GOOD MANNERS Week: How to Ride In An Elevator

By   |   August 31, 2011   |   Lifestyle

Image Gal Samantha von Sperling takes a look at the weird and wondrous world of “elevator etiquette.”

If I stepped into an elevator and greeted you, my fellow passengers, with a salutation and a smile, would you think I was insane? How sad. With Americans spending five to ten minutes of the day in elevators, this is possibly the shortest amount of time to lift someone’s spirits with a warm “hello” or compliment. I find elevators to be most pleasant when a fellow fashionista notices my shoes, or when there is a puppy in the elevator that wants to greet me. And while an awkward silence can be jarring, there is nothing worse than the asinine chatter by ∩¼éocks of young women screeching at the top of their lungs as if they were the only ones in the box. It makes me want to say, ΓÇ£Excuse me but can you dial it down a bit? Your conversation is not really that fascinating.ΓÇ¥

RULE: Share a brief exchange to spread a little human warmth, but keep your voice down to a gentle roar.

Another of my etiquette gripes with lifts is that people are so inconsiderate regarding the captive humanity stuck in there with them. I’m referring specifically to people who have a poor handle on basic hygiene: brushed teeth, clean breath, the use of deodorant, soap, water, all necessities when you plan to be in a 4.5 ft. by 6 ft. unventilated box. Sometimes I catch people using a mirrored lift as if it was their own private bathroom. It is NOT appropriate to pick your teeth or pop zits once the doors close.

RULE: Make sure you’ve taken care of all your personal hygiene before you get into an elevator. Unless you’re using it at the gym. And then you should take the stairs anyway.

Why is it that when we are already packed in like sardines the same person who takes up two seats on the train ignores the weight limit posted above and wants to just ΓÇ£squeeze in?” As if the jungle of unruly pets, screaming babies, small children that press all the ∩¼éoor buttons when they get in and their parents think it╩╝s cute isn’t enough to deal with.

RULE: When you know you can’t fit (and you know when you don’t!), wait for the next ride.

The elevator can be a wild ride. We run to get on as people let the door close in our face, we ∩¼üght to get out since gentlemen who let ladies out ∩¼ürst seem to be an endangered species. Finally when we get out, we are often judged by where we get off: ΓÇ£Penthouse… I wonder what their apartment looks like?ΓÇ¥ or ΓÇ£Oh, the seventh ∩¼éoor, that╩╝s where all the shrinks are. She must be crazy!”

RULE: Please remember to judge people by their character, not by their floor number.

Tomorrow: The Etiquette Rules to Having a Booty Call.

photo credit: Gregory Szarkiewicz,

Filed Under: Lifestyle

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