"80% of success is just showing up", according to film director Woody Allen. In chess it certainly helps to turn up for your game, more so if your opponent then fails to do so.
While there were a few 'no shows' at the Doeberl Cup and SIO, the rate was pretty minimal, given that almost 400 players were playing in both events.
Probably the most significant one was in round 2 of the Doeberl Cup Premier, when GM Deep Sengupta failed to turn up against IM Praveen Kumar. Sengupta failed to realise that there was an evening round on the first day, and only wandered in to the tournament hall by accident. Not wanting to ruin Praveen Kumar's potential GM norm chances, I allowed the game to start late, with the agreement of both players. Surprisingly I received very little criticism for the decision, although after the game was played I myself thought I had made the wrong decision.
The risks in being so compassionate were then demonstrated at the SIO when a number of players arrived on or just after the default time, and we ended up in a situation where players who were defaulted were aggrieved that others escaped such punishment (NB The SIO had a '30 minutes and a bit' default time, to take into account discrepancies between the times people were working off).
Nonetheless I find forfeits in big tournaments less of an annoyance then forfeits in smaller club events. For some reason I regard getting a free point in a weekend event an occupational 'bonus', and missing out on a game is normally mitigated by having a number of other games to play. In club tournaments the damage is a little larger, in that normally it is the only game you play that night, and it involves a wasted trip to and from the club. Also, club forfeits tend to occur on the lower boards, which often affects newer club members, leaving a poor impression.
So my plea to players, especially newer ones, is that playing every game you can is not only important to you, but also to your opponent, and if you cannot make it to your game, please inform the tournament organiser of you absence. Not only does it allow your potential opponent to get another game, but it is simply good manners.