Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Elevator Fears: Floor Missing

Lift panel in China
It is not uncommon for an elevator in an old hotel to skip the 13th floor.  Why have a floor of rooms in which no one will stay?  As a child, I thought it was a huge waste to leave an entire floor of a building empty because of numerological phobias.  After a few years of graduate school, it dawned on me that the 13th floor was merely renamed the 14th floor.  If I had been a true trikaidekaphobiac, then I would have been very upset to find out that each night I slept on the 14th floor, it was really the 13th floor.  In China, it is not uncommon to exclude the 4th, 13th, & 14th floors.

Elevators in and of themselves create fear in many people.  They are small, dark, and operated by underpaid elves who do not have protection under the FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act).  Some designers at a Wandsworth, England shopping center have capitalized on those elevator phobias.  The floor of the elevator has been painted to look like is has broken away. 

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