In need of a lift?

Getting in a lift used to be so mesmerising.

I can remember being younger and finding the whole idea of shutting myself into a steel box and shooting up and down between floors to be one of the most exciting events imaginable.

Fast forward the clock and now they are the most annoying shop accessory ever.

With a buggy in tow, lifts are our only option of navigating safely from one part of a shop to the other. And it’s always easier said than done.


Green with envy, I watch as other happy shoppers merrily board the escalators, blissfully travelling from Floor A to Floor B.

Clutching our buggy in one hand and shaking my fist frantically with the other, I stand in the queue for the lift glancing impatiently at the closed lift doors.

Will it ever come?

And that’s if you can even find the thing in the first place!

I’ve got to be honest and admit that shopping isn’t exactly my favourite pastime. It’s probably not even in my top ten. Like most blokes, I’m a first-shop, first-item-seen kind of shopper. Get in and get out with barely enough time to shake the dust off my feet.

Having a baby does not allow for this kind of shopping.

Instead of cheerily floor-hopping, now swapping from the first to the ground becomes a nightmare of lift-searching and time-wasting.

In some shops it’s fine – John Lewis for instance has extremely well sign-posted lifts which are well maintained and not too far away from the entrance. Sure, there’s usually another couple of people waiting who we nod at politely and then entertain our daughter but that’s OK.

However in others, it’s clear that the lifts have been forgotten and discarded – an unused relic from a bygone era where people did not have moving staircases to help them ascend and descend.

For instance, in River Island, we found a service lift round the back of an abandoned clothes rail. The elevator didn’t even have a roof!

An unnerving view looking up the lift shafft

An unnerving view looking up the lift shaft

Or when you want to get downstairs in a shopping centre but have to go into a shop simply to find their lift.

We could see, hear, smell, almost touch the exit of the Arndale Centre the other day, only we were one storey too high. In order to get out, we walked the length of the shopping centre to BHS, scraped into a tiny lift and then had to walk back. What a waste of time and effort.

Please learn how to walk Sophie. My mood could do with a lift!


  1. Try being claustrophobic…!!

  2. I know how you feel. I went to a H&M near to where we are and was on the middle floor. The lift fits 1 push chair or buggy and 1 person, that’s it. Because I was on the middle floor it was an endless battle of trying to find a gap between people going from the top to bottom and vice versa. The most frustrating thing was that the people in the lift could quite have easily used the escalator, but that must have been too much like hard work. 8 passes of the lift and 8 exchanges of uncomfortable glances as these people realise there’s no room for me and the push chair later, I’m able to get in.

    Great post and such a simple observation.

    • Joe

      September 7, 2014 at 2:39 pm

      Thanks Tony. I can really picture your scenario. It’s so frustrating! And yet before baby arrived, I had no idea of this whole world of elevator fury.

  3. Completely agree. The Arndale Centre is a nightmare. Try having a buggy and your older child desperately needs the loo when you are a floor above the loos you have to run a LONG way to get to the lift just to get down!

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