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Old 03-13-2018, 07:31 AM
Asimovian Asimovian is offline
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Business owners: what's with the single locked door?

This may have a simple factual answer, but it may not, so I'll start it in IMHO.

I just want to know why it happens so often that when I walk up to a business with a standard set of swinging double doors at the entrance, I'll find that one of the doors is locked. I don't mean where one door is actually broken and there's a sign that says "Please use other door." I'm talking about being left to guess which door is going to be the correct door.

I encounter this often enough that I don't believe it's just an employee forgetting to unlock both doors in the morning, but maybe I'm wrong. Logic would suggest that if you're intentionally keeping one of them closed, you'd want to let people know which one to use, rather than having them yank on a locked door. But my annoyance usually comes and goes so quickly that I never remember to ask anyone in the store or restaurant by the time I'm actually dealing with an employee. So I'm hoping the wisdom of the Dope can help me, here.

What reason or reasons would a business with double doors have to make only one door available to the public to use?
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Old 03-13-2018, 07:36 AM
Mangetout Mangetout is offline
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In many implementations of double swing doors, one of them is designed to be 'commonly open' and the other has floor bolts at top and bottom - and is deigned to be opened occasionally to admit wide objects or so that both doors can be pegged open for ventilation.

In particular, the swing of the commonly-open door is often constrained to one direction by a flange on the normally-closed door - unbolting the normally-closed door may result in the commonly-open door being able to swing both ways, and as a result, for the doors to close improperly (with the opening door on the wrong side of the flange).

There are also a few safety issues - if you are walking toward a pair of swing doors that have opened toward you, and are closing - your forward motion is such that you will swing the doors inward, but if you accidentally put your hands in the gap, the doors will fully close on your hand before they begin opening again in the other direction.

Last edited by Mangetout; 03-13-2018 at 07:39 AM.
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Old 03-13-2018, 07:43 AM
Ludovic Ludovic is online now
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I wonder that too except about secondary doors to businesses. It's so common to have them locked in fast food restaurants that sometimes I go to the main doors first even if the secondary doors are closer to me. I almost said "side doors" but this happens even when the secondary door is actually in front of the business, in full view of the counter, so the "security" excuse won't fly.
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Old 03-13-2018, 07:45 AM
madmonk28 madmonk28 is offline
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I believe that this is actually a fire code violation and that during business hours, both doors are supposed to be open.
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Old 03-13-2018, 09:31 AM
kayaker kayaker is online now
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My business has a double door with one kept locked. Both doors can be opened to allow large items to be moved in or out.
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Old 03-13-2018, 09:33 AM
Hermitian Hermitian is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mangetout View Post
In many implementations of double swing doors, one of them is designed to be 'commonly open' and the other has floor bolts at top and bottom - and is deigned to be opened occasionally to admit wide objects or so that both doors can be pegged open for ventilation.
I would say the other door is also designed to be used by people. If it were only designed to be used for wide objects and ventilation, then it would not have been given a nice handle which people yank on all day unsuccessfully.

In my opinion, most of the time this happens because the employees (not the owners) are too lazy to open both doors and are too apathetic to fix the situation after watching people try to use the locked door.

If I ever own a business, not opening both doors will be a fireable offense (maybe with a three strike system or something).
  #7  
Old 03-13-2018, 09:36 AM
Asimovian Asimovian is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kayaker View Post
My business has a double door with one kept locked. Both doors can be opened to allow large items to be moved in or out.
Do you indicate to your customers which door is the unlocked door? Or are they left to guess?
  #8  
Old 03-13-2018, 09:38 AM
running coach running coach is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Asimovian View Post
Do you indicate to your customers which door is the unlocked door? Or are they left to guess?
Sometimes, you have to make your own entertainment.
  #9  
Old 03-13-2018, 09:55 AM
krondys krondys is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hermitian View Post
I would say the other door is also designed to be used by people. If it were only designed to be used for wide objects and ventilation, then it would not have been given a nice handle which people yank on all day unsuccessfully.

In my opinion, most of the time this happens because the employees (not the owners) are too lazy to open both doors and are too apathetic to fix the situation after watching people try to use the locked door.

