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This is a lateral thinking puzzle based on my real life:

Earlier this evening I got into an empty elevator, pressed a button for a floor, and walked out before the door closed.

  • I wasn't being silly or pranking anyone; my action served a purpose and all its components (getting in the elevator, pressing the floor button, and getting out before it left) were necessary to achieve that purpose.
  • I did not have a partner, nor was my action intended to assist any other person.
  • I was not engaging in repair or maintenance of the elevator, nor attempting to test its operation for any reason, in fact this scenario has nothing to do with my job.
  • This has nothing to do with trying to get exercise
  • just to reiterate, the elevator was empty, of both people and objects.
  • I took this action deliberately, and was not attempting to correct a mistake.

I'll answer specific questions in the comments. Upvotes for incorrect answers that are plausible under the circumstances, but only a really awesome one (or the correct one) will be accepted.

Edit: though I call this a lateral thinking puzzle, it doesn't use any of the trickery that those puzzles sometimes use. The information I've given can be taken at face value, I just haven't given you all of the information.

Edit 2: So I'm new to Puzzling.se and I'm not sure what the protocol is in cases like this as far as how long to wait before posting the actual answer, unless I hear otherwise, I'll wait a week.

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closed as off-topic by Aza Jun 10 '16 at 7:06

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • $\begingroup$ Did you pressing the button cause the door to close or did it close on its own? $\endgroup$ – Logan Jun 10 '16 at 5:27
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    $\begingroup$ No, I didn't. I did go to another floor, though. $\endgroup$ – Gabriel Burns Jun 10 '16 at 5:36
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    $\begingroup$ Wes the elevator a conventional building elevator? $\endgroup$ – Brent Hackers Jun 10 '16 at 6:43
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    $\begingroup$ This breaks two of the things you suggested: A) That the elevator was not broken and B) that there was no errors/mistakes. $\endgroup$ – Inazuma Jun 10 '16 at 7:57
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    $\begingroup$ Can I just add that all my answers were made so much harder to give by the fact that I was using the word "elevator" instead of "LIFT"... each key press sent a jolt of self distain up my fingers and arms and into my chest where it stung at my heart. :( LIFT! LIFT! LIFT! LIFT! LIFT! lift. lift. lift.... lift. I feel better now. $\endgroup$ – Brent Hackers Jun 10 '16 at 8:36

21 Answers 21

8
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You did this to send one elevator away so you could take the other elevator.

I'm not sure why you did this, however.

Maybe

You are claustrophobic, and one elevator is a lot smaller than the other.

Or

One elevator is malfunctioning. (Maybe the button for your floor doesn't work, or it goes really slow, or it has a history of failing and you don't want to get stuck in it).

Or

The elevator had a terrible smell inside.

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    $\begingroup$ I like the bad smell idea. Maybe he'd even put it there himself and sent it away like a little bio-weapon of hidden origin. $\endgroup$ – Brent Hackers Jun 10 '16 at 7:02
  • $\begingroup$ This is right, specifically it was malfunctioning, but how? clearly it left when I pushed the button, so why couldn't I get to my destination? $\endgroup$ – Gabriel Burns Jun 10 '16 at 7:03
  • $\begingroup$ @GabrielBurns I'm not sure how I'm supposed to guess that? Suffice it to say that you couldn't use it to get to your floor because of the malfunction. $\endgroup$ – user21939 Jun 10 '16 at 7:04
  • $\begingroup$ A floor other than the one you selected was highlighted maybe? $\endgroup$ – Brent Hackers Jun 10 '16 at 7:05
  • $\begingroup$ @GabrielBurns Maybe the elevator was a lot more slow than usual to move ? $\endgroup$ – Mayo Jun 10 '16 at 7:07
11
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An answer from real life:

The elevator was a freight elevator that exactly accommodated a furniture cart, with no room for a passenger when the cart was present.

On the other floor was that cart, which I wanted to use.

On my floor was another elevator, too small for the cart, which I took to the other floor.

I wanted both elevators and myself to be on the other floor so I could put the cart into the freight elevator and again take the smaller elevator myself.

Related story, also true, that almost fits the conditions:
Started with my bicycle and an elevator at the top of a multi-story parking lot.
Pressed every button in the elevator and sent it empty on its merry way.
Saw the elevator open and close its door on each floor as I biked to the bottom.
There I rode into the elevator just as its door was opening, and got a lift back to the top.
(Rinse and repeat.)

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  • $\begingroup$ I really like this. Everyone should upvote it. It's not what happened though. I might accept it on a provisional basis. I haven't decided yet. $\endgroup$ – Gabriel Burns Jun 10 '16 at 6:00
6
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A pretty girl on the floor you were heading to was due to take the elevator. You sent the other elevator to a different floor so that she would have to wait longer an you'd have longer to talk to, or just bump into, her.

