Why are there "mirrors" in elevators?


Why are there "mirrors" in elevators? 

Have you ever felt that pressing the close button on an elevator doesn't make the door close faster? The big reason behind this, it turns out, is that the door-close button doesn't actually work.

Karen W. Penafiel, executive director of National Elevator Industry Inc., made a surprising revelation in an interview with The New York Times, revealing the explosive information about the so-called comfort button. The elevator industry began to dismantle the door-to-door buttons after the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 went into effect, Penafiel said. The bill requires all elevators to remain open for a specified period of time after they open, so that all people on crutches and in wheelchairs can access them. Slamming the door button doesn't work.

Penafiel told the New York Times: 'There's no way a passenger can get the door to close quickly.'

Although door - close buttons are useless for the general public, they have a special purpose in certain situations. David McRaney, the author of "You Are Not So Smart," a book about self-deception, told Yahoo in 2011: "The door close button is for elevator repair workers and emergency responders and must be unlocked with a key."

While comfort buttons are of little practical use, they are clearly needed.

McEleney goes on to explain that comfort buttons are everywhere, and keeping them makes us feel good. Mr. McEleney cites another classic example: many cities have buttons on crosswalk lights, but in places like New York, where officials have long since switched to timers to automatically control the lights, the buttons are just a sideshow.

"It's the same with lights and elevators," McEleney said. "Whether you take away all the dead buttons or replace them with other ones, or let the public know through the media that they're dead -- it's all going to be costly. By contrast, let's continue to press the crosswalk button in vain."

Psychologist Ellen Langer told the BBC that pressing a button, even if it doesn't work, gives a sense of control and a sense of satisfaction.

"People think it's better to do something than to rush," she says. When you press a button, your attention is focused on the action in front of you. People think that if I just stand on the corner and do nothing, I might not see the red light turn green, or I might have to cross the street before the green turns red, which could be dangerous."

If you're lucky, you might come across a useful elevator door close button. While most elevators have been upgraded over the past 25 years in response to the Passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990, there are a few elevators with a door-close button that still works. So press on, you might see a miracle. I don't tell people. I don't know!



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