If I ever own a business, not opening both doors will be a fireable offense (maybe with a three strike system or something).
I've worked in a building with the "double-door but only one side unlocked ever" for 20 years now. It really is as Mangetout describes- the door is NOT designed for both sides to necessarily be open at all times. The usually-closed side really serves more of a structural purpose most of the time, and is only intended to be opened occasionally. And if it didn't have the "nice handle", how else would it be used when needed?
  #10  
Old 03-13-2018, 10:06 AM
kayaker kayaker is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Asimovian View Post
Do you indicate to your customers which door is the unlocked door? Or are they left to guess?
It's obvious, as the locked door has no handle.
  #11  
Old 03-13-2018, 10:13 AM
Hermitian Hermitian is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krondys View Post
I've worked in a building with the "double-door but only one side unlocked ever" for 20 years now. It really is as Mangetout describes- the door is NOT designed for both sides to necessarily be open at all times. The usually-closed side really serves more of a structural purpose most of the time, and is only intended to be opened occasionally. And if it didn't have the "nice handle", how else would it be used when needed?
If you open it once a year, it doesn't need a handle. Just unlock it and push on it.

I guess I just don't get this thought process:

1. Install double doors.
2. Most businesses unlock both of their doors, but your doors are special, so keep one door locked so customers cannot use it.
3. Most business that have one door locked have some way of telling customers (a sign, lack of handle, etc), but that is for square businesses, we are unique. We will make sure customers cannot tell which one doesn't work.
4. Profit!

Make the non-operational door opaque. Make it not have a handle. Come up with something interesting. But making some customers frustrated can't be helpful to anyone.
  #12  
Old 03-13-2018, 10:14 AM
Mangetout Mangetout is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krondys View Post
I've worked in a building with the "double-door but only one side unlocked ever" for 20 years now. It really is as Mangetout describes- the door is NOT designed for both sides to necessarily be open at all times. The usually-closed side really serves more of a structural purpose most of the time, and is only intended to be opened occasionally. And if it didn't have the "nice handle", how else would it be used when needed?
I've seen examples where the normally-closed door had no handles - I guess because it was assumed that it would only be opened by people in charge of the building, and they would grasp the door edge to move it.

I've seen half-width doors like this too - which clearly are structural until you have a wide load, then they are temporarily a door.
  #13  
Old 03-13-2018, 10:20 AM
Mangetout Mangetout is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hermitian View Post
If you open it once a year, it doesn't need a handle. Just unlock it and push on it.

I guess I just don't get this thought process:

1. Install double doors.
2. Most businesses unlock both of their doors, but your doors are special, so keep one door locked so customers cannot use it.
It will very often be because the second door *is* special - it acts as part of the door frame for the one that opens - the doors actually work differently (and not so well for some purposes) if they are both free to open.

Quote:
3. Most business that have one door locked have some way of telling customers (a sign, lack of handle, etc), but that is for square businesses, we are unique. We will make sure customers cannot tell which one doesn't work.

...

Make the non-operational door opaque. Make it not have a handle. Come up with something interesting.
This is actually what I most often observe - the non-opening door is normally obscured by advertisement material or some such, and the opening door is the one with the push/pull sticker on it

Last edited by Mangetout; 03-13-2018 at 10:20 AM.
  #14  
Old 03-13-2018, 10:24 AM
Channing Idaho Banks Channing Idaho Banks is online now
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My job has this system. We do it to reduce airflow when it's colder than 50'.
  #15  
Old 03-13-2018, 11:23 AM
AllShookDown AllShookDown is offline
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My experience has been that if the door IS designed to be opened on both sides (larger stores, for example) 99% of the people will use the one people are already going in and out of and are too lazy to open another door. They'll stand there and wait until there's an opening in the stream of people coming out of the store so they can use the same door to go in. It drives me nuts because they're usually standing right in front of the other working door, blocking it so I can't use it.
  #16  
Old 03-13-2018, 01:14 PM
Whiskey Dickens Whiskey Dickens is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AllShookDown View Post
My experience has been that if the door IS designed to be opened on both sides (larger stores, for example) 99% of the people will use the one people are already going in and out of and are too lazy to open another door. They'll stand there and wait until there's an opening in the stream of people coming out of the store so they can use the same door to go in. It drives me nuts because they're usually standing right in front of the other working door, blocking it so I can't use it.
Urge to kill... Rising...

I don't want to sound like a edgy 14 year old, but man, people in a crowd are such sheep. Definitely noticed the same phenomenon. I've opened the second door a few times and exclaimed "this door works too!" with a sarcastic shocked look my face.

