Sunday, August 05, 2007
Caren Explains: Escalator Etiquette
The British are good at many things, like tea, cricket and "football," for starters. When I was living in London I quickly learned that another thing the British have mastered is Escalator Etiquette. This is a foreign concept to most Americans, particularly those frequenting Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson International Airport.
What is Escalator Etiquette?
I don't know if there is a formal definition. Here's what I consider proper rules of the game, though, from my observations and experiences:
1) Stationary on the Right; Fast Movers on the Left
If you are not going to walk/run up or down the escalator, you should stand on the right side , leaving a left lane for people in a hurry. In actuality, hurrying up or down an escalator saves only seconds, not minutes, of your time, but sometimes that is the difference between catching and missing a train or subway car or airport shuttle, so clear the way. This rule applies to personal belongings, too... don't leave your things on the left... keep them close to your body and close to the right side of the escalator, or else I think it completely acceptable for someone to push them aside.
2) Leave one 'step' between you and the person in front of you
This seems simple enough. Personal space is a necessity. Don't crowd the person in front of you unless it is impossible to do so. You wouldn't want someone all up in your business, would you? Right? Right.
3) High-step it like a marching band.
Remember when your parents were very weary of taking you on an escalator because your kiddie shoelaces might get caught in the groves? Well, just because you've moved on to better shoes and better coordination skills doesn't mean you should forget these warnings. I saw someone fly off the end of an escalator the other day because she was dragging her feet. Don't go airborne: high-step it, people.
4) Don't take pictures from the top of the escalator.
I'm not sure why tourists like to take pictures of people coming up escalators, but it slows up traffic. If you're going to take a picture, take it while you're on the escalator, not when you're at the top, because then you're going to cause a bottleneck, and we all know that escalators wait for no one.
This is for the betterment of our society. Trust me.