Why does having our seat stolen get us so upset?!

February 5, 2012 at 6:50 pm | Posted in Daily Life | 18 Comments
Tags: , ,

Is this seat taken?

Yesterday after picking my son up from pre-school I decided to incentivise him to do chores with me by promising a trip to Costa for a babyccino and a muffin. It worked; not as well as I’d hoped, but after paying 50p for a pair of binoculars in Save the Children I got my jobs for the day done with both mother and child relatively intact.

So we made it into the warm, comforting surroundings of Costa and because time had been of the essence, I had the buggy with me for the speed-chore run. I folded and stowed the buggy by a table and placed my son on the chair while I ordered.

Inevitably he couldn’t sit still and came to make his cake preference known – the biggest and most chocolate laden on the counter was the obvious choice. During this time a large family arrived, mum joining the queue behind me while the remainder of the brood moved furniture around to accommodate the six of them.  This include the spot I had ear marked.

And all of a sudden I felt panic. Calm down I said to myself, this is totally ridiculous, I can find another table. But it escalated to a deep routed sense of upset. I was taking it very personally that these people hadn’t a) noticed the buggy, b) checked the entire place for mother-buggy-toddler combos such as I who had planned their seating arrangements and c) sat three deep on two chairs to save space.

So my expectations were totally unjust and unfounded yet I couldn’t shake them off.

Still one table for two left I reassured myself. But just as my blood pressure started to return to normal, another mother arrived with her daughter and swiftly slotted themselves into the remaining table by our buggy. Serves me right for trying to secure a spot pre-order – so not good coffee shop etiquette.

So I try and juggle toddler, tray, bag and buggy and all tables are now gone. Dad of family of six even asks if I want some help getting the pushchair out of the spot it is now wedged into because of his table rearrangement. At which point it happens. My bottom lip quivers.

‘Are you alright?!’ the man asks, slightly concerned at this shaking, unhinged woman. At which point the other woman with her daughter moves for me realising my original plan. And now I am shaking, upset (for no good reason) and also wracked with guilt as someone else is now seatless instead of me.

Moral of the story – lighten up or get take out.


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  1. Oh wow, that’s how I get in Tesco when people steal the parent & child spaces and have no kids. Yes it is true that this shouldn’t have made you feel the way you did, but sometimes it just happens and you can’t control it. Maybe we should have a better way of securing tables for those who are on own with kids, these are child friendly spaces. Let’s start a Costa campaign to get them to come up with a plan!

    • Now there’s an idea!

      • I think we should start a campaign. Let me know if you need back up. I’m about to go on Mat leave & will have two so even more juggling. Love going out to places that are child friendly.

      • Have tweeted the link to Costa, if they’re clever they will do something and use it to their advantage!

  2. I have had to train the little one to stay in the seat at Starbucks because it is totally possible that we’ll get our stuff and there will be nowhere to sit. I get so nervous though leaving her at the table on her own even though I can always see her!
    There was one time when, having just settled down with all our stuff, the little one decided she needed the loo. It was in the summer so we went to the loo and came back to find someone had taken our seats and put all our mostly uneaten food in the bin!!
    They said there were no bags or coats there so they thought it was free!!
    Was fuming. We always take coats and toys with us now to leave
    I think I came across a company that made little signs you could put on your table to say it was taken – I think it’s a great idea

    • I love the idea of the little signs! Will have to send this post to Costa!

  3. I probably would have reacted the same way. You want a nice relaxing coffee, not the stress of having to battle for a seat.

    • That’s probably why I got so flustered, you just want it to be easy!

  4. Oh sweety *hugs*! I do know how you feel though, minus toddler&buggy! I spot my seat and if I can’t get it terror sweeps over me!

    • It’s like when you’re headed for a carparking space and someone nips into it at the last minute!

  5. Hugs x I have been known to stand up and drink because there are no seats. The worse thing for me is when there is no space on the bus. I get rather annoyed when someone sits in the space for wheelchairs and pushchairs and does not move!

    • I think this post as really resonated with people!

  6. It’s the having to struggle with hot coffees, food, trays, child, buggy and bags when having a coffee should be relaxing! You had left your buggy there, quite understandably marking your seat as by the time you had your order you wouldnt safely be able to manouver everything! Others that are there without small children have no exuse gggrrr lol

    • It is a juggle! I just got home from a day in London on my own with a three year old – it makes Costa look like a breeze in comparison!!!!

  7. I can usually manage finding somewhere to sit, but once sat down I’m terrified to move! Starbucks has missed out on many a refill, just because I couldn’t find a way to safely leave my seat (and popping to the washroom is even worse!). Most of the time I daren’t leave my coat or back for fear they’d get pinched when my back is turned

    • I’m far too trusting with my bag since having children – I figure I’d rather keep my seat AND be able to go and use the loo. I’ll have my purse stolen one of these day but I never have cash, and I might take my photos out then it doesn’t matter too much if it does happen!!!

  8. I can totally understand this making you feel wobbly. It’s always the smaller stuff that gets to you, and the big stuff that ends up leaving you utterly unfazed. xx

    • Funny isn’t it!!! Like you say, you can cope with a full on disaster but trivial things drive us loopy!

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