If you live in Illinois, and have to conduct business with the state, AT ALL COSTS avoid visiting the Thompson Center State of Illinois Building. It is in such a state of disrepair, and the building staff is so horribly trained, that it’s a death trap waiting to happen.

The problem specifically involves the basement level, where the food court, DMV, and Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) station all reside.

The issue starts with a broken escalator, and the problems escalate from there.

Normally, when an escalator is out of service, it’s still accessible, so whatever is wrong with this escalator, the problem involves more than just the motor. It must be unsafe to use in any condition. Great.

So now you’re trapped in a basement with only the elevator for exit to the ground level.

The elevator can only handle so many people at a time, including the union elevator operator who sits slumped over in his seat while regulating how many trapped souls are able to ride to the exit at a time. Approximately 8, depending on girth.

In addition to the elevator operator, the building also has a “security” guard posted outside the elevator. I asked this guard if there were any stairs available to use and her answer was tersely, “No.”

Me: “No?”

Guard: “No.”

ME: “Well what do you do in case of emergency?”

GUARD: “We have them.”

ME: “So if there’s an emergency, that’s when you’ll let me know how to get out of here alive without waiting for the elevator?”

GUARD: “Yup.”

And that’s that. In Illinois, you’ll get emergency evacuation information if and only if you are in an emergency, which everyone knows is NOT the moment to try and communicate instructions. The time to do that is BEFORE an emergency.

Also, note that the sign for the escalator is printed. That means this problem has been going on long enough that they’ve had time to print a damn sign. This is not a temp situation. It’s long term!

Illinois and Chicago are crumbling. And they don’t care if you die in the rubble.