Always know your elevator number

Murray Rothbard, and other scholars, have pointed out that one of the widely held misconceptions in our society is that things are inevitably getting better with the passage of time; the notion of an ‘inexorable march of progress’. In fact, a study of history reveals that improvement is frequently followed by decline. This came to mind a while back when I was riding an elevator that stopped moving between floors, and I opened the little door and picked up the red phone:

(rings many times) “Acme Elevator Service, this is Rachel, how may I help you?”

“Well, this elevator has stopped and the doors didn’t open, and I think somebody ought to … ah … get it going again.”

“I’m sorry for your inconvenience, sir. Can you tell me the number of your elevator?”

“I thought these things must have some sort of caller ID or something…”

“I’m sorry, sir, but I have 5,000 elevators from all around the country, so I need to know which elevator you are on.”

“Hmmm, I see something here that says ‘Elevator 3’, is that it?”

“No, sir, it would be a 5 digit number.”

“Can you tell me where the number would be shown, in the elevator?”

“No, I’m sorry, sir, but it really depends on the manufacturer and model.”

(After looking around a bit): “Well, I don’t see any number like that here. I can tell you I am in Minneapolis, on the Fizbin Companies elevator…”

(Impatiently): “Ok, sir, if you can hold a minute, I will try and find it.” (click, and on hold)

I never learned if she found my elevator. While I was on hold, the elevator started moving again, and I hung up the phone and quickly exited the elevator.

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