For me, the point of indifference is probably 4 flights.
Yes, if I am going up 4 flights of stairs I would be equally likely to take the elevator or the stairs. And going down? I'm probably indifferent at around 6 or 7 flights, depending on if I'm carrying a lot of/heavy things. Indeed, after living above the 3rd floor for 3 years in a row at Brown, I would have been very grateful for for an elevator on move-in day, but I managed just fine- and so did everyone else. When I lived on the 5th floor, there was an elevator, but it was extremely tiny compared to the number of people living in the building, and I generally found it very inconvenient, as it was located on the opposite side of the building. Every morning I would just walk down the stairs right near my room with little thought.
Flash forward. For the past 4 quarters at Stanford I lived on the 4th floor of a building with 2 elevators (the slowest moving elevators in the history of elevators) which I only used on occasion: such as carrying especially large loads of laundry or when I probably should have just made two trips to bring groceries in from my car, even though it was a mere 1.5 times my carrying capacity. After the aforementioned recent move , I find myself on the 11th floor of a 12 floor apartment-style dormitory, and have never had the impulse to walk up the stairs. I have gone down once, but will probably never do that again, except in case of fire. Needless to say, this means I ride the elevator at least twice a day, on a normal, non-hermiting day.
Now for my rant: sometimes I am amazed at the laziness of my fellow-occupants. For instance...
I was doing my laundry, which means I used the elevator an unusually many number of times that day, and during one of my journeys back up, I was stopped mid-ride: 3rd floor. I greet this rude interruption (please note the sarcasm) with a ''polite'' smile and then actually start feeling annoyed when I noticed that they got off on floor 5. Two flights of stairs?! Really? My only consolation was that they probably had to wait longer for the elevator to come, than it would have taken them to just walk up the stairs like a normal person. Since that time, I have discovered that this is not a rarity.
I have encountered such instances on numerous occasions. I have slight sympathy for those going up, but the other day when someone made my ride stop twice so they could go down ONE floor, it took every ounce of my mother's teachings for me to not say something about it to them. You know, something casual...
"Hey, did you know there are stairs at both ends of the hallway? Yeah funny thing... they're behind the doors with the big green exit signs above them, so I can see how you might have been confused and thought they were exits, instead of stairs. Well, now you'll know for next time. Have a great day!"
"Hey, did you know there are stairs at both ends of the hallway? Oh you did know! Oh... sorry, I just thought you might have used the stairs if you had known about them since you were just going down one floor."
Okay, some people may have knee problems or something... fine. But as for the rest of you... (which is most of you- given that I live on a college campus, not in a geriatrics ward) you should be ashamed!!
This is why America is getting fat.