Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Elevated Life: 11 Up

There's something about elevators that I find fascinating.  I'm not sure why.  Maybe because an elevator is like a mechanical "black box" only in reverse -- the magic happens on the outside, while the observer remains inside.

Either way, this begins a series of occasional snapshots from inside elevators around the world for no other reason than I like it.  And maybe there are other people out there who do, as well.

This photo is from an older elevator that has been rehabbed with a new display.  The LEDs are slightly italic, and the up arrow has been specially created for the purpose, rather than being a mish mash of other LED segments.

Interestingly, this elevator actually has an attendant.  Before the days of advanced mechanics and electronics, people were hired to run the elevators.  In some cities and buildings this tradition continues for one reason or another.  Sometimes it's nostalgia. Sometimes it's to add a touch of class.  Unfortunately, in this case it's because of labor unions.

The attendant's position hasn't been needed in this building for decades, but the person cannot be fired because she is in a powerful union.  So, she sits on a stool in the lobby all day long and when someone wants to go up, she pushes the elevator call button.  That's her entire job.  Somehow the union believes that the elevators cannot function without her.  Nevermind that to get back down, the passengers are perfectly able to push the call button on the floors they are on to summon the elevator.

In many scenarios, I am in favor of labor unions.  But in this case, it just makes the unions look greedy and out of touch with reality.

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