Not all elevator buttons are created equal. In many elevators, a door close button might signal the door to close but will work only in specific circumstances, such as when operated by firefighters or security officers in "emergency mode" or when the elevator is undergoing maintenance. At all other times, the door close button might serve as a "placebo button," giving passengers a way to channel their impatience while waiting for the door to close.
More about elevators and buttons:
- The Elevator Escalator Safety Foundation recommends against prying open the doors if the elevator is stuck.
- The buttons at street crosswalks also are placebo buttons sometimes.
- In 1999, a man named Nicholas White was stranded in a New York elevator for 41 hours.