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Bluff The Listener

BILL KURTIS: From NPR and WBEZ Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME, the NPR news quiz. I'm Bill Kurtis. We're playing this week with Peter Grosz, Roxanne Roberts and Tom Bodett. And here again is your host at the Chase Bank Auditorium in downtown Chicago, Peter Sagal.


Thank you, Bill.


SAGAL: Right now, it's time for the WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME Bluff the Listener game. Call 1-888-WAIT-WAIT to play our game on the air.

Hi, you are on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.

NATE WALKER: Hi. This is Nate from Burlington, Vt.

SAGAL: Hey, Nate from Burlington. How are you?

WALKER: I'm great. How are you?

SAGAL: I'm...

WALKER: Nice to talk to you, Peter.

SAGAL: Nice to talk to you. Now, Nate, Bernie Sanders was once mayor of Burlington, right?

WALKER: Absolutely. Bernie is very popular here. We all love Bernie.

SAGAL: Do you have any, like, insider gossip about Bernie you want to share?

WALKER: I had a friend a couple years ago who was just going on a hike through the woods. And passing him on the trail the other way was Bernie Sanders.


TOM BODETT: Did he sniff his head?


PETER GROSZ: Huge scandal.

SAGAL: I know. Well, Nate, it's nice to have you with us. You're going to play the game in which you must try to tell truth from fiction. Bill, what is Nate's topic?

KURTIS: You're under arrest.

SAGAL: Isn't it crazy how standing in the moving sidewalk at the airport isn't illegal but murdering someone who stands on the moving sidewalk is?


SAGAL: This week, we read about something that was once just annoying now being against the law. Our panelists are going to tell you about it. Pick the one who's telling the truth, and you'll win our prize - the WAIT WAITer of your choice on your voicemail. Are you ready to play?

WALKER: Oh, yeah.

SAGAL: All right. Here we go. Your first story of an annoyance made illegal comes from Tom Bodett.

BODETT: When Carol Dahmen of San Diego discovered the CVS receipt draped across the kitchen counter, she couldn't resist pulling out her tape measure. Her husband had purchased one single prescription, yet the receipt, she discovered, stretched out at an astonishing 4 feet 8 inches...


BODETT: ...The height of Olympic champion gymnast Simone Biles.


BODETT: It's also the width of an Antwan Truffle reclining love seat, longer than the legal harvest limit for alligators in Georgia and about the size of a good number of other random everyday objects you don't think about very much. This receipt is ridiculous and unnecessary, Dahmen tweeted, calling for the scrapping of paper receipts for emailed versions. Leaping into action at the ting of a tweet, Democratic Assemblyman Phil Ting of San Francisco introduced a bill that would make emailed receipts the law for businesses grossing more than $1 million a year. Rule breakers could be fined $25 a day and up to $300 a year - which, if you're grossing more than a million, is, like, nothing.


BODETT: The state already bans single-use plastic bags and mandated that plastic straws be available by request only. If the e-receipt bill passes, California would once again become the first in the nation to crack down on another hidden hazard of our modern lives. They're wasteful, and they're toxic, Ting said about the receipts. Their lack of recyclability really makes them problematic - strong words from a mildly influential man.


BODETT: Rest easy, California.


SAGAL: In California, an attempt to make those horrible, long drugstore receipts finally illegal. Your next story of something vexing being verboten comes from Roxanne Roberts.

ROXANNE ROBERTS: The millionaires and billionaires in Palm Beach are used to getting anything they want. But on this exclusive Florida island, the one thing they can't find is parking. The shortage of public spaces has been a problem for years. But things came to a head last November when Elise Flagger (ph), a descendant of the island's founder, and Susie Herman (ph), third wife of a hedge fund billionaire, got into a fight on Tony Worth (ph) Avenue. Elise pulled the front of her Rolls into an open space just as Susie backed her Jag into the same space, and neither would budge. The ensuing brouhaha resulted in disorderly conduct arrests for both women...


ROBERTS: ...And a new law passed last month, reports the Palm Beach Daily News. City officials debated various solutions but finally settled on this - if two cars arrive at the same spot at the same time, the older driver gets the space...


ROBERTS: ...If and only if he or she produces their driver's license as proof of age. But the real genius of this is that they know any self-respecting trophy wife will drive away before ever revealing their real age.


ROBERTS: As of March 31, there have been no further incidents.


SAGAL: In Palm Beach, a legal solution to the problem of two people vying for the same parking space. Your next story of a peeve being prohibited comes from Peter Grosz.

GROSZ: When 75-year-old Wanda Krahnsen (ph) ran for mayor of Baker City, Ore., it was on a pledge to, quote, "restore fiscal responsibility, old-fashioned values and good grammar." That's right - grammar. Ms. Krahnsen, as she's known to three generations of Baker City children, was an English teacher at South Baker Middle School for 45 years and spoke passionately during her campaign about how improper grammar amongst millennials is emblematic of society's overall decline. After she easily won election last fall, she had the clout to convince the city council to pass the Getting Ready to Affirm Momentous Modifications About Recitation Act - or GRAMMAR Act - which went into effect this week, making the following conversational crimes, well, actual crimes - using LOL or other Internet jargon in conversation, using like anywhere in a sentence other than to indicate approval and using the word literally literally anywhere except when it's literally mandatory that you use the word literally.


GROSZ: Violators will be forced to put $5 in the grammar jar, a giant 6-foot-tall mason jar that has been installed outside city hall. This law is, like, so stupid, 26-year-old Bethany Urbina (ph) told the Baker City Herald. Yeah, I totally said like. So what? This town has gone #insane. At which point, police grabbed Bethany, cuffed her and dragged her off to the grammar jar. As she disappeared out of sight, Bethany was heard calling out, help. I'm literally being tortured.


SAGAL: All right.


SAGAL: One of these things is now subject to the full weight of the law or will be. Is it from Tom Bodett, those annoying, long CVS and Walgreens receipts?


SAGAL: Apparently, they like those receipts. What can I tell you? Is it from Roxanne Roberts, parking place disputes are now going to be adjudicated in Palm Beach...


SAGAL: ...By age, or from Peter Grosz, actual laws against poor grammar in a small town? Which of these...


SAGAL: ...Is the real story of laws about what is annoying?

WALKER: I'm going to go with Tom's story about the long receipts.

SAGAL: You're going with Tom's story about long receipts being made illegal, perhaps, in California. Well...


SAGAL: ...We are very excited about this because, to bring you the correct answer, we actually spoke to the person who was behind this crackdown.

PHIL TING: You see people coming out of stores with receipts that are 5 feet tall, 6 feet tall. And you really wonder why they're wasting so much paper.

SAGAL: That was assembly member Phil Ting of California's 19th Assembly District, talking about the receipt bill he introduced into the state assembly. Congratulations, Nate. You got it right.


WALKER: Awesome. Thank you.

SAGAL: Thank you so much. It's a pleasure to talk to you. And congratulations, you've earned a point for Tom for simply telling the truth. I hope you feel good about that, Tom.

BODETT: It's what I do.

SAGAL: And you've won our prize - the voice of your choice on your voicemail. Congratulations, Nate.

WALKER: Thank you - was so much fun.

SAGAL: Thank you so much.


DAFT PUNK: (Singing) Too long, too long, too long. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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