Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Elevator Observations

I have a number of theories about people travelling in elevators. Perhaps observations is a better word than theories? See for yourself.

1. When people all exit an elevator, say when it has descended to the ground floor, they generally (but not always!) exit in the reverse order to when they got on. That is, the bloke from Level 2 gets off first, then the bloke from Level 4, then me from Level 8, and then the fellah from Level 11. This is particularly applicable when everyone is male, but less so when there is a mixture of males and females, as there is a tendency to allow females to exit first. Being male, I haven't observed the phenomenom when the elevator is completely female.

Common sense would indicate that of course this is the case, since the person who got on at Level 2 is blocking the exit of people from higher levels. However, I've observed this even when there are very few people on the elevator, say three or four. Even when the last person to get on has moved to the rear wall of the car, they are likely to be the first to leave when the door opens on ground floor.

2. Whether through a basic distrust of the means of transport or otherwise, people tend to balance out when there is a change in the number of people inside, with a slight bias towards the rear of the car. This applies whether the cahnge is people entering, or people exiting the car. With two people in the car, they tend to occupy the rear corners, three people move to the centre of the three non-door walls, four in the four corners, five would add one in the centre, with six there would be two in the centre, evenly spaced about the centre point. Und so weieter. When a new person gets on, or someone gets off, everyone tends to shuffle into their respective "natural" positions.

3. People who face the wrong way, ie, toward the rear of the car, make everyone else in the car feel slightly uncomfortable.

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