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10 Weird Elevator Etiquette Rules


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Own Those Buttons
TD Garden in Boston has an actual elevator operator. In most other places, the position is strictly voluntary. John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images
TD Garden in Boston has an actual elevator operator. In most other places, the position is strictly voluntary. John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

There's a unique power dynamic that only exists inside elevators. The car is divided between the normal powerless riders and [cue dramatic music] the Button Master. If three or fewer people board an elevator, there is no need for a Button Master. Each passenger is expected to push his own button before gravitating toward his lonely corner. But if four or more people squeeze into the box, someone must wrest the proverbial Excalibur from the stone and accept their true, if temporary, calling as Master of the Buttons!

Know this first — you will receive no wage as Button Master. No one is going to give you one of those cool 1920s red bellhop hats with the chin strap, either. Your job is simple, but the responsibility is sacred. As each new person boards the elevator, you are to ask, "What floor?" and press the button for the corresponding floor. Don't try to be cute and say things like, "As you wish, sir!" or "At your service!"

Even if you're not originally chosen as Button Master, you need to be ready to carry the flag if the anointed one unexpectedly exits. As a rule, the person closest to the first Button Master is Vice Button Master and assumes the post when the first man or woman departs.


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