/End rant
  #17  
Old 03-13-2018, 01:33 PM
Roderick Femm Roderick Femm is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Whiskey Dickens View Post
Urge to kill... Rising...

I don't want to sound like a edgy 14 year old, but man, people in a crowd are such sheep. Definitely noticed the same phenomenon. I've opened the second door a few times and exclaimed "this door works too!" with a sarcastic shocked look my face.

/End rant
Well, it's probably true that most people aren't focused on the immediate task of opening a door in order to get into a store (maybe they are more so when it's raining or cold outside). That doesn't make them sheep, just inattentive.

I agree that, if a business is going to have double doors with one of them inoperative, it should be really, really obvious which one is the correct one to use. Having no handle seems like one obvious move, there are probably others.

Of course, as we have fewer and fewer actual stores and our entire commercial life moves towards being conducted online, this whole question will become moot. Then the issue becomes, why don't homes come with secure drop-boxes for delivered items?
  #18  
Old 03-13-2018, 02:30 PM
cochrane cochrane is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Whiskey Dickens View Post
Urge to kill... Rising...

I don't want to sound like a edgy 14 year old, but man, people in a crowd are such sheep. Definitely noticed the same phenomenon. I've opened the second door a few times and exclaimed "this door works too!" with a sarcastic shocked look my face.

/End rant
Are we long-lost twins?
  #19  
Old 03-13-2018, 04:04 PM
Heracles Heracles is offline
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This subject comes up regularly on the SDMB, which may be a sign of something.

In this thread from 2017, and this one from 2012, one factor that came up was that one door may have a tendency to stay open because of the wind.
  #20  
Old 03-13-2018, 08:57 PM
Buttercup Smith Buttercup Smith is offline
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Guilty. I run a business with double doors but most times only one is unlocked. I did not know it bothered anyone until now. I will make a point of unlocking both going forward.
  #21  
Old 03-14-2018, 07:35 AM
manson1972 manson1972 is offline
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Originally Posted by Buttercup Smith View Post
Guilty. I run a business with double doors but most times only one is unlocked. I did not know it bothered anyone until now. I will make a point of unlocking both going forward.
But why did you only unlock one of them in the first place?
  #22  
Old 03-14-2018, 07:37 AM
manson1972 manson1972 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AllShookDown View Post
My experience has been that if the door IS designed to be opened on both sides (larger stores, for example) 99% of the people will use the one people are already going in and out of and are too lazy to open another door. They'll stand there and wait until there's an opening in the stream of people coming out of the store so they can use the same door to go in. It drives me nuts because they're usually standing right in front of the other working door, blocking it so I can't use it.
GOD I hate this! Every morning at 7-11. There are TWO doors people!!!!!
  #23  
Old 03-14-2018, 10:56 AM
divemaster divemaster is offline
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It certainly helps with pedestrian traffic flow if, when approaching a two-door set, you choose the one on your right. That way, folks going in and folks going out don't step into each other or have to play that little dance where you wait for the person to make his move and then you step back for them to pass and then you proceed. Two working doors allows for efficient traffic flow.

Locking one of those doors and not indicating such is non-intuitive and totally gums up the works. I hate striding confidently toward a glass door, expecting to have it open with a push and let me keep on going, but instead, WHAM!, immovable object.
  #24  
Old 03-14-2018, 11:16 AM
aceplace57 aceplace57 is offline
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Two open doors plays havoc with the Central Heat and AC.

It's especially miserable for the employees that work in the front of the store. A blast of cold, freezing air isn't much fun when you're in a short sleeve dress shirt.

We unlocked one door. The other one had a sign saying it was locked.

Ideally, its better to have two sets of doors with a vestibule. Like malls. So that freezing blast of air can't blow in. Then! You can keep both doors unlocked.

But, that's not found in most strip mall store fronts.

Last edited by aceplace57; 03-14-2018 at 11:21 AM.
  #25  
Old 03-14-2018, 11:27 AM
aceplace57 aceplace57 is offline
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Has the procedure changed to unlock a door with a push bar?

We had a hex key in a drawer, behind the counter. The hole was on the underside (of the push bar) and it took several turns for the push bar to drop down. Then the public could enter.

I worked the evening shift and used the hex key to lock the door many nights. That's been three decades ago.