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  • $\begingroup$ I'm not that slick. I like it though. $\endgroup$ – Gabriel Burns Jun 10 '16 at 6:31
  • $\begingroup$ Best answer so far. $\endgroup$ – Kujua Jun 10 '16 at 6:33
5
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You were trying to...

place or read a sign on the outside of the door. It was an elevator that stays open on the ground floor by default, so the onlt way to read the sign is to somehow get the door closed when you're on the outside, and the easiest way to do that was to send it off.

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  • $\begingroup$ Excellent notion! Also a poor place to put a sign. Not that that makes it a bad answer. People doing stupid things is right in line with real life. Not what happened, though. $\endgroup$ – Gabriel Burns Jun 10 '16 at 6:30
  • $\begingroup$ @Gabriel: I've definitely seen signs on the outside of elevator doors before, and elevators that stayed open by default - not sure if I've seen both at the same time though. It was worth a shot. $\endgroup$ – Deusovi Jun 10 '16 at 6:31
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Did you

Take the elevator to another floor and walk out on that floor before the doors closed?

That would still allow for your condition that the elevator was empty

when you entered it.

Likewise,

You were assisting yourself get to another floor, not "any other person"

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  • $\begingroup$ Clever, but you can assume my hints mean what they seem to mean. There's something I'm not telling you, but what I do tell you I'm giving straightforwardly. I would give you the promised upvotes, but sadly I have just realized my rep is still too low on this SE. I'll come back to you. $\endgroup$ – Gabriel Burns Jun 10 '16 at 5:47
4
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You were in a hurry and there were two elevators, you sent both to your floor so that you could do a quick turn around once you got there even if one was then in use?

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  • $\begingroup$ Good thought, but no. $\endgroup$ – Gabriel Burns Jun 10 '16 at 6:21
4
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The elevator has...

two doors, one on each side and you wish to access the floor on other side of the lift. You call the lift, enter it (it is empty), press the floor button on the other side of the lift to open the opposite door and walk out.

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  • $\begingroup$ Clever, but no. $\endgroup$ – Gabriel Burns Jun 10 '16 at 7:00
3
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You used a

Dumbwaiter.

You probably work at a hotel and needed to transport something to a few floors above or below. A dumbwaiter has no doors and it was empty before you put anything into it.

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  • $\begingroup$ I like that answer except for the hint "in fact this scenario has nothing to do with my job." $\endgroup$ – Logan Jun 10 '16 at 5:24
  • $\begingroup$ Nope. It was empty, period. I'm not trying to trick you with the framing of my question, and it's an actual elevator- for people. $\endgroup$ – Gabriel Burns Jun 10 '16 at 5:25
  • $\begingroup$ Also, "I got into an empty elevator … and walked out …." $\endgroup$ – Peregrine Rook Jun 10 '16 at 5:42
2
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You got on the empty elevator, pressed the button, went to your floor and got off.

You were able to walk out before the door closed because:

The door was broken or the elevator does not have a door at all!

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  • $\begingroup$ Good thinking. I'll upvote when my rep gets high enough. You're not right, but you're on the right track. $\endgroup$ – Gabriel Burns Jun 10 '16 at 5:49
  • $\begingroup$ Still no (after your edit). FYI, There not being a door would be another example of me trying to trick you with my hints, since saying "before the door closed" implies there was a door and that it eventually closed, or will close. I like the broken door theory, though. $\endgroup$ – Gabriel Burns Jun 10 '16 at 5:57
  • $\begingroup$ thanks for the hints @GabrielBurns I am still thinking... $\endgroup$ – Logan Jun 10 '16 at 5:59
2
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The fire alarm went off or other emergency occurred that forced you to take the stairs unexpectedly.

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  • $\begingroup$ another good answer. Not what happened, though. I actually rode an elevator to my floor. $\endgroup$ – Gabriel Burns Jun 10 '16 at 6:18
2
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After pushing your floor button, you realized someone else had already pushed other floors between. You knew the elevator would stop unnecessarily and took chances on a different one.

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2
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The only thing I can think of...

Is that some of the floors required swipe card access (from the outside). You pressed the right button, but you needed to exit so you could swipe your card properly.

Though I realise this may contradict the "not a mistake" property but it fits the bill about the difference between a commercial building elevator, and 'technically' have access to all the floors.

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  • $\begingroup$ You found some of the key points, but not the right answer. see the accepted answer, specifically my explanation in the comments. $\endgroup$ – Gabriel Burns Jun 10 '16 at 7:11
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you got an important phone call on your mobile right after you pressed the button! If you are inside a closed elevator you might lose the network, so you got out. :)

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  • $\begingroup$ That doesn't explain why he pressed the "wrong" button. $\endgroup$ – Deusovi Jun 10 '16 at 6:45
  • $\begingroup$ Okay, this kind of fits, except that I recently edited the question to clarify that all components of the action (getting in, pressing the button, getting out) were toward a single purpose. $\endgroup$ – Gabriel Burns Jun 10 '16 at 6:45
  • $\begingroup$ oops, I missed that edit. $\endgroup$ – Arun Xavier Jun 10 '16 at 6:46
1
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Were you trying to...

avoid someone, or delay them?
If you sent an elevator off to the top floor, then got in another, they would have no choice but to take the stairs, since neither elevator would be coming back any time soon.

