements for where to store my buttocks (likely another seat). I point this out just to clarify that the above list is not a progression through refusals, I'll quite happily accept that someone really wants to keep their bag on the chair.
- Location: UK.
- Bus layout / seating arrangements are single seats arranged in pairs along each side of the bus with an aisle up the middle, thus:
So what do you think IPS, how can I secure a seat to hang my heinie with minimal ill-effects on the person who has to move their bag?