But, I do have something I just figured out lately regarding Elevator Etiquette. Even between Wisconsin and Texas, I found general differences. For example, in Texas, ALL men allow women to go first...through a door, on the elevator...even to the point of stacking up awkwardly to allow a woman to go first. That was kind of fun the first time I realized that. I really didn't know what to do. Wisconsin...well, let's just say it's a little more egalitarian...sometimes men let women go first, sometimes they don't...I mostly grew up there, so I never noticed the pattern until I moved to Texas.
From my point of view, the quirk over here in Hong Kong is when people get off the elevator, as soon as your coattails clear the door, someone is pushing the "Close Door" button to get the elevator moving. In other words, if you're daydreaming, fixing your hair in the mirror, or taking a nap, you'll miss the elevator. Heck, you may even miss it if you are paying attention! In Texas, this would be interpreted as a rude, "I-don't-want-to-be-on-the-same-elevator-with-you" move. Not here. This is an efficient traffic flow move. You should see the stacks of people lining up in the morning and at lunchtime! After the first few months, I jumped onto this habit. Now, I even step up to the elevator operator position to keep the elevator moving as the crowd peels off to their respective floors (although most people don't expect a foreigner to be manning the elevator buttons).
The other habit is one that just swam out of my subconscious into my stream of awareness. It's something that's been niggling at me for months, but my brain was busy processing so many other things, this hadn't pinged my radar of consciousness until recently.
It has to do with the Bunching Factor.
Observations about US characteristics...first, that people are individualized and personal space comfort zones are about 3 feet. When in a crowded space (such as an elevator or underground train) people will bunch and disperse based on the socially ingrained comfort zone. When a crowded space disperses, people generally reconfigure to the socially acceptable distance.
A few observations about Hong Kong: the culture is much more collective...you do things in groups. Combine that collective nature with smaller personal space zones, the tendency is to bunch into a group...and stay bunched, even when space frees up. This niggled at my subconscious for a long time...people would get off the elevator but maintain their position, much to the chagrin of my claustrophobic self. I had this feeling that something was "off" but just put my finger on it a few months ago...people didn't de-cluster from their groups even if space was available.
It was strange to go back to Dallas and have people evenly space out in the elevator as space freed up and actually wait for the elevator doors to close. I think I'm going to have reverse culture shock going back to the US...people will be looking at me strange as I stand at inappropriately close distances and close the elevator doors on them.
To sum up Elevator Etiquette by location:
What is Elevator Etiquette like by you? Have you noticed differences when you visit somewhere else?