Has it changed in newer buildings?

Last edited by aceplace57; 03-14-2018 at 11:30 AM.
  #26  
Old 03-14-2018, 11:48 AM
Kimballkid Kimballkid is offline
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Have you not been in a store in 30 years? Pay attention the next time, the only places I've seen the doors like you describe have been on schools and government buildings, not on stores. They usually only have a push handle on the inside and a pull handle on the outside. One side usually locks/unlocks with a regular key and the other door locks/unlocks with 'catches' on the top and bottom that go into the door frame.
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Old 03-14-2018, 11:58 AM
aceplace57 aceplace57 is offline
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I worked at the University bookstore. We sold drinks, snacks and microwave dinners & sandwiches. Always very busy in the evening.

We had doors with push bars. It's a fire code requirement. Nobody, ever gets locked inside a building.

Last edited by aceplace57; 03-14-2018 at 12:01 PM.
  #28  
Old 03-14-2018, 12:02 PM
Yllaria Yllaria is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by madmonk28 View Post
I believe that this is actually a fire code violation and that during business hours, both doors are supposed to be open.
The "side" door that I used yesterday wouldn't let me in, but it would let me out. I'm guessing that's the way most of them are.

No idea why they don't want it used as an entrance, but I've also seen fast food side doors with alarms on them. Those can't be used either way unless it's an emergency.
  #29  
Old 03-14-2018, 12:06 PM
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For the handle situation: that way you have versatility. The business who gets the building can decide to use it as an open door or as a usually closed door. They may even have started out using it one way but changed it. The only time I see doors without handles are businesses like Walmart or a restaurant where the building was specifically built for them.

As for signage: am I wrong, or isn't it usually the right door that works? And isn't that the one you'd most likely try first, due to how we drive and walk on the right? There may not be enough people who try the left door to bother, especially since it apparently onlynregisters as a mild annoyance that doesn't keep you from coming back.
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Last edited by BigT; 03-14-2018 at 12:08 PM.
  #30  
Old 03-14-2018, 12:10 PM
aceplace57 aceplace57 is offline
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Yes, the door on the right unlocks.

The door on the left has latches at the top & bottom.

I never bother trying the other door. I expect it to be locked unless I see people using it.

Last edited by aceplace57; 03-14-2018 at 12:12 PM.
  #31  
Old 03-15-2018, 10:12 AM
Napier Napier is offline
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I'm always amazed that so many businesses guarantee the very first thing half of their potential customers experience is rejection.
  #32  
Old 03-21-2018, 09:49 AM
butler1850 butler1850 is offline
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I believe the bigger issue isn't so much employees forgetting to unlock the doors, as much as it is a matter of closing employees locking that door when they leave. While they may lock the "door lock," if the 2nd door isn't pinned locked at the top/bottom, then the door can be opened in many cases (if the lock bolt is too short) by simply pulling the two doors open. The locking point on the inside edges of the door simply separates and the bolt slips out... or at least opens enough to encourage someone to try harder at opening it, or setting off an alarm.

It's easier to tell folks to keep that door shut than it is to respond to a call from the security company at 3 AM to go throw that latch at your store, 30 minutes from your home.
  #33  
Old 05-01-2018, 09:15 AM
AllShookDown AllShookDown is offline
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I was in NYC last weekend and was going out of the Eataly doors on 5th. For some reason, everyone was going in and out of the LEFT hand side. So I opened the right hand side, just as someone else was opening the right hand side to go IN. I must have rolled my eyes and I looked at the guy coming in and he looked at me and he rolled his eyes and said, "I know."
  #34  
Old 05-01-2018, 12:21 PM
Asimovian Asimovian is offline
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For what it's worth, I noticed on Friday that the business that inspired this thread now has a sign on the locked door saying to use the other door. It has been nearly three years since I've started going to that location.
  #35  
Old 05-01-2018, 01:32 PM
erysichthon erysichthon is offline
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What perplexes me even more than the "one locked door" scenario are the businesses that have two doors, and the one unlocked door has a push button with a handicapped symbol on it.

Am I supposed to push the button if I'm not handicapped? If I just push on the door to open it, am I damaging the door-opening mechanism? There's some resistance and a weird groaning sound—am I stripping the gears or something? And WHY ISN'T THE OTHER DAMN DOOR UNLOCKED?
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