Double doors, one locked. Wtf??

See this a lot in small businesses. One of the double doors is locked. Very annoying. Why do this?

Are you talking about those bolts that go through the top and bottom edges to keep the door from moving? There’s a lever you flip on the side of those doors to retract the bolt.

I always thought they kept one door fixed to cut down on drafts entering the building. The wider the opening the more hot or cold air rushes into the building. Just a WAG, but I have been annoyed before when drafts from an open door made my office’s receptionist space chilly. It also allows all the street noise into the building while the door is open. Our receptionist always wears a sweater in the winter because of drafts from the door.

I was sure that Cecil had already done a column on this subject, saying basically: If there are two doors, usually one of them is too small to fulfill regulations, so both should be open. If one side is locked, it’s a violation of both handicap access and fire exit regulations, and should be reported either to the manager or the fire dept.

He also said that store managers locking one door were stupid, but that the practice continues.

But for some reason, I can’t find the column.

Back when I worked at Dollar General, we had these types of doors, and sometimes we left one locked, for various reasons.

Extremely windy days one would be locked, to keep the door from randomly blowing open and smacking someone in the face. (Started doing this after a kid got his nose broke and his mom sued.)

If someone dropped something that made the floor slick in that spot, we’d lock the door to keep someone from coming in on that side. (Veggie oil, brake fluid, etc.) We’d clean the mess, but the floor would remain slick for awhile afterwards.

I know there was more reasons than that when we would lock one side, but I can’t remember now. As far as it being a code violation, we never had any complaints about it, and I know on at least one occasion the fire chief came in while we had the door locked and he didn’t say anything.

In my experience, it’s usually just because the manager forgot to unlatch the other door. This includes my experiences when I was the manager in question. :smack:

That’s not necessarilly the case at all (although I concede that it could be in certain circumstances). If the doors are on a final exit then both should be openable, but they wouldn’t have flush bolts fitted in that instance anyhow.

Not all double doors need to be a rebated pair where both open - a set of double doors can easily have one fitted with flush bolts (usually the slave leaf) leaving the main door adequate for circulation widths. (dependant on occupation numbers) The extra leaf can be opened when required to provide additional width for ease of moving furniture or equipment around etc…

I see this all the time at small stores and fast-food places. It’s annoying as hell, because you reach for the door or try to push it open, and it won’t budge because it’s locked. You have to go to the other one.
Most of the time it’s a constant thing, so it’s not because somebody spilled something, or it’s a windy day. It just seems to be a policy to only unlock one door, and it’s annoying. Even if you know that one of the doors is locked, you forget (or you forget which one).
and it doesn’t have to be that way – the doors were both clearly made to be unlocked. So, with the OP, I have to ask: WTF?

I’ll throw this out there, it just occurred to me.

The door that is kept locked is the slave door, the one without the keyhole, it’s locked and unlocked with flush bolts in the edge of the door. At closing time, if you forget about those switches, and simply turn the key in the main door, the doors are not actually locked, because the slave door can swing freely, and the bolt is secured by the slave door.

The slave door is kept locked so that the store is not accidentally left unlocked overnight.

One door is usually adequate to allow the everyday traffic. However, should the business want to bring in a large piece of equipment, one that’s too big to fit through the regular door, having a second door that can be unlocked and opened will be beneficial. So by keeping one door usually locked, you have the benefit of a smaller opening (less loss of heat or cold), but you have the option of having a larger opening, on the rare occasions when you actually need it.

I’ve got a pair of double doors like this in my current house. We usually only unlock and use one door, but if we need to bring in an appliance, that second door is very valuable.

If I ever own a business, there will be big penalties for my employees that don’t unlock both doors.

Leaving one door locked is customer unfriendly.

Some of them are actually permanently locked, with a sign “use other door” - the Moe’s near us is like that, and it drives me nuts especially when it’s busy.

This is true. One of the most valuable lessons I learned from my late father is that it’s always the door with the keyhole that’s open. That little bit of knowledge has surely saved me minutes of wasted effort over the years.

I’ve done business with a lot of liquor stores in blighted neighborhoods; they often lock one door and take the center handle off of the remaining door such that if they’re robbed, they’re more likely to get perfect beautiful fingerprints when the perpetrator pushes the door open by the glass. They typically keep someone wandering around during peak hours to wipe the glass and keep an eye on loitering customers.

It annoys me too.

At a restaurant near my office, I used to be very very annoyed that only one of the two doors would be unlocked, so I had made it a habit of unlocking the second door’s bolts myself. Eventually I mentioned to the owner that I had been doing this, and suddenly he looked very worried. Now there’s a big sign on the always-locked door that says “Please use that door instead ---->” .

I guess the real reason is what **Cheesesteak **said in post #8.

(bolding mine)

The architectural terms are ‘active’ and ‘inactive’. The active door being the one with the deadbolt or lock, the inactive door normally only has a flushbolt at the top and bottom.
On residential type double doors, the inactive door will usually have a ‘dummy’ handset or knob. The way to tell them apart is the active door will have a deadbolt or key cylinder (with a keyhole), above the handset or a keyhole in the knob.

While I find it irritating, in at least a few instances, it seems to make sense. For instance, my gym will often leave the inactive door locked, but it makes sense because it has a little ledge on the inside so if it doesn’t close first it ends up being left held open by that ledge on the active door. So, in general, if they have both unlocked, they’ll end up just propping both doors open. The inner double doors don’t have a ledge, so they’re always both unlocked. If neither door has a ledge on it, I don’t really see much purpose to leaving it locked other than simply forgetting.

I don’t really buy the lock-up at night idea. If the person locking up can’t be asked to double check that bolts are done or just push on the door to make sure it’s secure, well, how can you even trust them to remember to lock up every door at all? Then again, as much as I find it frustrating to hit an unexpectedly locked door, it’s never actually affected my decision to do business there, so maybe they just see it as having no real effect, so why bother?

Pure, 100% grade, D.O.C. stupidity.
Here in Peru it’s everywhere: McDonald’s, gas station shops, restaurants.

When I become Emperor of the World, they’re gone; they’ll be begging for the guillotine.

I think Lynn nailed it

I have asked businesses whether they do this so that half of their customers experience rejection as their first emotion when dealing with the business, but have never heard an enlightening answer.

At my business the slave door has a bad closer which is on order. If you let it go it shuts with a BANG!, so while we wait for parts to come in, sometimes we leave it locked.