James Complains About Unnecessary Seat Allocation


About a week ago Mrs Proclaims and I went to see Jurassic World. It was an odd thing for us to do as we were both relatively ambivalent about seeing the film when it first came out and going to the cinema is not something we do very often.

I think we’re now at a stage in our marriage where we no longer have to pretend we like the same kinds of films as each other. This is something of a relief for both of us.

Also it’s ridiculously expensive to go to our local multiplex. We have quite a big TV, at least in comparison with the tiny portable (with integrated VHS player) that we made do with in the early days of our relationship, so it’s actually not a bad experience watching a film at home. For the price of two cinema tickets we can get a takeaway and a bottle of half-decent wine to augment the evening as well. Unless the film is of the ‘you-must-see -it now-or-risk-being-mocked-socially’ calibre then we might as well just wait for the DVD or Netflix release.

However, because we’re both teachers, we’ve been off work for a few weeks now. I’m in no way pretending that having an extended period off work is anything to complain about, but by the latter end of the holidays we’re scraping the barrel for things to do. Usually by this stage we’ve used up any disposable cash we may have had (and this year we had very little) so if we want to spend time together we’re reduced to going on long walks or watching stuff on TV (obviously this is not the extent of our existence – I’m oversimplifying our lives for the sake of this post…) As it happened, the original Jurassic Park and its inferior sequels were just some of the things we managed to catch on the telly this August.

Despite being fairly indifferent about the third film and actively disliking the second one, we decided that seeing the fourth film in the franchise might not be the worst thing we could do of an evening. Because it had been out for a few weeks, we were reasonably confident that the cinema would be fairly empty. We like an empty cinema, but not for misanthropic reasons. It’s just that it was exactly the kind of film that would appeal to the kids we teach and we definitely didn’t want to run into any of them during the holidays.

So off we went to see a movie that had been out for ages and that ultimately we neither loved nor hated. And overpriced though the whole experience was, it was a pleasant enough way to pass an evening.

Except for the bit before the film when they show the adverts and the trailers.

That was less than enjoyable.

Because at our local cinema, when you buy a ticket, they assign you a seat.

This is all well and good if the film you’re going to see is extremely popular. It might even be considered a bonus to have specific seat allocations in that context.

But when the film has been out for weeks, and the cinema is fairly empty, you don’t really need reservations because there are plenty of available seats.

As there was no need to worry about seat reservations, the guy that sold us the tickets didn’t pay attention to that particular detail and just assigned our seats arbitrarily. Which meant that we were allotted fairly rubbish seats right at the front of the room.

Common sense dictated that no-one was going to hold us to our specific places and that we were therefore free to choose other, preferable, seats.

So we did.

Obviously we didn’t do anything so rebellious as to sit in the ‘premium’ seats when we’d only paid for standard. Some other anarchists did just that, but we accepted our ‘standard’ status with good grace, albeit we moved to ‘standard’ seats in a better location.

The trouble is that we’re habitual rule-followers, so until we were certain that everyone who was coming to see that particular showing of ‘Jurassic World’ had actually arrived, we couldn’t relax.

Because even though there were still plenty of seats, we were worried that somebody really pedantic would have been assigned the seats that we had elected to sit in and would ask us to move. And because we’re rule-followers who hate confrontation, we would have grudgingly obliged.

Obviously no-one did ask us to move – very few people are that doctrinaire in real life, but that didn’t ease our anxiety.

As we are such ardent rule-followers, we always arrive at or before the advertised start time. Like good consumers we sit through every commercial and trailer.

But some radicals don’t arrive as per the ticket instructions. They wander in whenever suits them, missing all the valuable opportunities to be brainwashed into parting with their hard-earned cash on products that they neither need nor want.

Sometimes these independent thinkers miss the first ten minutes of the film; such is their scant regard for ‘the rules’.

Which means neither I nor my beloved can truly relax until the opening credits are a distant memory.

Even though the kind of person who takes the risk of missing the beginning of the film by arriving after the advertised start time is unlikely to be the kind of person to insist on honouring the seat allocation, it could theoretically have happened.

And it couldn’t theoretically happen without the pointless allocating of seats.

