England and the United Arab Emirates

A document stated that someone had studied in England, but his application said the United Arab Emirates. The writer of the document accepted this a typo, but on the face of it, it’s the world’s weirdest typographical error. Absolutely no-one goes to type ‘England’ and instead accidentally types ‘The United Arab Emirates’. My confident guess is that the application was submitted online, and various pieces of information, in this case the country of education, were selected from drop-down lists. The applicant didn’t study in ‘England’ but rather in ‘United Kingdom’, which is next below ‘United Arab Emirates’ in standard drop-down lists of the countries of the world. We don’t yet have a name for a mistake made by selecting the wrong item from a drop-down list – maybe a ‘droppo’. (In fact, the applicant did study in England, rather than any other part of the UK, but that’s not my point.) (Very possibly, people might mix Australia and Austria.)

Some years ago I worked for a company which was part of a worldwide group of companies. The email address list had everyone in all those companies, and there was a employee with the same name as me in the international head office. But my suburb of Sydney started with the letter before his city the USA, so I got various emails and text messages for him, which people had obviously scrolled down and clicked the first person with that name they saw, which happened to me. Thinking about it now, I’m slightly puzzled that there was only one other person with the same name in a world-wide group of companies, including every major English-speaking country, and my name is not uncommon.

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