At one point or another, we’ve all found ourselves furiously mashing the close door button in an elevator.
Late for the morning meeting? Dangerously hungover and don’t feel like interacting with anyone? Hate that guy from accounting with every fiber of your being? Close door button to the rescue.
Except it isn’t – and probably hasn’t been for a while.
The executive director of the National Elevator Industry trade group has revealed that the beloved close door button has been disabled in all U.S. elevators for a considerable time.
The Americans with Disabilities Act, which was passed in 1990, requires that elevator doors stay open long enough for people who use walking aids or a wheelchair to get inside safely. And since most elevators have a lifespan of roughly 25 years, it’s likely that there are very few still out there with functioning close door buttons.
John Kounios, a professor of psychology at Drexel University, told the New York Times that the “white lie” of the close door button is harmless, since it provides humanity with the momentary illusion of control.
Kind of like the buttons on traffic crossings – oh, which also don’t work most of the time.
“A perceived lack of control is associated with depression," said Kounios. “So perhaps this is mildly therapeutic.”
Time to give Annoying Accounting Guy a second chance, perhaps.