Friday, June 4, 2010

Office Doorway Etiquette

I work in an office. I think I have mentioned this before. I work in the kind of office that you picture in your head when you hear the word “office”: Rows of cubicles with grey walls and little windows. Some of the walls have jaunty decorations with lots of pictures of the kids thrown in for good measure. Around the holidays, everyone expresses their “individuality” by putting up little strings of lights or other similarly themed decorations (until corporate circulates a memo reminding everyone that they work in a corporate environment and should treat said environment with such respect as a corporate environment deserves in these trying…zzzzzzzzzzz)


Oh, the office. My office building has two sets of doors at the main entrance. The main front facing door and then two steps after that a second door. The little foyer or entranceway in between the two sets of doors serves no purpose, but it is there anyway taking up space (kind of like the people who type up corporate memos). When I arrive at work each morning, there are usually at least two or three other co-workers arriving at the same time making a tiny dispirited parade as we near the first door. The man ahead of me swipes his employee ID card and opens the outer door, holding it open for me as I swipe my ID card.

I say “Thank You!” to the man for being so considerate.

He then arrives at the second door and holds that door open for me also.

At this point, a variety of things happen.

Sometimes I say “Thanks” in a quieter voice hoping to somehow diminish the gratitude I’m displaying in light of the fact that I just gave him a hearty “THANK YOU” not seconds before.

Sometimes, I say nothing because who does this guy think he is wanting two separate displays of gratitude mere seconds apart? Ghandi?

Sometimes (though not often) I say “THANK YOU” just as enthusiastically as the first time, especially if he looks like he’s about to weep openly or side-kick my Achilles tendon.

Sometimes I say “FUCK OFF!” as loud as I can just to completely throw him for a loop and make him rethink his chivalrousness.

OK, I don’t do that last one. Most often, I go with option one which is an odd “Doorway Etiquette” rule that I see many other people engage in also.

“Thank you!” *quieter voice* “Thanks”. As if giving out two “Thank You’s” in a row at the same volume is somehow off-putting to the recipient. Do people feel that the gratitude offered has to be on sliding scale and the second expression somehow has to be diminished so the recipient doesn’t think you are hitting on them, or just insane? If you omit the second thank you, do you feel a little bad as you walk thinking that maybe the person who held the door open for you two times in a row thinks you are a total prick?

What do you do when faced with two sets of doors and “Harry Helpful” holding them both open for you?

What would you do if there were three consecutive doors? Are there any buildings that have 15 consecutive doors?

How low can your voice get while still remaining audible?

Would you eventually write “Thank You” on a post-it note in smaller and smaller writing?

What if “Harry Helpful” was actually “Harriet Helpful” and for the life of you it is impossible to tell if that is a dude or a woman?

At the end of the day when everyone is leaving the building, why is there someone always rapidly walking back toward the building and why does someone inevitably say “Hey, you’re goin’ the wrong way! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL!” as the rapid-walker mumbles an excuse about forgetting their keys?

These are the things I think about as I wander up the stairs toward cubicle town.

4 reaction(s)::

The mad woman behind the blog said...

You have entirely too much time on your hands.
And b/c I'm cute and rarely in this situation, I can get away w/ a hearty thank you and then a demure smile. (Well I THINK I'm cute).

And if its 15 doors, then I know I'm in the wrong place. There is no way someone would let me in to a place that needs that many doors.

Caffeinated Bliss said...

15 consecutive doors? *snerk*

Love the new layout!! Sorry for not visiting more often... I'll try to be a better blog buddy. Promise! :D

aladdinsane12 said...

I totally do two separate phrases- "thank you" and "thanks" words fine. or for the second one, if they're looking at me, i might just smile. but i TOTALLY want to start just screaming "FUCK OFF" now! great idea!

livesbythewoods said...

I counted how many doors I had to go through first in the Walk of Politeness yesterday.


SEVEN fucking doors, all held open for the person walking behind me.

She handled it with grace though, a polite "Thank you" for the first one and then a smile for the others if we made eye contact. I will have to try that myself next time I'm at the back.

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