Squatting And Saving

Last night’s Beatlemania season opener at the Levitt Pavilion was notable for 2 things:

  1. An SRO/sitting-in-the-library-parking-lot crowd, perhaps the largest in the Levitt’s 38-year-history, and
  2. The number of people who got there in mid-afternoon, plopped down some chairs and blankets to reserve their spots, then disappeared until shortly before showtime.

It’s a practice that goes against the 1st-come, 1st-served ethos of the Levitt, one “06880” reader suggested.

It’s also a practice that’s been elevated to a fine art at Compo Beach, where blatantly ignored signs clearly state:  “Unattended picnic tables may not be reserved.”

As the 4th of July weekend — prime picnic time — approaches, here’s a friendly reminder:  If you want to stake out prime territory, send a human being to sit there.

Though the chance of Westporters actually heeding that rule is about as strong as “06880” telling the weather to be perfect for Friday’s fireworks.

Do you see anyone picnicking?

27 responses to “Squatting And Saving

  1. with you 100 percent on this one dan!

  2. Thanks for posting this.

    On an unrelated note, a celebrity is now working at the beach at Joey’s at the cash register: one of the inspirations– and named individuals in the title– of Tom Greenwald’s new book.

  3. Dan you fail to recognize that some people are just “special” and rules don’t apply to them. This town is full of such people.

  4. Maybe if the park and rec folks relocated the table contents to a nearby sand patch with a notice so the next family is not attacked for “taking their table”
    Me thinks the rules are allowed to be bent to avoid the inevitable confrontation.

  5. The Dude Abides

    Considering the amount of people who still use their cell phone while driving, do you really think this warning is gonna do any good???

  6. I strongly believe in the 1st Come 1st serve as well..if you want a spot…plan to have someone sit there to hold it. The only exception is if your parking your car. Although honestly I have had trouble at the fireworks every year, with people encroaching on space I have staked out…it never fails..people are rude and disrespectful.Now I know there are a lot of people..and the beach fills up quickly..but seriously people..don’t trample on blankets and towels that people are sitting on!! Am I wrong??? This is my last fireworks celebration as a town resident after living here my entire life (4 generation born & raised)..and I’m hoping this year will be different!

    • The Dude Abides

      Encroaching on space I have staked out? This ain’t the 20’s Westporter. I went once in ’58. Took four hours to get home after listening to a baby scream for three hours. Stay home and burn one. Far more relaxing.

  7. The photo of that picnic table with multiple sheets/towels really disturbs me to no end. I would happily remove rocks.

  8. Maybe the person who put the stuff on the picnic table went for a walk or a bio break, and will be right back.

  9. Remove the rocks, towels, blankets, etc. and use the table. If they don’t have the right to reserve it, then don’t let them reserve it! When they come back, they can wait until you are done with your bbq and then use the table. Who are they going to complain to, when they are the ones breaking the rules? Would you get on a plane without a reserved seat? Would you walk into a restaurant that requires a reservation and just sit down anywhere? NOPE!

    Mess with the bull, you get the horns 😀 I sure did miss my 06880 peeps! I’m doing well and baby Mia is doing beautifully. Oh, and no, I’m not getting any sleep. In fact, I went to sleep at 9 this morning and woke up at 11 this morning. OUCH! I do love being a mommy though and she is just delicious!

  10. The Dude Abides

    Congrats, Judi. Figure on no sleep for the next 18 years or so. Maybe more?

  11. Agreed. STAKE and BAKE.
    That is, if you claim the space, inhabit the place.
    (Hoping the rhymes help the rules catch on)

  12. This has an enormously simple solution, but we – the community – all have to band together to enforce it. Let’s all agree to establish one small area of South Beach as a kind of lost-and-found area for all the items left unattended on town-owned picnic tables. We can call it the UPSET Zone, for Unclaimed Picnic Stuff Emancipation Team (or perhaps Unclaimed Picnic Stuff Enlightenment Territory; send in your suggestions). You want a table and they’re all “reserved?” Simply walk up to a table loaded down with rocks, blankets, and no people, carefully gather it all up, and relocate it to the UPSET zone. OK, maybe be a sport and wait 15 minutes, but if no one shows up, make your move.

    There has to be a community-wide consensus that the “reserving space” behavior is not acceptable on the beautiful beach that we all share. Only then will the behavior fall into disuse, like failing to clean up after one’s dog, or smoking in a non-smoking area, which are no longer condoned.

    Anyone who feels entitled to his or her own private table or protected section of the beach is welcome to consider any one of many lovely properties currently available for sale in Southport. Or join a country club.

    Now, Dan, how about some zoning enforcement for those huge structures – huge roofed tents on four poles – that are being erected on the beach and crowding out the rest of us, not to mention obliterating the view?

    • Holy moly, are you high?

    • THANKS, Jessica — I have noticed those tents too. I thought I was the only one who thought they’re odd.

    • Linda Gramatky Smith

      Great idea, Jessica! And when we band together to not accept the unacceptable, things will change. If no one has someone watching their load of blankets on a table after 15 min., they lose. (Well, it’s not “you snooze, you lose” because no one is there snoozing to hold their place, but the same idea.)

  13. I heard people did this at the Staples H.S. graduation ceremony last week as well — they “reserved” entire rows of seats with articles of clothing with no one sitting there.

  14. We found a open strip of green grass for our two lawn chairs 45 minutes before the concert started. But it was in an unmarked “no sit zone” staked out by the family of four sprawled on the blanket behind us. They needed this “no sit zone” to preserve the view of the stage for their two youngsters. We offered to exchange places: they could move up and we would sit behind them. Not acceptable. The “no sit zone” was too close to the garbage can!!! We didn’t mind being close to the garbage can so after jockeying around to try to be as unobtrusive as possible we just sat down!!! Hundreds of people turned away for lack of space and these guys were declaring what parts of the lawn could be occupied by others.

    • Harold Johnston

      People put up with this crap so it continues. I agree with Baum above, move their stuff and sit down. F*&^% ’em as the saying goes.

  15. Heard about Staples as well. People will do what they can get away with. Post a high-schooler in a yellow or life-guard red shirt to enforce the a 5-minute rule. They do it at SPAC and on Nanutucket for the POPs. It works. Same for July 4th on the Esplanande–old MDC officials are ruthless. Again, it works. Mr. McCarthy?

  16. If you come down to the beach right now, you will see that nothing has changed, regulations to the contrary not withstanding.