7 Rules of Escalator Etiquette

When the frustration of holiday shopping sets in, a lack of escalator etiquette becomes even more irritating than usual. Unlike subway etiquette, escalator etiquette isn’t common sense because it is so commonly disregarded that I find myself tossing middle fingers and death glares at idiotic escalator riders more often than not.

So for those of you who don’t know how to behave on an escalator, here are the rules that civilization has come up with and that I’m passing on to you. Abide by them or deal with the sharp elbow I’ll give you when I want to get by.

One. Escalators are like highways. Pass on the left hand side. If you want to stand or go very slowly, keep to the right. If you keep left while standing you’ll be blocking people who are in a hurry and who aren’t lazy sacks of shit. I will grumble and swear under my breath if you block my way. I soon will start carrying eggs that I will hurl at the back of your head.  Be prepared to pay the price for being an asshole. You have been warned.

Two. Do not stand in the middle of the escalator. This allows me enough room to push my way through and I will do it just so you are well aware that standing in the middle is selfish and a blatant sign of your dickheadedness. Get to the right or I will toss you there myself if it’s the only way you’ll learn.

Three. Hey folks, don’t be so scared of that last step. For those who are walking on the left side of the escalator, my brothers and sisters, I know it’s tricky, but keep on plugging. There’s no reason to stop and let the escalator take you that last foot or two. Don’t be afraid, the escalator probably won’t eat you. Besides, us left siders are in a rush, remember?

Four. If you’re traveling with a partner (girlfriend/boyfriend/friend/grandma) and you want to stand, one of you stand behind the other. Yes, you don’t have to be shoulder to shoulder all the time. Amazing I know.

***Here’s a tip, if you can get a couple of stairs up on a friend (or a stranger if you’re feeling bold) their face will be at the same level as your butt. Fart away. It’s the perfect gag to melt those holiday season woes. Another tip, if you expect to do this, enjoy some eggnog before you go to the mall.

Five. For those of you wondering what rules apply for the thin escalators that aren’t wide enough to fit two people, there are no rules. Some people want to stand and be carried by the escalator. God forbid they use their own muscles to get anywhere, but the choice is theirs. We must show patience or if the option exists, take the stairs.

Six. When you get off the escalator get the fuck out of my way. Don’t stand there like an idiot, there is a staircase full of people being propelled towards you.  Move, you moron.

Seven. Don’t stand in front of the escalator.  Can’t decide if you want to get on or not? I don’t care, get out of the way. Most people can make this decision in a fraction of a second. Go get a Yogen Fruz and mull it over. Different floor or same floor? Whatever you decide is NOT irreversible.  Fuck.

These rules definitely apply for all right side driving countries, but I’m not sure if they’re reversed in left side driving places like the UK. Anyone know? If so, just switch left and right throughout this article…mate.

Happy escalating, kids.

  • Roo

    I live in Japan, and the system is arbitrary and region-based. Osaka and the Kansai area tends to be “stop on the right” and everywhere else is “stop on the left”. But at least people out here tend to be more conscious of the etiquette than back home.

  • Roo, thanks for the comment! The escalator situation sounds very confusing and dangerous there. Escalators must resemble a train wreck during tourist season. Perhaps my expertise can be used to correct the escalator wrongs occurring in Japan. See if you can find me some plane free tickets and lodging and I’ll be there as soon as possible.


  • Miss Renee P

    Hmm why not just take the stairs???? Just a thought *wink wink*

    • I do usually take the stairs, but sometimes there are no stairs readily available and escalators are the best option. Sometimes, I’m just lazy. Sometimes I just like having an excuse to give people a hard time.

  • hadje

    CC my admiration for you grows in leaps and bounds up escalators and stairs.
    Your overarching superego is showing.
    You’re not a poo-loving drunk after all.
    You know your subway manners. good Camel.
    Your momma must be proud.

    • My momma is proud. So much so that she comments on my blog under a pseudonym. Honestly Hadje, she does. Not even kidding. But she’s cool so it’s okay with me.

  • hadje

    That Jezabel!

  • Ciphasound
    • For any of you viewing the comments, watch the above video. It’s hilarious.

    • The above YouTube video is hilarious. I recommend watching it.

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