What to do when you encounter the Muni Seat Hog

We’ve all been there. On a crowded train or bus, some jerkoff has his bag on a seat next to him. Sometimes, even giant Styrofoam gets a seat before you do.

We RT’d @amanda___c this morning, and got quite a number of suggestions for how to handle such an egregious breach of public-transit etiquette:

Uh, pick up his bag and throw it on him, then sit down. if he complains, tell him to F— off. 🙂 — @michaeldowling
I usually just start sitting on the seat anyway. The introduction of a stranger’s ass is good motivation. It works. — @McClure_SF
I’ve been known to pick up a bag, plunk it in their lap, and sit. Seats are for people, not bags! — @cripsahoy
I stand in front of them and pass gas… — @murphstahoe

What about you? How do you handle this particular type of Grade-A douchefeather?


  • Chin

    I’d either pretend to call someone on the phone to loudly talk about what a douche this guy is while standing in front of him or ask the driver to make a P.A. announcement singling him out for being a douche bag.

    Either way, some form of public embarrassment is called for.

  • “I usually just start sitting on the seat anyway. The introduction of a stranger’s ass is good motivation. It works. – @McClure_SF”

    Seriously. What are they going to do? “Hey, that’s my bag’s seat!”

    On the 22 once, some guy was passed out in the leg-room seats across from the back door. He was in the window seat, and his grocery bag was on the aisle seat. I just sat down in front of the bag (on the edge of my seat, as it were). He eventually woke up and moved it. But fuck, y’all- there’s no reason to have to give up a seat for someone else’s stuff.

  • Okay, so last week during the brief heavy rain my wife and I boarded an 8 at Market heading into North Beach and there’s a guy sitting in the seat that faces the sideways front seating and HE HAS HIS SHOES AND SOCKS OFF AND HIS BARE FEET STRETCHED OUT ON THAT ROW OF SEATS.

    He’s sitting there smiling and talking to himself while acting like his feet hurt so much and damn, isn’t it great to be able to pull off those soggy shoes and socks and stretch them dogs out for a change? Meanwhile, people are getting on around him, including a number of older ladies, and they’re all shooting daggers at him with their glances. One lady toward the front mentioned it to the driver, who didn’t respond.

    We had already gotten situated and were a couple of seats behind this, but I couldn’t take it anymore. There was the seat he was sitting in and with his legs stretched out, he was taking up an additional three spots. One brave lady had managed to squeeze in behind the driver’s partition and had her head turned away from him in disgust.

    “Hey man,” I said. “How about giving up your footstool so some of these ladies can have a seat?” He didn’t respond, he just kept laughing and talking to himself. Another guy chimed in and urged the same thing, and he was ignored. I exchanged glances with the guy and even though we didn’t say anything to each other, we both knew we were only seconds away from reaching over and dragging the guy out of the seat when he finally just pulled his legs up and sat up straight.

    Three older ladies immediately sat down. He acted like it was a big imposition on him to relinquish his footstool.

    Unfortunately it’s illegal to shoot people like this, but I don’t know what else to suggest. On some people, like this guy, the embarrassment tactic doesn’t work because they are a walking embarrassment in life. They don’t give a damn what people think of them.

  • Kara

    I just mean mug the hell out the person.

  • Kristin

    I stare at the item, stare at the person, and if they don’t get the hint say, “Excuse me, do you think you could move your bag so I could sit down?” Done.

  • salsaman

    “Is anybody sitting here?” works pretty well. If rude rider doesn’t move the bag, I move the bag.

  • Sean

    “Mind if I sit there?”

    • encounter

      The last time someone had a bag on a seat and I asked them to move it, I was given the staredown treatment, cursed out, laughed at, and harassed. This was by a rude single black mother with a baby and teenager with her. (Oh and to make situation better, the teenager joined in the assault.) It doesn’t pay to ask.

  • Rachael

    Asking usually works but if you’re on a bus where someone has headphones in and is asleep (pretending or legitimately), just starting to sit down and push their stuff aside works, too.

    Today I saw a special breed of seat hog: grumpy about moving her bag to let a senior sit down and then, the second the lady gets up, desperate to move the bag back into the seat to prevent another person from sitting down. Didn’t work, but she spent the next 15 minutes sighing loudly and rolling her eyes at the woman seated next to her.

