By Rob Hyde
A gravestone company in Upper Austria tried to sell a man a grave for his wife who is still alive.
Franz Lengauer, 73, was shocked to received a prospectus addressed to the family of “the deceased Mrs Maria Lengauer” when she was sitting right next to him at their house in Mauthausen.
The company had not only declared Mrs Lengauer for dead, and sent a catalogue with a variety of headstone offerings, it had even included a ten Euro voucher as a supposed further incentive.
“This is simply irreverent. My husband and I were angry for a whole week.”
Frank and Maria Lengauer had both been on a mediterranean cruise holiday when they returned to find the letter.
The error is thought to have occurred because a local lady with the same name had died recently.
Last year Austria began to use the “quick response” (QR) codes for graves, which have long been in use in Japan and Denmark.
In 1994 the QR code system was invented Toyota’s subsidiary company, Denso Wave, in order to scan vehicles during the manufacturing process at high-speed.
Now some graves feature lengthy messages of condolence or other information expressed as a a QR code which has been chiselled onto the headstone. A family member with access to a machine which can decode this is then able to read these messages.