I chope this seat with my tissue paper pack

Have you ever seen places where people chope seats in hawker centers with their tissue paper? Chope, for the uninitiated, is to reserve; in this case, tissue packs have been used to reserve seats in food centers. Typically we don’t see this happening often, just occasionally, unless you happen to be at Raffles City where everyone has only one hour to have lunch and you can’t have much variation in meal times. It’s always about 11-2pm. And there’s always so many people.

I encountered this debate once in the forums, and it is also discussed on newspapers. However I have always wondered, what is so rude about using tissue papers to reserve a seat? For busy people, they cannot afford to waste time. For example, if a group of 4 needs to settle lunch, one of them would have to sit down to reserve the seats. After one of the 3 finished buying his food, then the last guy can go and queue. If you have seen the queues in Golden Shoe in Raffles Place, you do know that some queues are insanely long. Time is wasted, and this doesn’t benefit those who wait.

Those who are waiting want a seat faster. Hence, the faster the team of 4 is able to finish their meal, the faster the turn-around time for empty tables. This actually benefits people who are waiting isn’t it? Of course there are rude people who just refuse to budge, but then if they are such rude people, whether they use tissues or not doesn’t really change the ending doesn’t it?

So sometimes I wonder, what is so rude about tissue paper? Is it the confusion that arises since a tissue paper cannot talk? Or is it just plainly rude to reserve seats?

If it is the former, then it is something about being considerate enough to consider that it has in fact become a way of life for most of us busy Singaporeans, and just accept it. If we throw away those tissue papers, then are we not just as rude and inconsiderate? Unless those tissue papers are left by irritating people who are not coming back, then I would be upset and angry. However such instances are few and far between.

If it is the latter, then no matter whether we leave a human being there or not doesn’t really matter. Even if you open your mouth to ask, the seats are still reserved; does that truly make you happier?

So far I can only think of one more irritating aspect of using tissue packs. That is, in the case of 2 people at a four seater. We might end up thinking that there’s 4 people, and hence waste the 2 seats. Which is a pity, unless someone can come up with a better method.

But then again, if we use bags to chope seats, does it make it any better? Is there any difference? What do you think?

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