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    $\begingroup$ Good thought. I'll remember that next time I'm in a chase scene. It's nothing like that, though. $\endgroup$ – Gabriel Burns Jun 10 '16 at 6:43
1
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You were

seeing whether or not you would be eligible to join the Hero Association

This is what went down

You walked into an empty elevator and as soon as you pressed the button to lets say the 13th floor, you immediately booked it for the stairwell. Your goal was to run to the intended 12th floor.

Once you got there, you would press the button to call the elevator to go down. When the elevator arrived, you looked at the lights to see which direction the elevator was going. If it was going up, congratulations! You have super speed and are eligible to become a hero. Otherwise, you're unfortunately just an average, normal human being...

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0
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You were expecting someone to come soon -- someone who'd need the lift. Of course they could've summoned it themselves, but you pressed the "ground floor" button to send it to the ground floor in advance, as a little courtesy.

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  • $\begingroup$ I said my action was not intended to assist any other person. That includes hypothetical expected nonspecific people. $\endgroup$ – Gabriel Burns Jun 10 '16 at 5:44
  • $\begingroup$ Oops -- must've missed that. $\endgroup$ – Rosie F Jun 10 '16 at 5:45
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There were no electricity in the building, so, you may have enterer through the open doors, pushed your button, muttered something like "Meh, of course, silly me, no electricity ..", and went to take the stairs.

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  • $\begingroup$ He said he wasn't correcting a mistake. Besides, that doesn't explain the "different floor" part. $\endgroup$ – Deusovi Jun 10 '16 at 6:33
  • $\begingroup$ I didn't make a mistake. $\endgroup$ – Gabriel Burns Jun 10 '16 at 6:34
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, deusovi .. He was not trying to correct a mistake .. he earnestly tried to use the elevator . I fail to see how it was "correcting a mistake" $\endgroup$ – Den Jun 10 '16 at 6:35
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    $\begingroup$ forgetting (or failing to notice) that there's no electricity would qualify as a mistake. $\endgroup$ – Gabriel Burns Jun 10 '16 at 6:37
  • $\begingroup$ Not only that, he commented that he did indeed take a different elevator to his floor! $\endgroup$ – Kujua Jun 10 '16 at 6:38
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Had the bulb gone out behind the button? You had no way to know that the elevator worked until you had stepped out and the doors began to close?

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  • $\begingroup$ That doesn't explain why he pressed the "wrong" button. $\endgroup$ – Deusovi Jun 10 '16 at 6:44
  • $\begingroup$ also, sounds like a mistake. $\endgroup$ – Gabriel Burns Jun 10 '16 at 6:46
  • $\begingroup$ @Deusovi Maybe... $\endgroup$ – Brent Hackers Jun 10 '16 at 6:46
  • $\begingroup$ @GabrielBurns Maybe...... $\endgroup$ – Brent Hackers Jun 10 '16 at 6:47
  • $\begingroup$ Fair enough. I've now clarified that the entire action was intended to achieve a single purpose. $\endgroup$ – Gabriel Burns Jun 10 '16 at 6:50
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I may be totally off, but maybe you are referring to

elevator as the building where grain is stored ? enter image description here I'm not sure how that works, but maybe you have to go into the elevator, push a button to activate the external ramp that moves grain to the top of the elevator, and then you leave before doors close and grain begins to fill the elevator ?

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  • $\begingroup$ My hints can be taken at face value. They mean what they seem to mean, at least to the extent that I can predict how you will interpret them. $\endgroup$ – Gabriel Burns Jun 10 '16 at 7:02
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There was no elevator door.

You walked out of the elevator before the door (of the room you're going to) closed.

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  • $\begingroup$ see the bottom of the question post. My hints mean what they seem to mean. $\endgroup$ – Gabriel Burns Jun 10 '16 at 6:15
  • $\begingroup$ was the elevator you walked out of going to the right direction of where you intended to go? $\endgroup$ – shine Jun 10 '16 at 6:24
  • $\begingroup$ It was going in the right direction, but not to my intended floor. I remind you, though, I didn't make a mistake. $\endgroup$ – Gabriel Burns Jun 10 '16 at 6:25
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My answer:

You were in fact testing whether the elevator will go down if there's no weight on it.

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  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Please use spoiler formatting when answering questions. $\endgroup$ – Brent Hackers Jun 10 '16 at 8:05
  • $\begingroup$ It is known by common sense that elevator do go up and down being empty. $\endgroup$ – manshu Jun 10 '16 at 8:24
  • $\begingroup$ Sorry, will keep it in mind for next one. Yeah, but I used one elevator which wouldn't move unless some weight was on it (when commanded from the inside only). $\endgroup$ – JollyMort Jun 10 '16 at 8:33

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