I pressed the "correct" button three times and the ATM ate my card

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That's what happened to Paul Midler when confronted with this display on an ATM in China:

"Correct" is meant to be a verb, not an adjective.  You push the "correct" button when you want to change something that is incorrect.  If what you entered is correct, then you push "confirm".

Got it?


  1. Bathrobe said,

    November 3, 2018 @ 7:54 pm

    So what term do ATMs in English-speaking countries use?

  2. Dick Margulis said,

    November 3, 2018 @ 7:58 pm

    In the US, I think the corresponding prompts are


  3. Robot Therapist said,

    November 4, 2018 @ 4:41 am

    I would have assumed, perhaps wrongly, that "return" meant "return my card to me"

  4. Victor Mair said,

    November 4, 2018 @ 6:40 am

    @Robot Therapist

    When it (the machine) eats your machine, is it not because it assumes that you're messing with it, i.e., doing something wrong?

  5. David Marjanović said,

    November 4, 2018 @ 6:45 am

    Sure. If you enter a wrong PIN three times, your card is blocked, and some machines keep it.

  6. Laura Morland said,

    November 4, 2018 @ 10:20 am

    "Return, Correct, Confirm" … they are ALL verbs!

    When negotiating ATMs abroad, it helps to bear in mind their usual functions, or patterns, as Dick Margulis noted above.

  7. Mike M said,

    November 4, 2018 @ 11:40 am

    I think I would've gotten this right – in Canada there is usually a 'Correction' button so I would've made the association. Other machines (such as my German bank) often do a poor job though. When you cancel a transfer, it asks you 'OK' or 'Cancel' – 'Cancel' here means cancel the cancellation

  8. richardelguru said,

    November 5, 2018 @ 7:25 am

    Laura: "When negotiating ATMs abroad, it helps to bear in mind their usual functions, or patterns"

    I once (momentarily) impressed a visiting prof from China with my grasp of written Chinese whilst fixing something on his personal Mac until I had to admit that the menu items were all in their usual places.

  9. jaap said,

    November 5, 2018 @ 9:13 am

    On a complicated ATM in Spain I was surprised when it twice did not accept my the PIN I entered. It was only then that I noticed that the numerical keyboard was calculator-style (with 123 at the bottom) instead of telephone style (123 at the top).
    I thought it best cancel and find another machine, and not risk my card getting eaten.

  10. philip said,

    November 5, 2018 @ 10:04 am

    Because of some language option button I pressed inadvertently, my ATM card now thinks it is Spanish. When I use it on machines at home (Ireland), it automatically goes into the Spanish option, with no option to switch languages. The first time it happened, I presumed the ATM was faulty and warned the next person in the queue that the machine was speaking Spanish. But, when he put his card in, up popped the English options.

    It's as well I can speak Spanish. Well, enough Spanish to get my money out, anyway!

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