Have you ever been standing in an elevator and start hammering the “door close” button so you didn’t have to wait for someone walking up? Well, guess what? You were being a bad person for no reason.
It turns out the “door close” button doesn’t actually do anything, according to the director of the National Elevator Industry trade group.
Those buttons used to work. But after the Americans With Disabilities Act in 1990, the elevator manufacturers had to disable them to make sure there was enough time for someone in a wheelchair or with a cane to safely make it into an elevator.
And since elevator cars have to be replaced after about 25 years, most of the ones from before 1990 are gone or refurbished now, which means most of the working “door close” buttons are gone too.
So why do they still put them in there? There are two reasons. One, they’re there out of tradition, even though they don’t do anything anymore.
And two, people still really like pressing them, because it gives us a sense of control.