Monday, 6 June 2011

Seat Wars!



On a normal night in most pubs around the UK, sitting in a seat would not be an issue. However, as quiz hour approaches each and every week something strange begins to happen, coats appear on the back of chairs without people, one lonely woman sits on a table with 7 places, pens out and beer mats lined to show she is awaiting company. The battle over seats is something which at the local quiz has humoured me ever since I started to attend!

At the quiz I mentioned I attend on Sundays, the Moorcock, there are two main areas. One has nice padded seats, plenty of space and windows. The other is the dark dingy corner, cramped with seats that induce a terrible backache. But nevertheless each and every week the same thing happens.....a war for Seats! I am sure the same thing happens up and down the country!

Funny looks, comments that are meant to be overheard and jokes between other teams.....followed by the next few weeks of "table saving" to make sure it is no repeated. The first time we went to the quiz at the local was a bank holiday and not knowing anybody or anything we sat in a seat intended for two. We heard some sighs and a groan from behind us and a comment meant to be overheard..."Bev and ??? won't be happy". Proceeded by dirty looks. There we were, a twenty something couple out for a drink and a bit of quizzing, getting dirty looks and playground comments from a group of fifty somethings because of where we sat.

The following week was another source of amusement. We usually get there about an hour before the quiz as we like to sit down and have a chat, maybe a game of pool or a pump a few pound into the jukebox, but nevertheless the place was empty apart from one elderly woman sitting on a 7 seater table, with her coat on  the back of a chair on an entirely different table and her carrier bag on a chair on another table, the one we sat at last week. The smug sense of victory on her face as we walked in was to be quite honest insanity. Obvioisuly, not being bothered we went to the bar got our drinks, and by the time we had done this a usual table of quizzers had taken their seats.

We walked over to the main area and being no small tables, we took a table with four seats...."They sat over there last week.....taking xxxx table this week". That was a petty comment number one as it was but the following comment just really got to me as it was said to be overheard and in a cruel way...."Don't worry, they wont last long. Be gone in a few weeks". Then one joked "We should have reservations".

You get the picture by now...

So what I am really asking here is why is it that when it comes to the local quiz, an evening intended for fun, do some regulars behave in this way? I am sure you all have experienced this up and down the country but what is it about a simple quiz that causes people to be so, well, territorial and at times childish? I am sure the same people who behave this way do not do so in their normal day to day life, so why does the quiz turn people like this? I know we are all creatures of habit but surely this is too far...

Now before I proceed I want to make it clear that this is not a complaint or rant, its just something which I find funny and that hunmours me. I do not let the comments, which still go on despite us being "regulars", bother me now but always look forward to what sarky comments people will come up with.

And I have experienced the other side of the coin though and know my examples and experiences may be extreme. I have many times been invited to join teams and greeted with general chatter by locals glad to see new faces.

At the end of the day though the pettiness that "seat wars" can induce can be off putting for some. As mentioned I let it wash over me, but particularly at the start of the evening before it fills off, things like this sour the atmosphere and hearing people talk about you in such ways can be off putting I assume for some. Do people intend to scare newbies away? Do people simply want to play against the same teams in the same seats every week? (or as we found out, the team dishing out the main comments were the regular winners, the comments stepped up a gear when we came second by one point and after beating them one week they were notable absent for a few weeks and came back very quietly)

Its odd behavior I cannot quite explain!

All over the issue of where to sit.

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