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Burnett's Urban Etiquette

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Elevator Courtesy

This isn't gonna win me any friends on the second, third, or fourth floors of the Miami Herald building, but one of my major pet peeves got plucked this afternoon.

Who the heck rides a frickin' elevator up or down one floor, when there is a perfectly healthy, working escalator a few steps away? Who?

I boarded the elevator at ground level at lunch time so I could ride up to five, where our newsroom is located. I was wet from having just run through the rain with my lunch, and I was anxious to get back to my desk and dry off and sit down.

A woman who works on the second floor got on with me. She hit the button for two. She does this often. I have bad luck, 'cause I often get caught on the elevator with her. I usually grin and bear it. Today I ground my teeth.

Why do I have a problem with her taking the elevator from one to two? We have a frickin' escalator. A giant escalator that is impossible to miss when you walk into our lobby.

So what possesses you to walk into the lobby, walk past the giant escalator that stops right at the double doors to the second floor biz operation, and get on the elevator and ride up one lousy floor?

You don't even have to break a sweat on the escalator. You just stand on it and it carries you up or down like a metal toothy version of Aladdin's magic frickin' carpet. I'll bet if you stood in just the right way on the escalator it would probably sing to you and massage your calves and whisper to you that you're the handsomest or prettiest person in your cubicle city.

If you didn't attend the elevator courtesy academy, or ECA, as we used to call it when we sang the old school song in harmony while wearing lettermen's jackets and highwater jeans and white short-sleeved t-shirts and Chuck Taylors, then here's the deal:
  • If you're only traveling one floor in either direction, ride the escalator, not the damned elevator. It's just as quick a trip for you and doesn't slow down people who have to go several floors.
  • If you're only traveling two floors, and you're not in a major hurry to exit the building or get to your work space, ride the damned escalator.
  • There are only four reasonable exceptions to this rule. If you are physically disabled ride the elevator as much as you want and if anyone challenges you, feel free to poke 'em in the eye with your cane or crutches or run over their feet with your wheelchair, or have your guide dog bite 'em or defile their leg. If you are carrying a heavy or fragile load, and you could potentially lose your balance and drop it or fall over the side of the escalator, then take the elevator. No need to kill yourself in the name of efficiency. If you are in a genuine hurry - late for work or late for an appointment outside of the building - and the elevator is the faster option, then take it. But I'd still argue the escalator would be faster, 'cause there's no chance of it stopping at every floor to pick up new passengers. And if you are next to the elevator heading up and no one else who works on a higher (or lower floor than yours) is waiting to board then take the elevator if you want. No harm, no foul.

Learn these rules and you too can be a guardian of the elevator.

*One more exception, from Hammer: If you have a diagnosable mental condition that makes you fearful of escalators then fine, ride the elevator. But you'd better have a doctor's note.

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  • I agree.

    However I know 2 people who have an extreme fear of escalators.

    By Blogger Hammer, at 5:39 PM  

  • I agree with you on this one. It's one of my pet peeves too. Maybe we can have our nanny state government pass a couple of laws outlawing using an elevator to go up only one floor.

    By Blogger Jay, at 6:00 PM  

  • If it's just one or two floors, take the stairs.

    By Anonymous class factotum, at 7:13 PM  

  • Hammer, your exception is noted. I added it to the post.

    Jay, we should get after Congress about this. I have more to say about them, but that's the next post.

    Class Factotum, I'd have recommended stairs, but most of our stair cases are sort of out of the way fire exits, with a couple of exceptions. I confess I don't take the stairs as often as I should. But I do ride the hell out of the escalator.

    By Blogger James Burnett, at 7:26 PM  

  • Most people I know who ride elevators to just go one floor are usually just fatass lazy. I try to use stairs if it's only one or two floors, just for the exercise.

    By Blogger BobG, at 7:41 PM  

  • LOL!!!

    You don't even have to break a sweat on the escalator. You just stand on it and it carries you up or down like a metal toothy version of Aladdin's magic frickin' carpet

    I agree with you. I live on the second floor and never understand why people stand in front of my apt to wait for the friggin elevator to go down ONE flight of stairs (ten steps)!!! Ridiculous!

    By Blogger Opinionated Diva, at 7:57 PM  

  • BobG, here here!

    Opinionated Diva, I agree. For one floor, the elevator isn't worth the wait time.

    By Blogger James Burnett, at 9:47 PM  

  • You got this one perfectly correct. I also work on the fifth floor of a building that is five stories high. No one ever uses the stairs, and there is no escalator. An "Association" has all or part of all of the floors. Their people are ALWAYS in the elevator to go one floor. Please have AP publish your rules in the Washington Post, or perhaps I should just print them out and post them in the three (3) elevators that are always filled.

    By Blogger The CEO, at 11:04 PM  

  • Monty, be my guest. Print them out. I'm on a mission to make this one stick. Once I make certain that none of my bosses - at least those who "sign" my pay check - take the elevator to travel one floor I'll consider posting these rules in my building too.

