It’s strange what can keep one amused, and not much comes stranger than this. It’s something that has amused me for years. Being a great people watcher, I try to work out what must be going through someone’s mind following a certain action they take.
Am I easily pleased?
Here’s the scenario. You are approaching, about to enter, or are inside, about to exit, a public building of some kind. You walk up to the door; it is a double door; they have handles on them. I’m not talking about a handle you turn to open the door like the ones at home; I’m talking about a handle which has no moving parts. It’s solid; it’s there for you to grab hold of to manipulate the door. So what do you do? Push or pull?
Some doors have one of these static handles on one side and a plate on the other. These are idiot proof – aren’t they? The very design of the door suggests one side requires a push to open and the other a pull. Some are even more idiot proof. They have a plate on both sides. This way no one can be confused. It quite simply has to be pushed either way.
However, what about the doors which have a static handle on either side?
Let’s just remember the scenario – it is a public building and the door will typically be partially if not completely glazed. Also being a public building, 9 times out of 10, the door will have to open towards the outside for emergency escape reasons.
So, you take hold of the handle on one of the doors and pull. It doesn’t open. What do you do? Would not the most sensible course of action to follow this be to push the door?
No. You take hold of the handle on the other door and pull. That too fails to open.
Now you think logically. You reason with yourself, that if the second door failed to open when I pulled, perhaps it will open if I push. So you push. However, the door has been bolted top and bottom so it doesn’t open. You then, reasoning once more with yourself, decide to push the first door which didn’t open when you pulled.
And guess what, it opens!
Now why didn’t you just push that door as soon as it didn’t open when you pulled? Why is it so many people fail in this simple task?
It is odd, but many people will automatically try the other door before they have exhausted all possibilities with the first!
Test this out for yourself. Do as I did today, sit near the door in a nice coffee house somewhere and watch in sheer delight as people push and pull their way to confusion.