March 10, 2007

The Ease of Doing Business

A ship in the harbour is safe, but that's not what ships are made for.
--- Unknown

You want to deal with someone who makes business easy.

It's 5:45pm on a bright but chilly winter day. I'm with my 12 year old son outside a building near Yonge & Eglington, a major Toronto intersection. We're here for a medical appointment. We follow a man reeking of cigarettes into the building and a woman follows us. The elevator button doesn't work. The man explains that you need an access card after 5:30pm, which he has. He uses his card to press the 5th floor button. I press the button for 4, but nothing happens. He won't help us. We three must look like a serious security threat. At least he was brave to let us into the elevator.

He's just following the rules, you see. We'll need to exit the building and someone will have to come down and let us in. The lady also wants to go to the 4th. He exits on the 5th floor and we return to Ground, the only floor that's accessible without a button.

We all exit the building into the frozen street and I buzz our doctor. His nurse comes down. A few minutes later, we're inside. While we wait, two women stand just inside the doors. They won't let us in. It's safer to leave us outside to freeze. Maybe chilly temperatures subdue a potential assailant/thief. Or enrage them.

Closing the Barn Door
What's going on? The building has introduced new security measures. Before, after hour visitors could be buzzed in, as in apartment buildings. No more. Now we need a physical chaperone. There were break ins between Christmas and New Year's Day two years ago. This year, the building was locked down during that period. That meant all businesses had to shut down too.

The result is inconvenience for tenants and visitors. What if another break in takes place? Maybe security will be heightened. Or moderated.

The Safest Solution
The biggest result from the extra security is fear. Fear of breaking rules in the elevator. Fear of opening the building door to strangers during daylight hours.

Ultimate safety comes from barring patients altogether ;)

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