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Elevator Buttons Mash
"It looks like a Christmas tree!"
A person in an elevator car pushes buttons for several or all the floors. Among the reasons:

  • It may be a kid on an elevator who hits all the elevator buttons as a prank. The buttons light up when pressed so other patrons know they don't have to press them again and the kid wants to light them all up.
  • The person may be trying to get the elevator to move. This might happen outside the elevator, when the person pushes both the "up" and "down" buttons despite only wishing to go in one direction or the other. Generally signals impatience on the part of the person, a breakdown of the machinery, or both.
  • The person has a specific reason for making the car stop on multiple floors. Perhaps they're fleeing pursuer(s) and want to slow them down. Perhaps it's a Dying Clue.

Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Seen in Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life.
  • When an elevator stalls in You've Got Mail a person hits all of the buttons in a vain attempt to get the thing to go somewhere.
  • Elf: Buddy presses all the buttons to make them light up like a Christmas tree, then exits at his floor leaving the other elevator users to stop at every floor.
  • Happens in Serendipity, as one of the Contrived Coincidences that keep the leads apart.
  • Alien. Ripley frantically hits the buttons on the service elevator, as she's being chased by a pissed off Queen Alien and the entire station is exploding around her. An elevator arrives just in time to save her, but unfortunately her button pushing summons a second elevator which the Queen uses to follow her up to the landing pad.

    Literature 
  • In A Series of Unfortunate Events, the children do this when they're in the Hotel Denouement, and they're trying to slow down the antagonists. Their father taught them to do it.
  • In Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley and Me, Elizabeth, the main character does this to her nemesis Cynthia whenever they're in the elevator together.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the Doctor Who story "Paradise Towers", set in an enormously tall apartment building, the Kangs do this, and the protagonists get stuck in an elevator they've done it to while fleeing from the monsters.
  • In Workaholics, while the guys (minus Ders) & Alice are high on acid at a hotel, Blake mashes the up and down buttons like he's playing a manic arcade game.
  • Kung Fu: the Legend Continues: two flowergirls do it at the hotel where a wedding reception is being held. When they stop at a floor that's under renovation Peter sees an AK-47 being held by a Janitor Impersonation Infiltration guy who kept his back to the elevator (Peter seeing the reflection in some brightly polished marble tiles) leading to the plot of the episode.
  • In an episode of Ellery Queen (the TV version), a dying man pushes certain buttons in an elevator to indicate the office number of his killer.
  • In one episode of Leverage, Nate does this from outside the elevator- his team are on the top floor, and Sterling is taking the lift up. To slow him down, Nate takes the stairs and runs to hit the Call button on the elevator on every floor.
  • In the Charmed episode "I've Got You Under My Skin'', as Prue is hurrying to make it to her interview at Buckland auction house, and telekinetically makes it happen. Though it turns out one of the other passengers was the person she was supposed to meet with.
  • An episode of Law & Order had a dead body found in an elevator. Using the elevator stop history, they initially determined the floor that the elevator was on before the body was found. An office worker on that floor had initially called for an elevator but went back to his office to retrieve a few items. It was later determined that the elevator in question was also involved in a "double call" where both the up and down buttons were pressed in order so that the murderer was not on the same floor as the dead person and the elevator sent in a different direction so that the murderer could escape.
  • On ''Elementary, Sherlock offends the janitor at the hospital. So when the two end up in the elevator, the janitor gets his revenge by pushing all the buttons as he leaves.

    Music 
  • Used to iconic effect in the music video for PSY's "Gentleman", his most recent single. This is one of many douchebag moves he performs on hapless Korean celebrities throughout the music video

    Video Games 

    Web Comics 
  • A Brawl in the Family strip has the Space Pirates pull this on Samus.
  • In College Roomies from Hell!!!, this is one of the stunts Blue pulls in a bid to appear to be everywhere at once and thus fix herself in Dave's mind. She appears to be leaving the apartment building as Dave enters the elevator, but she has pressed the buttons for every floor and, during the elevator's slow upward journey, she sprints up the stairs and arrives back at the guys' apartment ahead of Dave.

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • Don't try this in real life, as it can be a nuisance for other passengers, especially in buildings with many floors. Some elevators have mechanisms to prevent this, often using the measured weight of all passengers in the car to impose a variable limit on how many floor buttons can be lit up.

Elevator Action SequenceElevator TropesElevator Escape
ElfImageSource/Live-Action FilmsMan Child

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