Symbolism -or- You Say You Want a Revolution?

Several months back, in the year-end-must-spend-remaining-budget glut, the physical security department at my office bought a new door. Not just any door, mind you. This was a $50,000 (no really, the facilities guy who installed it told me) security system-based talking Revolvertron 9000. You walk up, swipe your badge, and it securely lets just one person at a time through. 

Took them about three weeks to get it installed. It’s been shut off for the past two months due to certain problems it had. Chief problem being that it changes direction. That is to say, when I enter the building, I enter it to the right. When I leave through this door, I enter to the left. During testing this apparently resulted in a lot of noseprints on the door. They worked up some special signs, and cut a colored arrow into the carpet to make it clear how you go. Etc.

But I rolled in this morning to find that it was turned on. Neato! There was also a team of security people there to talk me through it. My initial reaction was “how stupid is that, I’m sure I can work the goddamn door”. It turned out, however, that their guidance was necessary. After swiping my badge, it didn’t acknowledge me at all. The security folks seemed to know this would happen, and used their own badge to let me through. Once on the other side, though, they needed me to go back through. This time I used my badge and it liked me. Back in the other direction, then. And at the start of it again, suddenly my badge worked properly.

I took a moment to eavesdrop on the security folks as they chittered excitedly about it. Turns out, this had been happening all morning to everyone, which is why they were there.

Another thing occurred to me as well. This revolving door is powered, and moves at its own speed. It can only handle one person at a time, and much more slowly than a common revolving door would. But this particular hallway (something of a side entrance that the first floor people, and people going to the conference rooms, and people going to the gym use) sees enough traffic that there will be lines forming up for this. 

Said facilities guy, when we got to talking about it, told me that the real purpose behind it was to stop people from using that particular entrance and encourage everyone to go through the main elevators entrance. I was confident he was correct when he first said it, but it’s even more clear now. They spent 50 grand (plus install costs, plus removing a couple other doors, etc) to get this thing installed with the express purpose of encouraging people not to use it

You’d think I’m working for the government or something.