Hearing voices in the parking ramp

I’ve had the occasion to park in the Tech Village ramp a few times in the past week, and while I was able to exit promptly each time (unlike others’ experiences), I did notice something odd about the machine that takes validated tickets as you drive out.

When you drive up to the exit gate, a man’s voice automatically emits from the ticket-taking machine, asking you to “please insert your ticket, magnetic stripe up and to the right.”

It’s an odd voice – hard to describe, but my best (and OK, probably slightly exaggerated) description would be that the guy sounds like Droopy Dog slurring his words. After a few days in a row hearing this, I wondered who decided, “that’s just the voice we need for our parking ramp computer!” And I sort of wondered how that poor guy was doing – he must have been having a rough day when he recorded that clip.

But that’s not the end of it. After you insert your ticket, a different, more energetic man’s voice emits from the speaker as the gate goes up, telling you thanks (and have a good day, too, if I recall correctly). That guy is a bundle of vim and vigor compared to the previous voice.

I started imagining some being living inside the machine who subsists on validated tickets. He’s been starving, waiting for someone to come along, woozy and almost unable to get out those magnetic stripe instructions… and then someone inserts a ticket, reviving his spirits and voice just in time for the peppy farewell.

Anyhow, I also started thinking how it would be kind of cool to have a local celebrity be the voice of the parking ramp. As for who that could be – let the discussion begin….

15 Comments

TimK

about 12 years ago

The first voice is definitely synthesized- not a human voice recording. I'll have to pay more attention next time I'm there to listen to the second voice and I'll let you know if it's real or not. Stephen Hawking's voice (back when he could still speak) sounded nothing like the Texas Instruments synthesizer he uses today.

Paul Lundgren

about 12 years ago

I never park in ramps because in my youth I watched too many TV shows and movies in which people get shot in parking ramps.

With that in mind, a good voice would have been Don LaFontaine, but he is resting in peace.

So I'll recommend KUMD's Christine Dean instead.

brian

about 12 years ago

I don't think that first voice is synthesized. I'm pretty sure that guy came out and unstuck the gate for me a couple times when the little ticket got stuck. He just appears from somewhere when you call the help button. Not the booth right there, he came from outside somewhere.

dropkick

about 12 years ago

A few months ago a couple friends and I parked in the same ramp and we were in hysterics for the very same reason as this post was made. However, we counted a total of THREE different voices. There were the two different voices from the one ticket machine, and a third came out of the machine that opened the exit gate for us. I think the final voice was a woman's. We were trying to imagine what sort of bizarre situation would have led to them hiring three different voice over people for essentially the same task, in the exact same place.

Also I'm giggling uncontrollably at the mental image brian's comment is providing me.

dropkick

about 12 years ago

Also: Laura Erickson from KUMD's "For The Birds" should be the voice. With every ticket should also come a fascinating fact about such as warblers or perhaps orioles.

girlfromnorthcountry

about 12 years ago

I second dropkick's suggestion that Laura's voice be the voice of the parking ramp.  Hearing her voice in the morning means I'm officially late for work, so it only makes sense she should have a deeper connection to daily parking rituals.  

I got stuck in that ramp with no cash once and the card machines wouldn't work.  When I pushed the help button I got the crackliest craziest voice that I could not understand over the intercom.  I was laughing and told the guy several times I was so sorry but there was no way I could understand him.  I felt like I was on candid camera, it was that bad.  Finally he just opened the gate for me, this disembodied, unintelligible voice of parking power.

Calk

about 12 years ago

I think Alan Zeppa should be the voice of the Ramp, he's got that voice of authority aura about him. Or someone with a really thick Duluth accent would work for me. Russ Stover?

enealio

about 12 years ago

If you've ever had to take the shuttle between terminals as MSP, there is a British voice giving you instructions. I guess people would rather hear that than "Oh hey there. Don't be hopping on this train now if you don't got to. OK then, have a good day."

Calk

about 12 years ago

@enealio, that British woman's voice on the Terminal C tram always cracks me up, I love it! But would she play in Duluth, which sometimes seems to be rather insular?

Bret

about 12 years ago

The give away is "Droopy Dog slurring his words."  I suspect it's Sen. Lieberman's night job.  Hopefully soon his only job.

Beverly

about 12 years ago

My 5-year-old always repeats the last line, trying to mimic the low voice: "Thank you for parking with us!"
We can't tell what the speaker on the way in says. "This is a (painful, pain-free, pay-full?) facility ..." Anyone?

zra

about 12 years ago

Stephen Hawking's doing voiceovers to pick up a buck or two...

wildgoose

about 12 years ago

Whenever I hear Lieberman speak I think of the dad on "Alf."

TimK

about 12 years ago

Went to Hanabi for dinner- excellent. Parked in the Tech Center ramp. I could barely make out the voice at the gate coming in- so I can't determine who/what/how it was done. The payment machine is definitely a synth voice- similar to the Read Please program I beta tested many years ago... At the exit, no voice commands or prompts at all. I just shoved my validated ticket in the slot and the gate opened.

Duluth Daily Photo

about 12 years ago

I just finally figured out what that voice is saying when you first enter: "This is a pay on-foot facility."

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