Suggestions for a slightly better world #6

As you could read here before I’m not always a big fan of the British. But there is one thing I absolutely love about them: the way that behave on escalators. Especially if you contrast that to the way the rest of the world population (or at least the part I have already been exposed to) behaves on them.

Those of you who have been in the UK will no doubt already realize what I am l referring to: on escalators that are wide enough to allow 2 or more people to stand next to one another, the British will line up very nicely in a single queue on the right hand side of the escalator [the fact that it is the right hand side is quite good news: it shows that the British are not physically unable to do stuff on the right hand side and that we only need to encourage them to expand this skill into other domains such as drivng cars], allowing anyone else to walk by if (s)he wants to proceed along the staircase at a faster pace.

The situation couldn’t be more different in, say, Belgium or Germany, the countries where I happen to spend my time these days. Even with escalators that will easily accommodate three people next to one another, people succeed in populating at least one step in such a way that the entire width is blocked. I’m too much of a positive thinker to suspect this to be done on purpose, but sometimes I really wonder. Loads of escalator users are also extremely creative in the way they place their bags on the steps. As the Black Knight from Monty Python‘s Holy Grail used to claim: “None shall pass!” (And as chopping off limbs is not very well received by the public at large and particularly not by judges, I refrain from using this as a source of inspiration for solutions to this inconvenience.)

Apart from the fact that people simply make it impossible for others to pass by while moving up or down on an escalator, I also want to address another topic: it’s not because the escalator is already in motion that whoever is on it should necessarily remain motionless!  It is perfectly OK to keep on stepping along with the motion of the escalator – additonal bonus: you reach your goal faster. But no… why bother to move at that particular moment, if you can spend your money and time in the evening by going to a fitness centre or a zumba session? By the way: you may sometimes notice that next to the escalator there is a regular staircase. It is also perfectly OK to use that instead of the escalator (in the upward direction in 100% of the cases without other people or bags blocking your way – you should really try it some time and then look backwards when you’re almost at the top of the staircase to notice a funny side effect: often one or more others are following the example your are setting; people somehow don’t seem to realize that the staircase is an option until someone demonstrates it).

So: when on an escalator, please be a bit more British and keep in mind that other people might want to pass by.


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