    By Blogger James Burnett, at 11:25 PM  

  • One thing you can bet on, more likely than not to win, people not acting reasonably.

    Shoot me an email, link in my profile.


    By Blogger Kilroy_60, at 12:12 AM  

  • I have always adored escalators and still get excited when I have access to one.

    Pretty dorky, huh?

    Here is a NY elevator trick IF you and Easy Rider don't get on at the same floor: Press your floor button simultaneously with Door Close button. It will usually prevent the cage from stopping before your desired floor.

    You can thank me after you check it out. :)

    By Blogger heartinsanfrancisco, at 2:09 AM  

  • Kilroy_60, you are correct, and I'll try to send you that email by day's end.

    HeartsinSanFran, as soon as I try your trick I'll let you know how it works.

    By Blogger James Burnett, at 12:27 PM  

  • I'll try the trick too - we have someone who works on two who will have someone hold the elevator for him to go up just on floor. grinding teeth now)

    John Starks was one to the greatest to play the game of B-ball.

    By Anonymous jali, at 2:42 PM  

  • one of. one of - NOT one to.

    By Anonymous jali, at 2:43 PM  

  • As soon as I get off my crutches (from breaking my foot), I plan to take the stairs as often as possible. I also plan to flaunt my relative youth and run 12 miles, bang a hooker and kick someone's ass.

    By Blogger M@, at 6:35 PM  

  • Jali, you meant that John Starks? The one who ended up on the ass end of a Michael Jordan SportsCenter moment? Ha! I kid, I kid. I liked John Starks. Wasn't a Knicks fan, but I respected his work ethic.

    M@, I actually believe every word you wrote ;>)

    By Blogger James Burnett, at 6:49 PM  

  • An escalator AND an elevator? And they both work at the same time? What luxurious conditions you work in!

    By Blogger GrizzBabe, at 9:42 PM  

  • Hey Grizz, you know the rock'n'roll life that is the news biz. What can I say?

    By Blogger James Burnett, at 11:09 PM  

  • I have this irrational dislike of actually getting on down escalators. Up escalators fine, down - show me the stairs, or a lift (elevator), please!

    Fortunately for the rest of humanity about the only time I come across such things is in shops.

    & to think I once used to travel on London Underground without batting an eyelid, almost!

    By Anonymous bronchitikat, at 8:58 AM  

  • Bronchitikat, I've never had any specific fear of escalators, but when I lived in Sunny Brixton, I used to dread riding the escalator down to Underground. It was so steep an incline, I always felt like I was going to fall over and tumble down the stairs. Even going up, back to street level, I was always afraid to look down 'cause I thought I might fall over. Crazy, I know.

    By Blogger James Burnett, at 9:17 AM  

  • Maybe it was this guy

    and he won't go near an escalator again.

    By Anonymous og, at 12:28 PM  

  • I should have mentioned that you have to hold both buttons down the entire time. :) It's my patented invention. Good luck!

    By Blogger heartinsanfrancisco, at 1:03 PM  

  • Great peeve as I personally hate stoping for a single floor. I don't care if you are on the 5th floor and only need to go to the 6th. Take the stairs the one floor. Grrrr. I'm going to have to try Hearts suggestion.

    By Blogger My Reflecting Pool, at 1:11 PM  

  • Og, ha! That guy should ONLY take escalators!

    HeartsinSanFran, I'm out of the office today, but seriously, I'm gonna try it on Monday.

    My Reflecting Pool, let us know if Hearts' trick works for you.

    By Blogger James Burnett, at 2:14 PM  

  • maybe she rides the elevator because you are on it. Could be an admirer.

    Maybe you need to cut back on the cologne. :)

    By Blogger Pamela, at 11:41 PM  

  • I am so with you on this. I too work on the fifth floor of my building and it's annoying as hell.

    What bothers me more is the Courthouse where I'll literally have to clench my jaws sometimes to keep from saying something when someone gets on and punches two.

    I also hate it when people don't let others off the car before they push themselves in--what's up with that?

    By Blogger Turnbaby, at 7:46 AM  

  • Pamela, you're gonna make me blush. It ain't easy being this pretty. But I'm beginning to suspect that my wedding band was intentionally ordered extra-large - like the size of a bicycle tire, so that it couldn't be missed in public.

    Turnbaby, don't get me started on the whole blocking people in thing. That's another elevator post altogether.

    By Blogger James Burnett, at 3:30 PM  

  • This is a pet peeve of mine, too. I'm also amazed by the people at my GYM who will take the elevator or escalator up one flight of stairs despite the fact that they are perfectly able AND there to work out. For crying out loud, people...

    By Blogger thirdworstpoetinthegalaxy, at 11:17 AM  

  • Who knows where to download XRumer 5.0 Palladium?
    Help, please. All recommend this program to effectively advertise on the Internet, this is the best program!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:15 PM  

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