20-40-60 Etiquette---On the stairway...how do I get by?
QUESTION: Here is an etiquette question that applies mainly to people downtown. Some of our parking garages have small stairways. I’ve noticed that men and women carry multiple bags (such as a purse, gym bag, lunch box, laptop bag, etc.). When they walk up and down the stairs, they block both the up and down passageways with all their stuff. No one can get around them as they walk at a leisurely pace. When I am in that situation and I sense a stranger needs by, I step to one side and allow traffic to go around me. What is the correct thing to do?
CALLIE’S ANSWER: Yes, that is the correct thing to do. This is situational. I would just see how the other person reacts in the situation. Someone, hopefully, will stop to let the other person go by.
LILLIE-BETH’S ANSWER: Although this may happen often and feel like more of a problem when you’re in a hurry, thankfully this is more of a brief inconvenience than a serious affront. The best way to handle it might be to treat it as such. Take a deep breath, be patient and try to slow down as you wait for the chance to go around the person. If you’re rushed, perhaps you could wait until the person gets to a landing and say “Excuse me. Do you mind if I get around you so I can make my meeting (or appointment or whatever) on time?”
Because the stairwell in our building is wide and usually empty, I don’t usually run into this problem, although I’m always aware of people coming or going, and I’m usually the one in a hurry. I suspect it’s similar to getting behind a slow driver, another frustration.
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