Why make going down hard?

Few things in life are simpler than operating an elevator.

When you want to go up, you push the little “up arrow”. Or at worst, the “U” button. And down is just as straightforward. “D” or “down arrow”.

Once inside, you then just find the number of the floor you need, hit one more button and you’re on your way. The elevator even opens the doors for you.

If only it was so simple to order a coffee at Starbucks. Yes, elevators are one of the simplest things you can ever encounter.

So imagine my surprise at the sign in Swissotel Chicago when I stayed recently, saying something like: “We are proud to have introduced a new elevator system to enhance your elevator experience at Swissotel. Please follow these instructions to use our new system”. Followed by five or six steps each illustrated in an accompanying diagram.

I am sorry, my Swiss friends, but if you have to use the phrase “please follow these instructions”, then you have not at all enhanced my elevator experience. I was fine when I did NOT need instructions.

Let’s take a closer look at how the Swissotel system worked. Instead of an up or down button, I have a touch screen display and keypad like a giant cell phone. The only thing missing is a place to insert my card, else it would practically be an ATM. Apparently I use the touchscreen for “word” floors (gymnasium, garage, business center) or I dial my room’s floor number on the keypad for “numbered” floors.

Then it tells me to watch th display to tell me which car to take. So I stare intently at the little screen. But then other people need to type… What if my car is displayed while they are typing and obstructing my view? Shit!

Then an elevator arrives. Inside the doors it has a little grid showing which floors it will stop. But none are my floor, floor 30. Even though it’s doing 16 then 34. But if I get in I have no buttons inside to make it stop at 30 on the way.

I must stop and await my orders to join the assigned car. So I wait. When it comes, and the elevator roulette board finally shows 30, it’s already full from the garage. Double shit!!

Back to step one, the keypad. Now I am at the back of the virtual queue, and because the system is SO efficient, it’s getting longer by the second.

At one stage, when about 40 peeps left our meeting to go up for the night, despite having 6 cars to work with, most were still in the lobby 10 minutes in. A bellhop tool some of us in a service elevator because it was just bloody easier.

So well done Swissotel… your yodeling countrymen may have optimized milk chocolate, the analog watch and the eponymous army knife, but – despite the contrary argument of your instructional sign – you just royally screwed my elevator experience.

— Irish


3 Responses to “Why make going down hard?”

  1. You have to give kudos to the Americans for the simplicity of the ‘star’ symbol that thankfully abuts elevator letters G or L. Pure genious.

    • clightnirish Says:

      Although you have to smile at the irony that they chose a star, something from the “sky”, to represent the floor that is at “ground” level. I guess it was kind of hard to represent “dirt” with a recognizable symbol.

  2. Just be thankful that you are Irish and not Scots! LOL

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