There are certain customs that aren't written down anywhere but they are still nearly universally subscribed to. I'm thinking of those things we learn by example from our friends and family as we go about our day-to-day business. Things that make the world just work more smoothly.
Like, say, not standing right over the person in front of you at the ATM's shoulder, right? You hold back 5 or 6 feet to give the person some privacy and a certain level of comfort to make a safe transaction.
Most folks recognize that in the interest of common courtesy, one should start writing out the check at the store register while the items are still being rung up. Go ahead and have the date and the store name at least filled in before you know the exact amount the check will be. You don't wait until the total is presented before then starting to dig through your wallet or purse for a check, do you? Of course not. That would be rude.
Today I want to suggest that there is a social norm that should be adhered to but apparently has not saturated the masses yet so its execution is spotty. I observed it with my own eyes while doing some Christmas shopping on Sunday on several levels of Seattle's Pacific Place shopping center.
And here it is: People, on an escalator, you stand on the right and walk on the left. Stand right. Walk Left. If you are not going to climb the stairs under your own power you should park yourself on the right side of the escalator's steps. If you mean to walk up and down yourself you should do that on the left, passing the people on the right.
Of course, if you are coming out of a subway and there are 100 people using the escalator at the same time then no one should be trying to be speedy. You just get on and ride. But if the passengers are sparse enough, then that's the rule. Stand right. Walk left.
As you were.