YOU ASKED COLUMN - Many of the doors in the downtown skyway system are powered so that, when you push them open, they stay open for a few seconds. A lot of times, people will push them open with a flourish, as if to "get the door" for the person walking b

Is it necessary for the second person to say thank you even though the door would stay open anyway?

As self-appointed etiquette expert of the skyways, here's my answer:

Absolutely. It's a small enough gesture to thank someone for a tiny (and superfluous) gesture such as holding open an electric door. It's the thought, not the effort, that counts.

I'm always annoyed when I see people who are capable of pushing open a door in the skyway system pushing the handicapped power door button instead. You have all the answers on skyway etiquette, Mr. Answer Man. What do you think of this?

People are lazy. They use the automatic doors at SuperTarget rather than the nonelectric ones. They use elevators to travel one story rather than use the stairs. And yeah, they use the power buttons in the skyways rather than just push the stupid door open.


A lot of skyway users are Mayo employees, of course, and Mayo buildings are wired with similar power doors. Mayo workers probably slap those power door buttons in their sleep, they're so accustomed to it.

Is it unethical to use power doors when you don't need to? Sure. It's a waste of electricity and wear-and-tear on the equipment. On a 10-point ethical scale, though, this one wouldn't quite make the chart. Much higher on the list for me is when someone walks through a revolving door and nearly purees an elderly person who can't keep up.

Is it true that in the state of Minnesota, a child in the back seat does not have to wear a seat belt if he is between the ages of 4 and 11? Of course, NOT that this is ideal, but you see kids bouncing up and down in the back seats of people's cars all the time, and it drives me nuts that they're not buckled in, but someone told me that there's no law that requires them to be.

Minnesota has had a mandatory seat-belt law since 1986. It applies to all front-seat occupants and all children younger than 11, regardless of where they're sitting in the car. Children ages 3-11 must be in a child safety seat or using a seat belt.

The Minnesota Office of Traffic Safety recommends that children up to 80 pounds be in child safety seats or booster seats, regardless of age, and children younger than 13 should sit in the back seat. As the reader says, though, the expectation should be that everyone's buckled up and not bouncing around.

You Asked has all the answers. Send questions to Mr. Know-it, Jay Furst, P.O. Box 6118, Rochester, MN 55903 or send e-mail to

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