Friday, October 10, 2008

Lift etiquette

I know I whinge a great deal on this blog. I’m eternally sorry about this but this is the whole purpose of this blog – to get things off my chest and not to make everybody happy. Occasionally I write about good things such as television programmes I like. For this entry normal service will resume by me writing about how to use the lift (or elevator if you have bought up with American English) in an appropriate way.

It may seem such a minor point in life on how to use the lift but it just one of those things which annoys me. It is more prominent in Hong Kong, since everybody has to use a life in this metropolis of sky-rise buildings and the total lack of manners prevalent in this population. If everybody can use the lift properly, society will run much smoother.

- If the lift button has already been pressed, you don’t have to press it again. Why press it again? The lift won’t go faster to reach its destination. You only have to press the button again if you are uncertain if the button was pressed in the first place (such as the presence of a bad indicator light).
- Let people get out the lift first. This goes not just for lifts but for buses and trains. Letting people out will make more room for you to get into the lift/bus/train. You don’t have to worry – the lift won’t depart without you as most people think it will and if the door closes you can always shove you hand in or press the open button again.
- If you are getting out at the final floor (either the top or the bottom floor, depending if you are going up or down respectively), please make room for everybody else by moving to the back of the lift. It only makes sense since you will be the last person to get out of the lift and you shouldn’t be blocking the lift door like some big fat lemon.
- If you are at the lift buttons inside the lift, do the courteous thing and hold the lift doors if somebody is rushing into the lift and not close the lift doors just so you can get to your destination faster. How would you like it if somebody closed the lift doors on you?
- If you are at the lift buttons inside the lift, press the close button if everybody is inside instead of waiting for the lift to do it automatically, which can sometimes take ages.
- Be courteous and offer to press for somebody’s floor if that somebody cannot do it themselves such as the elderly who cannot see the buttons that well or people carrying heavy objects in their arms.
- If somebody at the back of the lift wants to get out and you are in the way, sometimes you do have to get out of the lift yourself so that person can pass. Don’t worry again – the lift won’t leave without you.
- Try using the stairs if you have to climb up one floor or down one to two floors. You will probably get to your destination faster if you use the stairs instead of waiting for the lift to come. I’ve seen too many health care assistants waste hospital time just by waiting for a lift when they only have to go down one floor. You only have to use the lift if you are going up several flights of stairs, you can’t walk that well (in the case of the elderly or physically disabled), you are carrying heavy objects or if you are pushing trolleys/hospital beds. You probably get some well deserved exercise as well.

All that I have written is basic common sense but nobody uses it. What I have written is based on ‘the good of society’ principle but most people operate on the ‘me first’ principle. So the next time you use the lift, keep these pointers in mind.

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