    The nerve! Wanting to sit down on a crowded bus! AAAUGH!

  • JD

    Uh, seriously? I use my words, first off. “Can I sit there.”, not intoned as a question. I think just shoving people’s stuff aside without even saying anything is arguably just as rude.

  • Oh yes. This is the person I always sit next to. Unless they have a transfer for their feet or their bag, it’s fair game.
    I just say, “may I sit down?” and then I start sitting down. Works every time. So far.

  • paa

    I just say “excuse me” and motion at the seat. No questions like “can I sit there” – because I’m GOING to sit there whether they like it or not. I tap their shoulder if they pretend not to hear.

    I always do it politely and not passive-aggressively; never had a problem so far.

    • no way

      I asked politely too, I said calmly and politely “mind if I sit here?” Then got cursed out for asking. Yeah, I’ll do that again….

  • fermata

    how about the people whose bodies encroach into neighboring seats? I’m not just talking about large people who spill over but average-size people who let their elbows jut over arm rests, etc. So, technically they aren’t taking up an extra seat, but they are making it less-than-comfortable to sit there. Sometimes I just squeeze myself in and ignore the obvious signs of annoyance (the eye-rolls, muttering and heavy sighs described by previous commenters), but I don’t always want to get that, umm, intimate with my fellow riders.

    I have no problem politely asking someone to move a bag. But I don’t have the cajones to tell someone to keep their anatomy within their own seat space.

  • Adifah

    I’d be careful about miving other peoples stuff!
    I dont have the cis Privilege thus Id probaly end up missing some teeth… Lol
    But hey if you have dental coverage then go right ahead touch other peoples stuff…

  • Jeanne

    Encountered a very hostile man this morning on the T. He did not want to move his bag and gave me a very dirty look. Then he moved to a different seat when he could. I don’t know what his problem was. He scared me.

  • Dexter Wong

    Years ago, when I was going to CCSF, I got off BART at Balboa Park and waited for the first bus to take me to the campus. It was a crowded 15 and I moved down the aisle until I saw an empty window seat next to a girl. I asked her, “May I sit down?” Seconds passed and I asked again. She looked straight ahead (not at me) and said “No.” I asked, “Why not?” She looked straight ahead again and replied, “Just no.” I would have asked again but the bus had reached Phelan Loop and it was time for me to get off.

  • crossingyellow

    Many folks need to grow a pair, yes you too ladies, its a metaphor anyhow. Read the response from Paa, that’s how a pro does it.

    You don’t ask people since they don’t own these seats, their bag doesn’t own the seat, their extra fat blubber doesn’t own a bench etc. You’re not a mean person for just moving in and doing as you wish. This is why drivers of SF are also really bad, this isn’t about being courteous and asking (though the intent is really nice, just do it). This is why I love NY and the fact that the ppl just make quick decisions.

    I had a bag on a bench one time in NY and I know its not for that, teen walks up and just makes move to sit on my stuff. I swiped it off faster than the Flash takes a piss. NOT 1 single word was used in this encounter, I know that seat isn’t for a bag, a human wants it, I moved my bag quick, no argument needed.

    Stop trying to be nice and just make move, the hoggers will get over it.

  • Carol Wirewoman

    I used to work a construction job in the Financial District and took the bus or streetcar home. I was often pretty grubby looking, with sheetrock dust on my jeans, but nothing harmful. I invariable had this one jerk who would get on a few stops later, sit next to me and proceed to read his newspaper, with his arms stretched out halfway in front of me and take over a seat and a half with his behind. (He was not obese, just rude). I asked him not to do that once because I was getting claustrophobia and he said he wasn’t and that it was his own space. Okay then… the next time I saw him getting on the bus, I cultivated the ability to have a deep chested, wet, hacking cough without covering my mouth. He paused, passed by and sat next to someone else. Warmed my heart. Several more times coughing when he was getting on the bus and he never looked my way again. It’s the same tactic I use when I know someone is going to hit me up for spare change. I believe in being civil to people on the first try. If that doesn’t work, escalation to passive aggressive, non confrontational, sneaky bitch is totally warranted.

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