'Rude' train act leaves commuter fuming: 'Disrespectful'

An exasperated Aussie has roasted a train passenger for putting their bag on an empty seat, with many offering their thoughts on the divisive 'trend'.

The passenger snapped a picture of the metro commuter in question, who was in a singular seat and had their blue North Face bag in the opposite seat.

"Recently moved to Sydney and find this a lot where people are standing in the metro and then there are people who keep bags on the empty seats and show no eagerness to move the bags so someone can sit!" they said on Reddit.

"I find it disrespectful and frustrating. Is this normal?"

A photo of a passenger sitting down with their bag on the opposite empty seat, and another photo of a tram.
A man who recently moved to Sydney has questioned the seemingly local practice of passengers putting a bag on an empty seat. Source: Reddit / bakchodiyan and AAP

The post published on Monday has already received almost 500 comments, clearly resonating with many.

People react on Reddit to placing a bag on an empty seat

"I cannot fathom how people think it's even slightly ok to take up a seat with a bag when a train is packed," one person said.

"It's like people have forgotten what common courtesy is about," said another.

But others thought there was nothing wrong with having a bit of personal space, especially in this situation.

"Nah there is no way you expect to sit in that seat. You want to play footsies with a stranger?" one said.

"It's frustrating and annoying but I also don't think anyone can fit in that seat (comfortably) if the other seat is taken," another agreed. Though people were quick to highlight that the seat can be rotated.

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Covid was also highlighted as a reason to not want to sit next to someone so closely.

"No one wants to be sat knee-to-knee with a stranger, especially not post-Covid. I'd rather stand than sit there," one user said on Reddit.

"I don’t begrudge people post-pandemic for putting a barrier up to imply “don’t sit near me”" said another.

"Most won’t go for this seat or the middle of three anymore, so the bag thing became a bit more normal," a third person said.

How should people ask for the empty seat?

Many gave advice on how the now Sydneysider should ask for the empty seat, with some people's approaches being more confrontational than others.

"The trick is to stand there very obviously — and if they don't make eye contact/move their bag — simply say: "Excuse my, I'd like to sit down please" — and gesture to their bag," one person said.

"If I got a no, I’d smile and say thanks, being super friendly and ‘help’ them by gently moving their bag for them before changing the seat direction and sitting down."

While another person thought subtlety was key, believing the potential confrontation is "not worth it".

"Most people have headphones on anyways. I just tap them on the shoulder and nod my head at their bag. They usually get it," they said.

A few also confirmed the act by the seated passenger as "Sydney behaviour."

"Yes it's both apparently normal here in Sydney — and complete bastardry," one said on Reddit.

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