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In Which I Discover 7 Years Late That All of These Buttons Are Fake

Closedoor I hereby assert special jurisdiction over the subject matter below under rule 3 of the Rules of LBW Procedure. And I'm not happy about it.

I don't know what I was doing back in January 2003 and February 2004, but apparently it did not include religiously reading the Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. Had I been doing so, I clearly would not have spent the last seven years (on top of the many decades of my life that preceded 2003) adjusting office thermostats, pushing the "Close Door" button in elevators and punching the "Walk" button at street corners. 

According to the old articles linked to above, which I discovered seven years late via Consumerist today, many of the buttons in your life are fake. For instance, nearly all office thermostats are fakes. As one employee in a heating company with many landlord clients (and who installs dummy thermostats) explained, "complainers in the cubicles" were wearing on his employer's nerves. "You just get tired of dealing with them and you screw in a cheap thermostat. Guess what? They quit calling you."

How about those "Close Door" buttons? According to the WSJ , they're fake, too, "unless you're a fireman or an elevator operator with special access to the system. The rest of the time, in deference to various building codes, it's deactivated, according to engineers at Otis Elevator."

There's more. The "walk" button at intersections? Also fake. According to the NYT, the city of New York, for example,

deactivated most of the pedestrian buttons long ago with the emergence of computer-controlled traffic signals, even as an unwitting public continued to push on, according to city Department of Transportation officials. More than 2,500 of the 3,250 walk buttons that still exist function essentially as mechanical placebos, city figures show. Any benefit from them is only imagined.

I feel so very, very used.

Posted by Bruce Carton on November 9, 2010 at 02:48 PM | Permalink | Comments (7)


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