As a matter of fact, I don’t actually need one.  I’d just like you to start using one.

How many times has this happened to you.  You’re standing in an elevator, waiting for the doors to close and take you to your floor when you notice someone coming towards the elevator.  Because you’re a nice person, you reach over and hit the ‘open door’ button, or even just stick your hand between the elevator doors so they open.  It’s then the person says to you, “Oh, taking the stairs.”

This happens to me often.  I just know the one time I think, “Oh, they’re probably taking the stairs.” that I’ll leave them standing there, thinking, “What a jerk!”

These falsely opened doors waste time, waste energy and have become a blight upon the businesses of America.  So it is with that thought in mind that I offer up this simple solution:  the elevator door sign.

It’s pretty easy.  If you see someone in an elevator, simple hold up a flattened palm in a “stopping” motion to indicate you’d like them to stop the elevator from going up or down so you can come along.  Or, tilt that flattened palm parallel to the ground and move it side to side to indicate “No, I’m using another form of transportation to get to the other floor.”

By standardizing these simple gestures into our society, we will probably save millions of dollars in wasted time and energy, and prevent a misunderstanding that could result in hard feelings.  We’ll also enjoy the bonus of not having to actually talk to strangers and say such things as, “Could you hold the elevator, please?” or the classic, “Go ahead, I’m taking the stairs.”

I’ll be watching for your sign.

Tim Hunter

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