(via) Read in Wired, a sociologist, Esther Kim from Yale University was interested in the tactics employed by people to keep a free seat in the bus:

  • Avoid eye contact
  • Lean against the window and stretch out your legs.
  • Sit on the aisle seat and listen to music to pretend not to hear people asking for the window seat.
  • Place a large bag or multiple items in the empty seat to make it time-consuming to move.
  • Look out the window with a blank stare to appear crazy.
  • Pretend to be asleep.
  • Put your coat on the seat to make it appear already taken.
  • If all else fails, lie: Say the seat has been taken by someone else.

Why do I blog this? A fascinating example of how people adopt very simple behavior to avoid a proximate interaction with strangers. The underlying reasons for doing that is also relevant. Potentially intriguing for designers interested in playing with this situation.