It appears that car park computers revert to their native language, German, when placed under stress

Raymond Chen

A car park in Birmingham switches from English to German in times of stress. That reminded me that over a decade ago, a colleague of mine noticed an error message on the screen at the exit to the parking garage at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. The way the airport works, you pick up a ticket as you enter, and you pay your parking fee at vending machines stationed around the parking garage, and at the exit, you insert the (paid) ticket into the machine, which verifies that you paid your parking fee and opens the gate. When my colleague pulled up to the machine, instead of displaying the expected Please insert ticket message, it had an error message. In German. Fortunately, my colleague knows German, and he recognized the error message as a Windows 95 serial port conflict resolution dialog. While he was trying to figure out how to click Abbrechen on a machine with no mouse or keyboard, an attendant walked up, took his ticket, and opened the gate.

Just another example which demonstrates that parking garage computers are native speakers of German, and they revert to it when placed in stressful situations.


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