I couldn’t pass up the insights of Jim Harper in his post Learned Helplessness
On several occasions recently, I have noted able-bodied Senate staff taking advantage of this convenience. Though they could open the doors themselves and enter more quickly, they press the button and pause a moment as the doors slowly open.
There is a lesson here for policymakers (including those Senate staff): Offered help, people of all abilities will accept it, whether they need it or not. Over time, their abilities to help themselves may atrophy.
I have often watched this same process with my children – they take time to look for the blue button before they enter a door in many buildings. For them there is the novelty of having the door do its own work and also that fact that some of those doors are too heavy for them at their young ages. Still, if I’m going to spend my time at a door I would much prefer that I did so holding the door open for other people to help more people get through the entrance than standing there – holding up the flow of traffic – waiting for the door to open itself. In fact, many times when my kids push the button I open the door for them so they don’t have to wait for those motors. That motor is to help people who need the help when able-bodied people (such as myself) are not around to offer more personalized assistance.