Doorbell Etiquette

There are two doorbells at the Bookstore: one is outside the vestibule, the other is located inside the building, by the elevator to the loading dock. The first is for employees to announce that they’re arrived before the store has opened, the second is for the delivery folks to announce they’ve arrived so someone can open the back doors and receive boxes and boxes (and boxes!) of books.

There are two thoughts to employee doorbell etiquette: the first thought, and the thought preferred by management is this: “Ring the bell once. Wait at the doors until someone lets you in.”

The second thought, which is the one I prefer, is this: “Ring the bell. Wait a second, and then if no one comes over to let you in, start ringing it over and over and over again until someone answers the damn door and lets me in.”

A Sunday or two ago, I was walking up to the store at the same time our cafe supervisor, Dennis, was. He rang the doorbell, waited a moment, and then proceeded to ring the doorbell like six times in a row. “Watch,” I said to him. “They’ll think I was the one ringing the bell.”

How right I was! From within the vestibule (the outer doors are never locked) I could hear the store’s PA system crackle to life, and a supervisor I’ll call Jimbalaya say, “Attention, staff. Snay is at the front door, someone please let him in and inform him that it is only necessary to ring the bell once for someone to open the door.”

Dennis and I exchanging knowing “Yeah, right” looks, but a moment later a coworker came up and let us in.

We both went downstairs together, and another coworker gave me an evil eye and said, “I knew it was you ringing the bell” as Jimbalaya nodded in agreement.

“Actually,” Dennis said, “It was me.”

The real kicked came close to an hour later. I was working on multi-media projects in the stockroom, which basically means I was opening boxes filled with new DVD and CD releases, sorting them onto a cart, slapping on appropriate sale stickers, then applying security tags and keepers. The doorbell rang. A moment or two later, the doorbell rang again. A moment later, it rang again. “Is anyone going to get the door?” I inquired into the radio.

Apparently not, because a moment later Jimbalaya announced it was time to open the door, and he instructed a staff member to keep an eye on the register until Lisa, the coworker scheduled to work first hour there, arrived. Lisa walked into the stockroom a moment later, “I would be on the registers now, Jimbalaya, but no one answered the doorbell when I was ringing it! So I’m late, and it isn’t my fault!”

“And this,” I announced, “is why I ring the hell out of the doorbell.”

Angry glares commenced, but I was grinning too broadly to notice. Damn right I still ring the hell out of that doorbell.