Elevator Etiquette

The elevator is such a convenience in buildings nowadays that we take it for granted when we need to access other floors in multi-storey buildings. Yet in this time and age, it is surprising that people still do not know how to use elevators properly.

They crowd around the entrance and rush in the moment the doors open without even allowing the occupants inside to exit first. Some use their shopping trolleys like a battering ram to intimidate others into allowing them to get in first. That is Malaysian kiasuism at its ugliest.

We should use the elevators like we use other public facilities. Courtesy and politeness should be the order of the day. The following is a list of good elevator etiquettes that I have compiled from experience and observing other elevator users, polite and inconsiderate ones, in my weekly jaunts to shopping malls.

1. Adhere to queuing rules. First come first served. If you are in a rush, the stairs are a faster alternative.

2. Stand aside to allow occupants of the elevator to come out before getting in. It is inconsiderate to push your way in when people are still coming out.

3. Hold the door for others to get in if you are the first or only person inside an elevator. Many times, I had the door closing on me after the person before me had walked in, with both hands empty and morosely watched as the door hit my wheelchair.

4. Hold the door open for others if you are standing beside the control panel. Likewise close the door when no one else wants to get in or out.

5. Thank the person holding the door open for you.

6. Move all the way to the back to allow more people to get in. Don’t stand right in front of the elevator even when there is enough space at the back to hold another five persons.

7. If you are deep at the back when the elevator reaches your floor, be polite and ask those in front of you to give way instead of pushing your way out. Say something like: “Excuse me, this is my floor.” Thank them when you are out.

8. Avoid taking the elevators if you are coughing or sneezing repeatedly from influenza. Some things are not meant to be shared. This is one of them.

9. Don’t push a wheelchair without asking if assistance is needed. Most time it is not. The wheelchair is an extension of the user’s body. Pushing the wheelchair without asking is like pushing a non-disabled person on the shoulder, which is not only rude but could cause the person to fall from the unanticipated action.

10. And lastly, hold that fart!

Author: Peter Tan

Peter Gabriel Tan. Penangite residing in the Klang Valley. Blissfully married to Wuan. A LaSallian through and through. Minion to three cats. Wheelchair user since 1984. Columnist of Breaking Barriers with The Borneo Post. Principal Trainer at Peter Tan Training specialising in Disability Equality Training. This blog chronicles my life, thoughts and opinions. Connect with me on Twitter and Facebook.

8 thoughts on “Elevator Etiquette”

  1. Peter,

    I know its your calling, but you’re pushing (pun intended!) against the unstoppable. I had the experience 20 years ago of getting pushed back into the elevator and you could argue back then that Malaysia was a much nicer country than it is now. I’ve since left the country but have been back several times. It’s just getting worse unfortunately.

    The courteous amongst us are few. Perhaps its really a question of upbringing and the society we live in. Do most of us really want to trample over each other in the race to… what exactly? I guess not many stop to think about that.

    1. Good question Allan, regarding the race. Seems like we are rushing to somewhere all the time, and in that process we become selfish by wanting to be ahead, just to be ahead, for what?

  2. Ya, its very simple and easy thing to do, but nowadays people not really practicing it.
    Also, look at how people park, its also another shame.

    1. When we lose our sense of simple courtesies in life, we are also losing the simple pleasures in life. And don’t get me started on parking… 😛

  3. #2 is the is the #1 thing we all seem to experience in Malaysia. Trains, busses, elevators, everywhere! Why can’t these people use their brain knowing that people can’t alight when they’re trying to board at the same time? Maybe these people are worried that the door will close quickly but still!

    1. This could be a habit they learnt from being at cheap sales. If they don’t push themselves into the frenzied crowd, they won’t be able to get at the goods.

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