Today I’m going to talk (or rant, rather) about my biggest pet peeve. I see it happen on campus all of the time and it drives me insane. It also happens to be pretty careless in terms of sustainability and just human decency. Here we go.
My biggest pet peeve is when I see a person completely able to open a door with their arm instead reach and push the automatic door button to open the door for them. It drives me insane.
Now, I’m not saying that these buttons shouldn’t exist; I think it is fantastic that we incorporate technology for people with physical disabilities* onto our campus (although I feel we should actually have much more of this, but that’s another rant). I even think it is completely appropriate to press one of these if you have a stroller or are carrying a heavy box or a bunch of things in your arms. However, more often than not, the people that I see pressing these buttons have no reason to do so save for pure laziness.
The most interesting part to me is when a person presses the button and then stands in front of the door waiting for it to open while all of their perfectly working limbs do nothing. It’s even more aggravating when there is a group of friends that stands in front of the door and hits the button, it doesn’t open, and they just wait there for a few seconds before opening the door like they should have from the start. It sounds pretty hilarious, and it certainly can be, but it’s also pretty sad. These are buttons intended for people with physical disabilities that countless others have unnecessarily abused without considering the implications of their actions. (Some people make the argument that it is helpful or even necessary when there is a large rush of people going through the door and I don’t really understand why that is, because I’ve never found it particularly difficult to gently press the already open door to keep it open and then hand it off to the person behind me, but I’m willing to hear you out if you’d like to change my mind (comment below).)
Also, it is not chivalrous to press a button for someone. This has been done to me so many times. I will be approaching a door and someone will be coming through from the other side and then hit the button once they get to my side as if they’re doing me some sort of favor by making me awkwardly wait for the door to open even though I have nothing in my arms. Either hold the door for a person, or just keep moving.
Guys, stop pressing the button if you don’t have a legitimate reason to do so! Pressing them carelessly wastes so much energy, looks very silly, and is inconsiderate of people that do have a good reason to use this technology.
* This is intended to be completely inclusive. You should absolutely not feel bad about using this technology if you have any sort of physical disability — even if it is one that does not seem apparent to others.
Written by Mariah Greico, Class of 2018