Ms. Demeanor's Vertical Etiquette

Dear Ms. Demeanor: Ambushed in the elevator

By  | April 28, 2010 - 6:07AM
Ms. Demeanor .jpg

Dear Ms. Demeanor,

You will never believe what happened to me in the elevator today! 

I live on the 52nd floor of a high-rise building. Upon entering the elevator on the way out, I pressed “B” for basement, which is where the garage is. About halfway down, a somewhat harried mom and her obviously unhappy 3-year-old daughter joined us.

The little girl flopped down on the floor of the elevator & took off her socks & shoes, which she then proceeded to hurl at her mother, all the while screaming “NO!” at the top of her lungs. The harassed mother spent the ride down checking out her Blackberry while dodging patent leather Mary Janes.

As I stepped out of the elevator at the basement level, she briefly looked up, noticed that we had skipped the lobby, and snarled at me: “You are the rudest, most selfish woman I have ever met! How dare you not press Lobby?!?!?”

My question is: Was it my responsibility to press “Lobby” when I was headed to the basement?

Upson Downsie

Dear Downsie,

Elevator etiquette 101:  Upon entering the car, face forward and press the button corresponding to the floor on which you wish to exit.

If your fellow passengers are laden down with packages or puppies and you wish to be helpful, you may respectfully utter the phrase “Which floor would you like?” but you are by no means compelled to do so – unless you are wearing a uniform and it is within your job description to inquire and to push buttons.

Unfortunately, however, it sounds like this was a case where the Manolo didn’t fall far from the shoe tree.  

An elevator car is not a playpen, a dog crate nor a hotel room.  A young lady of 3 years old should be able to stand quietly for the short time it takes an elevator to arrive at her destination; or she should be removed from the situation until such time as she can compose herself.

There is no reason anyone should have to endure being bruised and battered by shiny shoes… and her mother should have stepped away from the Blackberry and taught her child by example.

Moreover, her verbal attack on you was unwarranted and undeserved. The proper response under these circumstances is, “I hope your day gets better, darling,” followed by a Tyra-worthy spin on your heel and a swift exit – and no looking back!

Also from Ms. Demeanor:

My doorman helps my teenage daughter sneak out at night

Nudes in the hallway

How do we tell the building we're getting a divorce?

Barbarians in the laundry room

Are hallway time-outs acceptable?

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