So, while I fully understand the allotting of seats when a film is sold out or at near capacity, there is really no need to cause overly anxious people, like us, all this extra stress by printing unnecessary seat numbers on our tickets.

  32 comments for “James Complains About Unnecessary Seat Allocation

  1. August 24, 2015 at 7:27 pm

    Unfortunately people who assign seats are, in my opinion, not open to common sense. “We always do it this way and there is no reason to change just because the action is unnecessary or even ridiculous” appears to be the mantra. Glad you enjoyed the evening. So revel in being a rebel every now and then.

    Liked by 2 people

    • August 24, 2015 at 10:51 pm

      I should embrace my rebellious side more often 🙂


  2. August 24, 2015 at 8:08 pm

    What the actual Heck?! Seating assignments for the cinema? That just sounds like a bad idea all around. Especially considering I could download the movie, and watch it from the best place on earth, my bed! And then get 2 bottles of half decent wine!
    I am kind of in shock at the concept of this seating arrangement. What if the dude sits me next to my arch nemesis? Or what if I have to sit next tto someone that smells really bad? I couldn’t then just go choose another seat.
    Just another good reason to stay at home and watch a movie I have seen a bazillion times!

    Liked by 1 person

    • August 24, 2015 at 10:47 pm

      I did once have a bad smelling person sit quite close to me in the cinema and I did relocate. I worried I might have hurt his feelings but I was subtle and he must have been used to it..

      Liked by 1 person

  3. August 24, 2015 at 8:38 pm

    Wow! Here in the States we have self seating. You pick out your own seat! That being said, Bonaparte and I like to catch the earliest possible showing of any movie. No crowds and we always seem to get the seats we want–but in spite of no crowds, someone always manages to sit smack in front of me–when hundreds of seats are available. I hate that!

    Liked by 1 person

    • August 24, 2015 at 10:48 pm

      That always happens to Mrs Proclaims. She’s not the tallest person in the world and just when we’re getting comfortable some tall person will sit right in front of her.


  4. August 24, 2015 at 10:46 pm

    Like Catherine says, this is unheard of in the US. If you check the fine print, I think that’s one of the things included in the Declaration of Independence. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • August 24, 2015 at 10:50 pm

      Maybe it is just a British thing. It does seem very British now I think about it…


  5. August 25, 2015 at 2:25 am

    Over here when we buy tickets the attendance would let us choose our seats. Usually we go to cinemas with less people so we could choose a better seating position and enjoy the worth of $13.

    Liked by 1 person

    • August 25, 2015 at 3:25 am

      Normally they let us choose our seats here but when it’s quiet they assume it’s implicit that we can ignore the preallocated seat and choose when in the cinema. The trouble with it being implicit rather than explicit is that not everyone understands the rules…

      Liked by 1 person

      • August 26, 2015 at 6:12 am

        Perhaps next time should insist on choosing seats haha~

        Liked by 1 person

      • August 26, 2015 at 4:38 pm

        That would be the sensible thing to do 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  6. August 25, 2015 at 4:22 pm

    Being British myself I am fortunate in not going to a cinema that allocates a seat fro me and I normally go towards the rear of the cinema, although one cinema I used to use has now become a theatre! Nowadays I seldom go to the cinema as most modern films leave me cold. For example the last James Bond film with Daniel Craig was rubbish especially when compared to the earlier Sean Connery ones, there were more people in the film, not so many special effects , oh and a good story line. So for me it’s either a DVD or onto youtube and find an old movie to watch. Btw check out Changing Lanes with Ben Afleck and Samuel L Jackson, it’s about 1.5 hrs long but boy is it good!

    Liked by 1 person

    • August 25, 2015 at 5:35 pm

      I prefer the classic Bonds too, although I think the Daniel Craig films are an improvement on the Pierce Brosnan films. Haven’t seen Changing Lanes but thanks for the recommendation 🙂


      • August 25, 2015 at 5:55 pm

        Many years ago I was on a kibbutz in Israel and we watched a film in the open, as for seats, we used the grass which had a slope on it, the film was about the mafia where a bloke ends up in bed with a horse,(The Godfather I think) I don’t remember much about it as we made our own booze from 100% alcohol, fizzy water and orange juice! But it was a nice way to spend a warm summer night. I belive they now do open air cinemas at a few places around London, shame about the weather

        Liked by 1 person

      • August 25, 2015 at 5:57 pm

        Yeah they always look appealing until I see the price of the tickets. But I like the idea in principle and your kibbutz experience sounds brilliant!

