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November 20, 2007



I disagree with you on the escalator thing. My feeling is, if there isn't a person ahead of you then you can walk up the stairs of the escalator, BUT if there is someone on the escalator then it is only appropriate to stop walking once you get to the level that the person is on, maybe even 1 or 2 below them just to give them their space. I mean really, it's not like the escalator takes that long to get to your destination.

brother john

The ideal situation on an escalator is when you can silently sneak up on the person carrying the most packages and carefully tie their shoe laces together. Now that's entertainment.


Said rule is posted in Tube Stations in London. And the rule also applies to flat moving belts in Airports. I hope all the people with hours on their hands enjoy the ride (on the right), but the rest of us have places to go and people to see!


I'm dissapointed that you didn't also include the annoying escalator "pile up" which occurs when clueless riders stop en masse, at the top of the escalator to decide where they are going to go next, while the rest of us have to skirt around them, like salmon around a river rock.



Bite me.
Bean is so right on this issue.
the real question is how lazy are people who don't walk up the escalator?
And bean, i've been on subway escaltors where there are throngs of people who do walk up the escaltors (but you have to travel to the San Francisco Bay Area or Europe)


I'm so with you on this one. As someone who has done some traveling, I can tell you this happens everywhere, even when it is clearly posted right next to the escalator. It is incredibly annoying.

michelle k

i agree whole-heartedly with you on those points bean. but can you notify the shoppers at my grocery store about the waiting-til-they-get-the-total-to-pull-out-the-checkbook thing? Because they never got the memo on that one. ugh!

Tiffiny Whitney

I don't know how wide the escalators are where you live...or maybe it's just how fat people are where I live...but there isn't enough room to walk past someone on the escalator regardless. You get on a step, and there you stand until you get to the top.

Escalators in general are for lazy or disabled people. If you really want to walk, what's the point of taking an escalator to do so? Why not just take the stairs? The point of an escalator is so that you don't HAVE to walk.

I will agree with you on the "moving walkways" in airports, of course. Stand right, walk left. That's generally how it is in the Utah airport.



Indeed, as a native of NorCal.....I've ridden BART many a time, and with the teachings of my father, have assumed the position on the right or left of the escalator. Wait that came out totally wrong.....but i think you know what i mean!
So when i go to Brea Mall or Westminster Mall down here in SoCal (the bad place). I HATE when others don't adhear to these common courtesy rules.....I'm an "in and out" shopper...i know what i want and where to find it, I don't dawdle and so i'd like to be efficient in my mall MOVE!!!!

Jeff Smick

yes! yes yes yes.

I actually live in SF. Most people are pretty good about this. When someone isn't the walkers aren't afraid to either politely say 'excuse me' or just nudge a little. If someone's standing right smack in the middle I usually give a little nudge as I try to push past them.

Here's another one that just floors me though: people stand right in front (as in inches from) the door of a train as it pulls in to the station. To those people: YOU CAN'T GET ON UNTIL EVERYONE ELSE GETS OFF! Get the eff out of the way of the doors and make the process just that much more efficient. Even worse is being on the train and having your path blocked by these people as you try to exit. Being a pretty big dude (6'4" 200lbs) I'll stand there and give them about a second to get the hell out of my way, after that I just charge through and knock people around.

Always nice to see people that are with me on this issue.


it's like clockwork in japan. the only time there is a pile up is when you see oblivious tourists.


Erm...correct me if I'm wrong, but the point of escalators is you take them so you DON'T have to walk up stairs. Stop trying to shove past me on the already narrow steps, jerks.


im with you on this one as well...what i really can't stand is those who take shopping carts and baby strollers up the escalator even after passing a sign that says NO STROLLERS OR SHOPPING CARTS!

Erick V

You forgot to mention that people traveling on the escalator with others need not stand side by side. This also impedes the progress of people in a hurry to get nowhere, who want to get there fast.
Funny you should mention check writers at supermarkets. I work at a supermarket with an older clientele. How do you tell someone with a check number in the 60,000's that it would be faster if they used a debit or credit card? I have had the same checking account for 10 years and need to write 150 more checks before I finally hit the 1000 mark.


Fatties need to take the elevator, got it Steph?


THANK YOU BEAN for doing the Lord's work!

Last weekend I was traveling and due to the fact my departure was delayed in Philly, I only had 20 minutes to get to my connecting flight to Ontario. Of course, that flight was leaving from a gate at the other side of the Salt Lake City airport. There are signs right on those moving walkways that say: STAND RIGHT WALK LEFT. Do you know how many asshats I had to say excuse me to in order to get them out of my way??? And then the looks they gave me as I hurried by??? The airport wasn't even busy. Sheesh!

Donna G.

Indeed, I agree. In London, this is the way things are done. We found it quite efficient when we visited there, and trust me, the locals expect that you abide by this cusotm. Doubt it will catch on here though.


Bean - What side do I stand on when I want to walk down an eseclator moving up?

I think the middle!!!


I thought the escalators were there for me to stand at the bottom of and look up girls skirts.


