The "close-door" button in the elevator, the crosswalk button at the intersection, even the thermostat in your office — there's a good chance that they're all placebos. Over the last 20 years or so, many (though, weirdly, not all) of these buttons have become technically useless, but are left in place both because it's expensive to replace existing equipment and because, psychologically, they still serve a purpose.

From our forums

  1. pixleshifter

    The phone number for tech-support is made of placebo buttons isn't it?

  2. gjbloom

    I've started telling the compulsive crosswalk button mash-mash-mashers that each button press adds a little more time to the delay because the controller has to process and log each button-press for legal reasons. It's funny to watch them start to see cases where it seems to be true.

Continue the discussion at

67 more replies