I don’t often use a lift (or elevator if you are American and prefer long words to short ones).

But, after some heavy grocery shopping today, I decided to use one to get the bags down to my car without straining my back too much. I then realised that not everyone is aware of the correct Cape Town technique for using a lift. Here are the rules:

  • If somebody is standing at the lift and has pushed the down button, shove him aside and push the UP and DOWN buttons. Several times. That way the lift will know that somebody important is waiting and will pull its finger out to get there quickly. It will know that you actually want to go down, and will ignore any other buttons that have been pushed by lesser mortals.
  • GET INTO THE LIFT AS SOON AS IT STOPS. Do not wait for others to get out first. This works best if you are fat and are moving bulky items into the lift. A skilled practitioner of the art can block the entrance for many seconds and may even trap people inside who couldn’t get past you in time.
  • Once inside, push past people hovering around the buttons and select the floor you want to go to, EVEN IF THAT BUTTON HAS ALREADY BEEN PUSHED AND A RED LIGHT IS GLOWING TO INDICATE THIS. Let’s face it, a lift doesn’t have much intelligence and might forgotten where it was going. Also, if that button gets forcefully shoved by YOU, the lift will realise that it must go straight there and ignore the idiots who only pushed their button once.


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