I agree with your rule Bean. I find this also true for people walking slowly on sidewalks. Move to the side, not the middle so people can walk around you. My unsaid rule is for people who do not work or are retired. Please stay out of the stores on weekdays between 11:30 to 1:00 and leave that time for the working folk to get and errands done during their lunch HOUR. You have all day to be in the stores. We can all share the stores on the weekends.

LP're right. Airports did it right when they decided to paint "stand-stay to the right/walk-stay to the left" messages on the moving walkways. The same rule applies to ALL escalators.

Fred G

I'm with you Bean. I'm also finding this one more common - "when crossing a street (or parking lot), walk directly perpendicular to the street you are crossing. Do not go in a diagonal direction, increasing the distant and time you need to get your slow ass across the street."


Totally Agree! I used to ride the subway here in Los Angeles and would hate it when people didn't have the common curtesy to just stand right when obviously everyone else was doing it. Some people are just plain retarted.


I'm sorry but if your just gonna stand there then ride the freaking elevator. The moving stairs are there for those of us who want to get up the stairs fast not for you lazy people who wont wait for the elevator!


I live in Boston, and the escalator thing comes up for me ALL THE TIME, because we are pretty big subway users here. (I'm from LA, but I didn't learn the escalator rule until I spent time in DC, which has signs elucidating this rule in the Metro stations.) My other pet peeve is when people walk on the wrong side of the sidewalk -- you're supposed to walk like you drive, people. When you're turning left at a corner, do not swerve close to the building. Stay in your lane! (This is particularly aggravating when the ground is a block of ice and there's no way to regain your footing when some asshole barrels around a corner straight into you.) Bean, we think alike.


I wasn't saying that I don't walk up the steps on the escalator when I'm going up it, all I said was when I get to a person who is just standing there that I stop because I don't want to look like an impatient a-hole.


This is definitely the etiquette in the U.K. However, it is not widely known, much less widely accepted, in the U.S. It's unfair to criticize people here for failing to abide by it.

But by all means, let's try to spread the word.


For those of you who are complaining that you shouldn't have to stand on the right to allow for people to pass I ask you this: does it hurt you to abide by this simple rule? No, it doesn't. So just do it and shut up. Quit being a selfish a-hole and think about your fellow man for once in your life. It's not that difficult.


What about putting a little pep in your step when you cross the street or a parking lot. Dont look at me and glare as you walk at a snails pace (especially while on the phone!!). At the end of the day Im in a car A-hole. I can just run you over!

Whoaa...that felt good.

SoCal Ricko

This couldn't be more necessary. But just as there is always a jacka$$ who wants to do 65 in the fastlane on freeways, there's going to be someone who rather stand and hold each rail with their hands as they cruise up the escalator. LAZY A$$!

Don't they know we important people have places to be and are trying to get there as quickly as possible?

Slow to the right, pass to the left. True on the road and on the escalators of the world.


You will get the beat down of a lifetime for not adhering to this law here in London. You have no choice but to use escalators in most tube stations... As usual Bean, you are right.


Wait...what's the rule again?


I just returned from Las Vegas and rode curved escalators at the Forum Shops. I never knew an escalator came in anything other that straight.

d in the oc

Hey Bean
I found myself on an escalator at the mall this afternoon, remembered your strongly worded letter and stood to the right. Sure enough the lady behind me carefully walked right on thru. I like to think that I made a small difference in her shopping experience. Of course, she probably didn't notice with all of the "Black Friday" hysteria going on.


On black Friday, I encountered a couple holding hands--STANDING-- on the same step; this made it impossible to pass them--unless I wanted to be the a-hole that told them to move it.
I wish everyone could read your blog bean then we could live in the land of enlightened beings!


I've just got to add one more thing to this and I think if we all abide by this concept life will be a lot easier. Slower should keep right. Faster keep left. After having a nice Thanksgiving, and surprisingly, a nice drive on I5 heading south it was slightly ruined when I reached the 210 east. It didn't matter how fast I drove nor what lane I was in. There was always someone faster and they were passing me on the left and the right. I stayed to the right and passed on the left. That wasn't good enough. I still had people pass me on the left and right at the same time. And this became extremely aggressive. I just don't understand why. I'm in the middle lane going 75. Somone in front of me is going slower I just pass them and then make a lane change to the right. I don't cut people off. And I give the car in front of me plenty of space when I pass them. Why is this so difficult? I had three incidents where people on my right were passing me yet I was going faster than the traffic flowing on the right. Two drivers felt the need to speed up to the point where they had inches between the car in front of me to the right and my car. That bravery can really make a bad day for a lot of people so why do people do it? That happened to me twice. Then a third driver was tailgating me and with feet between my bumper made a pass to my left cutting off the driver that was in the lane to the left of me. Had I not swerved to the right I think a few cars would have been taken out. So I just wanted to tweak Bean's comment about stand right, walk left. Those slower, keep right. Those faster keep left. If there are those slower in the left, don't 'take out' those that are in the right following the rules.

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