        Liked by 1 person

      • August 25, 2015 at 8:20 pm

        The kibbutz was an amazing experience I spent six months there and believe me it does snow in Israel! I will have to write about it.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. August 25, 2015 at 5:06 pm

    They allocate seats for you there?!
    P.S. “we definitely didn’t want to run into any of them during the holidays” made me laugh.

    Liked by 1 person

    • August 25, 2015 at 5:38 pm

      Glad to make you laugh although I stand by that particular statement…

      Liked by 1 person

      • August 25, 2015 at 5:39 pm

        I wanted to say I feel sad for your student, but if it was me I wouldn’t want to ‘accidentally’ bump into my teachers during holiday too..

        Liked by 1 person

      • August 25, 2015 at 5:49 pm

        Yeah it works both ways- they definitely don’t want to see me…

        Liked by 1 person

  8. August 25, 2015 at 6:01 pm

    I can’t imagine having assigned seats for a movie! I can see it being helpful if the movie is a very popular one and it was just released because in the U.S. there is a tendency to sometimes over-sell the seats so you have people who come in late and are left standing awkwardly on the sides looking for seats until they give up and exchange their tickets for a later showing. If the seats were assigned then I think the over-selling would stop, but I’m afraid that people wouldn’t actually listen to their seat assignments and tell you to, well I’m sure you can imagine what, if you tried to get them to move. Typical Americans I guess… *shakes head*

    ❤ and harp strings,

    Liked by 1 person

    • August 26, 2015 at 4:33 pm

      There are plenty of Brits like that too, which is why the seat assigning is pointless…

      Liked by 1 person

  9. August 25, 2015 at 8:15 pm

    I have never been to a movie in The Land of the Free (😉) that came with an assigned me a seat.

    Liked by 1 person

    • August 25, 2015 at 10:43 pm

      Oh yeh what about drive in movies you have a seat allocated there!!!

      Liked by 1 person

    • August 26, 2015 at 4:35 pm

      I’m not sure it’s a UK thing – it may be just this specific company that does it, but it’s the only cinema I can get to. Certainly I wouldn’t want to put you off visiting our Green and Pleasant Land…

      Liked by 1 person

      • August 27, 2015 at 12:02 pm

        Not put off at all. A Green and Pleasant Land sounds delightful.
        Pardon the jumbled text in my comment. I was typing on my phone and having some issues. I swear alcohol wasn’t involved. Or was it?

        Liked by 1 person

      • August 27, 2015 at 12:05 pm

        I certainly wouldn’t judge you if it was…

        Liked by 1 person

  10. August 27, 2015 at 4:56 am

    And the British Empire moves one step closer to complete and utter anarchy. Your only hope is to stop this disaster in its tracks. Insist that all ticket goers get their seat number stamped in large red letters on their forehead! Not only that, but new facial recognition software could read those numbers, and specially equipped theaters could deliver electric shocks to the seat if an unauthorized person was attempting to sit there.

    On a separate note, I don’t see comments or likes when I view your blog on my iPad, but do see both when I view it on computer. Weird. Up until yesterday I had assumed you’d cut off comments and likes on all your posts.

    Liked by 1 person

    • August 27, 2015 at 12:08 pm

      No idea why it does that on the iPad. I’ve only tested it on Android devices and it seems ok on those. But glad you found your way back to the comments – I feel your suggestions will help the British Empire return to greatness. Obviously we’ll need to build an empire again, but if organised cinema viewing doesn’t set us on the road for glory and world domination then I don’t know what will…


  11. September 8, 2015 at 8:36 am

    I worry about myself sometimes. I was assigned a seat, it wasn’t a good seat and the place was almost empty. I just couldn’t make myself sit somewhere else, I had to sit in ‘my’ seat 😦 A very British thing to do!


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