Much to everyone’s chagrin, we have now entered the holiday shopping season. Which means hordes and herds of people heading out in a mass panic to… THE MALL.

Which leads me to our topic for the day.


Are we all familiar with them? Stairs that move? Good. Saves me drawing a diagram.

Let us first look at the word “Escalator”. What is the root of the word? Yes! You, in the back-row. Can you please speak up for the class?

That’s right.

The root of the word “escalator” is “ESCALATE”.

And what does the word escalate mean?

“To increase, enlarge, or intensify”

So, if we take that meaning, it would seem that the escalator, which is a mode of transportation whereby an individual or individuals can be conveyed from one floor to another, it seems logical that the escalator is meant to increase the speedin comparison to the use of stairs — at which one could travel from one floor to another.

Logical, no?

However, let us examine the two species of escalator users, which will illustrate that this intended purpose is by no means universally accepted:

MOVERS: These are those blurs of motion that you see dashing about on escalators. These are the individuals that are using the escalators to increase the speed at which they can move from one floor to another. They are dynamos of action. They are stepping onto the escalators and ACTUALLY WALKING. These are your Movers.

SHEEP: These are your standers, your slouchers, your herds of loungers. These are the individuals that see the escalator as a means of eliminating the need to walk. These are the individuals who feel nothing about wasting minutes, hours, even DAYS of their lives being shuttled from floor to floor. These are your Sheep.

Being a strong advocate of the Mover camp, I am nevertheless quite willing to allow that there is enough room in this wide world of ours to accept both tribes. I will not — though from time to time I have felt the urge to hand out literature extolling the virtues of moving your ass — deny fellow members of humanity the right to grow moss on the escalator if they so desire.


But I do ask one favour — nay, I IMPLORE — those members of the Sheep faction to show myself and my fellow Movers the same courtesy and give me the freedom to pursue my goal of getting off the escalators in as brief a period of time as possible.

And how, you ask, can this be accomplished?


That escalator you are standing on? Note how wide it is? Wide enough for two people side-by-side? Or maybe… just perhaps… just enough room for one person standing and FOR ONE PERSON THAT MIGHT ACTUALLY CHOOSE TO WALK?

“But wait!”, you ask? “I’m with my friend! We want to talk! Waa! Waa! Baby wants his bottle!”

Interestingly enough, I say to you, the escalator has a built-in feature designed to deal with JUST THIS SCENARIO!

Just follow these steps:

  1. Person A steps on the right-hand side of the escalator.
  2. Person B steps on the right-hand side of the escalator, directly behind Person A.
  3. The most crucial step — PERSON A TURNS AROUND!

Viola! Face-face-conversations may ensue! Here. Have a tissue. Dry your eyes.

So please, all members of the Sheep Nation, I invite you to go forth. Stand on your escalators. Chat with your friends. Revel in the pleasures of the steel grates at your feet.

Just remember… you are not alone.


This is your only warning.

8 Responses to “escalatiquette”

  1. Radioactive Jam Says:

    Seems like you’ve had some baa-d experiences in this regard.

  2. maggie Says:

    I think your post needs to be handed out at every public train and subway station in NYC. And it’s not just escalators…it’s the damned stairs too. Argh.

  3. birchsprite Says:

    Ahhhhhhhhhh but over here the sheep stand on the left hand side….so that I can run up the right hand side!

  4. SkylarKD Says:

    And always remember to fear and respect the escalator! ;)

    “Listen, not a year goes by, not a year, that I don’t hear about some escalator accident involving some bastard kid which could have easily been avoided had some parent–I don’t care which one–but some parent conditioned him to fear and respect that escalator!”

    — Brodie, Mallrats

  5. Jason's Dad Says:

    And don’t forget the moving walkways at airports.

    Next topic, Jason, should you choose to accept it — people who don’t wash their hands after they use the toilet.

    And then — people who can’t manage to park their cars somewhere near the actual centre of a marked parking space.

    And — people who won’t walk their shopping carts to the corral, but just leave them in the parking area.

    Dang, I’m too pissed off now. Thanks, Little Guy.

  6. Suldog Says:

    “I think your post needs to be handed out at every public train and subway station in NYC. And it’s not just escalators…it’s the damned stairs too. Argh.”

    Maggie – People are just STANDING on the stairs? I believe NYC Penal Code 1273, section 6, paragraph c, covers this rather nicely:

    “Anyone caught impeding a public right of way in a particularly assinine fashion is subject to a fine not in excess of ten dollars and/or being pummeled to death by those behind his/her stupid ass.”

    Of course, that’s NYC, where they know how to handle such matters expeditiously.

  7. brian Says:

    hey jason,
    as a fellow mover, I too feel your pain. have you attempted a slide down between the two elavators yet… schwarzenegger style?
    how has your indoor team turned out?
    -primitive Brian

  8. sween Says:

    RJ: These people are sheer agony.

    Maggie: Actually, the whole left-side right-side thing should be freaking LAW wherever people have to walk. Especially… SIDEWALKS. grrrrrrrrrr….

    birchsprite: I heck… you guys have actual SHEEP on the roads over there too. Good luck getting them to admit it though.

    SkylarD: Maybe some sort of system whereby if two people stood side-by-side the teeth at the top of the escalator would reach up and take them off at the ankles. Yes, it would gum up the works for a while, but people would eventually get used to it.

    Jason’s Dad: I come by me rage honestly, it seems…

    Suldog: Yes, those standing there waiting for the stairs to move them deserve a special hell. The hell of being bodily thrown from the stairs.

    Brian: I think I did it once when I was a teenager… but they had these clear plastic doohickeys part way down that where not fun to encounter. Urk.

    The indoor team is fun, but we’re having a heck of a time getting the whole team there. Our first game was missing close to half the team… all touring level players. We got TROUNCED 47-24. Ouch indeed.