Most "Close Door" Buttons Don't Work, And Most Office Thermostats Are Fakes

You can stop pounding on the “Close Door” button on the elevator. They’re not there for you. Turns out that most of them don’t work unless you’ve a maintenance person or fireman with the special access key inserted. It’s just one of several different “placebo buttons” placed around our world that only give us the illusion of control.

Walk buttons? In Manhattan they’re totally useless, as the New York Times reported in 2004. And most office thermostats are dummies, not connected to any system at all. In 2003 the WSJ detailed how they’re just installed by HVAC guys who are sick of office workers calling them up and complaining about the temperature.

To get around this, some NASA engineers described how they tweak the temperature, like:

* Getting ahold of the special wrenches to undo thermostat covers
* For heat, strapping bags of ice water to the sensors
* For cold, holding lamps or monitors up to the thermostat
* Getting a ladder, popping through the drop ceiling, and adjusting the dampers for more cold

Crazy! Next thing you’ll be telling me this button in the coffee break room that says “Get Raise” isn’t functional.

Employees Only Think They Control Thermostat [WSJ via Futility Closet]
For Exercise in New York Futility, Push Button [NYT via Futility Closet]