6 – Monday Ventday – Smart Elevators

It’s Monday, which we all know is America’s favorite day of the week. To celebrate this joyous occasion, I will provide a quality vent today and every other Monday this month. It’s too bad there are only four Mondays this November, especially since I have a lot to vent about these days.

The first victim of Ventday is the Smart Elevator. There once was a time I’m sure we can all remember when elevators did not have fancy LED screens or the ability to talk. One would simply push the up or down button, wait for the elevator to arrive, push the floor button once inside the elevator, and then simply wait for the elevator to float to one’s destination. Sounds simple, right?

In the age of smart everything, from smart phones to smart cars to even smart pillows, it was only a matter of time before the elevators of the world began to acquire intelligence.

The building I work in has a main bank of six smart elevators and a bank of two dumb elevators, the latter of which only reach the 5th and 6th floors. Once upon a time, my department was on the 5th floor, and I was able to gleefully pass those waiting for their smart elevators and take the rarely-used dumb elevators to my floor. Unfortunately for me, the Editorial Department was moved from our cubicle paradise on the 5th floor to open-layout bliss on the 6th floor (perhaps a future rant is in order on the wonders of the open floor plan, but that’s a vent for another day). Construction on the 5th floor and other parts of the 6th floor have put the dumb elevators out of commission, leaving the smart elevators as the only option up to the office.

Smart elevators are a curious thing. Instead of an up or down button, on the wall one would find a set of buttons with each floor on it. One presses their desired floor and an LED screen lets the user know which elevator door to stand next to. In theory, this could possibly make things easier to evenly distribute riders during rush hours, but in practice it just makes the wait time take forever. Minutes drag by as more and more people crowd around an elevator entrance, waiting for an elevator that just doesn’t seem to want to arrive. Things don’t change much come the end of the day, either. If I press the button for the first floor, I swear the elevator waits two minutes to see if anyone on any other floor wants to take a ride before finally arriving on the 6th floor. Adding the smart element to elevators does nothing to enhance speed whatsoever.

The smart elevator also includes an annoying voice sound affect, further adding to a brilliant commute. The voice it emits sounds almost like the computer’s voice from Star Trek. The elevator feels the need to announce every floor we’ve arrived on, as well as when doors are opening and closing. I understand that this is an accommodation for those who may be visibly impaired, but it’s still rather annoying. To be fair, it’s probably more helpful to those looking at their phones for the whole ride who can’t be bothered to look up for five seconds before getting off. I personally don’t need an elevator to tell me when to disembark. I am my own boss.

Okay, that’s it. How did I do for my first vent? I’m not at Lewis Black’s level just yet, but I think I’m on my way. Tune in next week to find out what will be the next entity suffer my ventful wrath.

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