Another Placebo You Just Gotta Love

I wrote about the Windows® placebo last week but there is another placebo that is found far more often – and used – in our daily lives. And I am not talking about the “Push Button for Walk Signal” things you find on street corners. Some of those actually work!

What I am talking about is the pleasant little button found on elevators, adjacent to the “hold door open” button for allowing late arrivals to get on the car.

Yes, that pesky little “close the doors” button.

So many times – on far too many elevator journeys to count – there is always the impatient rider who, the moment someone had exited the car, pushes the “close door” button so he (or she) can hurry up to their floor which is, quite naturally, the most important thing in the universe.

And quite often, when the doors do not respond instantly, they push it again and again, until the apparently dim-witted doors finally respond.

I saw it again today. A gentleman – looking a little ruffled by his rush into the building – pushed the “call car going up” button. There was a ding and the doors opened on the left elevator but the light was glowing red, arrow pointing “down”. The man was chomping at the bit as the doors closed, anticipating it would discover its foolish neglect, reopen to a green (“going up”) light. It wasn’t to be.

Naturally, he returned to the button he had originally pushed – still glowing white to show that it was working – and pushed it again. And then again. And then again after looking back to the inept elevator.

A second elevator chimed and opened, but was also glowing with the dreaded red menace. The fellow repeated his ritual of button pushing.

Finally, the first elevator arrived again, glowing green, and he muttered something as he rushed forward… stopping short when he realized the elevator had indeed gone down and brought up passengers. He had to step out of the way to keep from being bowled over by those exiting.

At last, we were able to join the three other people heading for higher altitudes. And you can imagine his face as he punched his floor’s button, “6”, atop the other floor buttons that were already glowing white.

Yep, you guessed it. Everyone was getting off on a different floor and ALL before his destination.

He leaned in the corner at the back of the car, a faint whimpering emitting from his throat. After the second floor passenger got off, he leaned forward to push the “close door” button but the doors had already begun to close.

At the next floor, he maintained his new position closer to the panel so that the moment the passenger disembarked, he punched the button. Of course, nothing happened. He reached for it again, just as the doors closed.

The next floor was my own and the fellow was punching the button like an maniac even before I got out of the car. The door still did not close until the usual five seconds after the last passage through the electric eye on the doors.

I can only imagine the shape of his finger after the next floor, the last before his own, as he punched madly attempting to shorten that five-second eternity.

People… that button is there for the fire department to take control of the car, not you. And you have to have a special key to get it to work.

You can use the “hold door open” button anytime to help get people on but the elevator companies are not about to let you – or anyone else – close the doors in someone’s face.

Yes, it’s just a placebo, even if it can make your blood pressure go up faster than you are.

Get over it.

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