Got back from the performance of the Verdi Requiem a while back, the most uncomfortable concert I have ever been to. Never realised that the cathedral could get so hot and it does not, unlike most churches have wide windows or doors. The crowd was also massive, perhaps because it was free, and since no tickets were being sold seats were in short supply.
I got in by about 6.20 and found a seat easily enough. Then a friend asked me to hold a couple of seats for him so I left my seat (it was being held by a neighbour) and occupied another a few rows behind. While waiting there an old woman with a couple of similarly aged friends walks up and exclaims "oh there are three seats here". I had omitted to put anything down on the seat so I said that I was keeping one seat for a friend so there were only two available, to which she retorted sharply "but they are not here are they?"
I was not about to get into an argument with an old woman over a seat so I gave in with no further comment.
The question is: is it right or fair to hold a seat for a friend in crowded theatre? There was a time when the British Council had a notice put up forbidding teh practice in their auditorium, but as a general practice is it fair?