Elevator door-close buttons don’t do anything

(Shane Adams/Flickr Commons/CC BY 2.0)
(Shane Adams/Flickr Commons/CC BY 2.0)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Hold onto your seats, this news is going to shock you.

How many times have you pressed the door-close button in an elevator thinking it would help you get to your destination faster?

Well, according to a report by the New York Times, those buttons haven’t actually done anything since the introduction of the Americans With Disabilities Act in 1990.

Yes, you read that correctly: Every time you’ve hit a door-close button in an elevator since the early 1990s absolutely nothing has happened.

The Americans with Disabilities Act requires elevator doors to stay open long enough for people using crutches, canes or wheelchairs to get in, the New York Times reports. The legislation stripped the public of the power to close elevator doors any faster.

Firefighters and maintenance workers still have keys or codes that make the close-door buttons work, but for the rest of us, they are completely useless.

The same sometimes applies to crosswalk signals and office thermostats.

Although the buttons don’t function in the ways we want them to, a Harvard psychology professor told the New York Times they give us a sense of perceived control, which is important for reducing stress and promoting well being.

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