I was attending a University of Vermont men’s hockey game Sunday afternoon. The second period was only a minute old. Action on the ice was fast and furious. Then, suddenly from my left I hear, “Excuse us, excuse us.” And my view was blocked as this couple was trying to work their way across our row to get to their seats. All of a sudden my view was blocked and my attention was diverted from the game to trying to accommodate these latecomers.
“Unbelievable,” I thought to myself as I tried my let them pass as quickly as possible.
Seriously, they couldn’t wait for a whistle to blow and the action to come to a stop? That’s the considerate, fan-appropriate behavior. Whatever the sport, wait for a break in the action before crossing in front of people who have gotten to their seats on time. Better yet, make a real effort to get to your seats before game time.
The problem of late arrivals isn’t just limited to sporting events. I hear the same complaint from people attending concerts, the movies, a play, a wedding, or the opera. At some events, once the program has started ushers will keep latecomers from going to their seats until there is a natural break just so people already in their seats aren’t disturbed.
Regardless of the event, if you arrive late be considerate of the people already seated and wait until a break in the program before making your way to your seats.
By the way, when you do climb across in front of people already in a row at the movies, the theatre, or a stadium, you should face away from them. It’s one of the few times it’s okay to have your back to someone. That way if you do stumble, you don’t fall right into a stranger’s lap but instead can catch yourself on the back of the seat in front of you.
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About the author
Since 2004, Peter Post has tackled readers' questions in The Boston Sunday Globe's weekly business etiquette advice column, Etiquette at Work. Post is the co-author of "The Etiquette Advantage in Business" and conducts business etiquette seminars across the country. In October 2003 his book "Essential Manners For Men" was released and quickly became a New York Times best seller. He is also the author of "Essential Manners for Couples," "Playing Through–A Guide to the Unwritten Rules of Golf," and co-author of "A Wedding Like No Other." Post is Emily Post's great-grandson. His media appearances include "CBS Sunday Morning," CBS's "The Early Show," NBC's "Today," ABC's "Good Morning America," and "Fox News."