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Old 01-19-2020, 06:24 PM
WobbleZone WobbleZone is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 1,380
My wife and I were at the annual managers seminar of the large electric utility I worked for. The meeting was in the very large ballroom of a downtown hotel. We had finished dinner and our CEO was speaking when the fire alarms went off with flashing lights around the perimeter of the room.

Now this utility tirelessly promotes employee safety, with an active safety department and monthly safety meetings for all employees. When I worked there, the two easiest ways to get fired was to get caught stealing and to habitually violate safety rules. Nonetheless, when I told my wife that we were evacuating and we walked out, fewer than a dozen other people did so, and none of the others at our table. Either most just assumed (rightly, as it turned out) that it was a false alarm, or they didn't want to be seen walking out on our CEO.

We got out of the room and out of the hotel and went home. If there was a rush by a panicked crowd, I intended to be well ahead of it. Only the following week at work did I learn that several minutes after the alarm it was announced as a false one.

This was most disturbing to me, but nicely illustrates how large groups of people tend to act with the herd, waiting for authoritative instruction rather than acting for their own preservation.
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