Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Experiment Controversy

You all know by now that I purposely and silently watched for a few months whether passengers would give up their seats to a very pregnant me or any other pregnant women in need of a secure space to sit. The end result was that no one offered their seat. While this suggests that good manners no longer exist, another school of thought is "all you need is ask". I agree with both, and realize that yes, we very much live in a society where if you want something, you better go after it!

I adopt that school of thought in pretty much all aspects of life, from work, to keeping my place in line, to finding a good shopping deal, but maybe I'm old fashioned because I was taught to also give to those who need it more than you. There may be very few people, if any at all, who think like me; who would voluntarily and instantly vacate their seat (designated handicapped seat or not) for the elderly, disabled, a very young child who can hardly stand, or anyone who looks like they might need to sit down, including a pregnant woman.

Yes, I know we can ask for the seat but the point was to see if anyone is considerate enough to offer. Alas, the answer is clear.


SongMonk said...

I can't remember if I said this before, but I there is a part of me that hesitates to make such an offer for fear of offending someone. (Seriously? Yes.)

What I will do is avoid taking an open seat in a crowded train. Of course, doing so rarely results in it going to the neediest person.

Anonymous said...

I woman of certain years with a cane got on the train a couple weeks ago and I asked in voce alta if someone could give her a seat. All the young things taking up the senior and disabled seats playing with their electronic devices pretended not to hear so someone in the back offered her a seat. Since I am close to this woman's age, it was far more respectable for someone 30 years my junior to offer this woman a seat.

And yet, I am offered seats peridically by younger people so I can't say civility is completely dead. It's just becoming more rare.

Anonymous said...

I meant "A woman of certain years..."

Anonymous said...

Although I would offer (and have offered) my seat to a visibly pregnant woman, I agree with SongMonk. We are in the Bay Area, some residents of which engage in a more socially aggressive pursuit of equality. It's interesting to offer a seat to someone and get a very...disappointed or angry response from them.