Bluff The Listener

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Our panelists tell three stories about a place that has implemented a dress code, only one of which is true.

CARL KASELL: From NPR and WBEZ Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!, the NPR news quiz. I'm Carl Kasell. We're playing his week with Tom Bodett, Brian Babylon, and Kyrie O'Connor. And here again is your host, at the Baton Rouge River Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Peter Sagal.



Thank you, everybody. Thank you so much. 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 air. Hi, you're on WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!

ANGELA COSTON: Hi, this is Angela from Texarkana, Texas.

SAGAL: Texarkana, I've been through Texarkana.

COSTON: Really?



SAGAL: Big surprise for...

COSTON: On your way to Dallas or Little Rock because you don't stop very much?

SAGAL: I was in fact on the way from Little Rock to Dallas, now that you mention it.


SAGAL: But it was nice. We stopped there. We had a coffee. It was lovely.

COSTON: Were you in Texas or Arkansas?

SAGAL: We were - there's a Texarkana, Texas, and a Texarkana, Arkansas?

COSTON: There is.

SAGAL: We were in Texas, I'm pretty sure of it.

COSTON: I live in Texarkana, Texas, but I can see Arkansas from my backyard.

SAGAL: Really?


SAGAL: I hope you're keeping an eye on them over there. Well, welcome to the show, Angela. You're going to play the game in which you must try to tell truth from fiction. Carl, what is Angela's topic?

KASELL: You are not going out dressed like that, Peter.


SAGAL: Schools, as you know, prisons, the Amish have long required people to follow a particular dress code, especially Amish prison schools.


SAGAL: But this week, we read about a surprising new place that is controlling how people dress. Guess which panelist has the real story, you'll win Carl's voice on your home answering machine or voicemail. Ready to go?

COSTON: I'm ready.

SAGAL: All right. First, let's hear from Tom Bodett.

TOM BODETT: Residents of Gnaw Bone in Brown County, Indiana's biggest problem lately is surprisingly not living in a town called Gnaw Bone. That comes with the territory, and so do the flea markets. Gnaw Bone bills itself as the flea market capital of the world, with a market for every five residents, and here comes the problem.

There is not much else going on in Brown County, and the Gnaw Bone flea markets have become the singles' scene of last resort, with lonely hearts coming from 30 miles all around to check out not the deals spread out on the card tables but each other. Ever since they closed the Home Depot on the east side of Bloomington, these kids have no place to meet each other, said sympathetic mayor Christopher Rawlings(ph), but we're not a discotheque. We're business people with a lot of crap to sell.


BODETT: Something had to be done, and they did it. Gnaw Bone flea markets now have a dress code banning tank tops, short-shorts, flowy skirts, spangles and, for good measure, yellow stretch pants with foot loops.


BODETT: I think they're just generally hideous, explained Rawlings. Whether it's working or not is up for debate. Love finds a way, said the mayor. And while the distractions are down for our vendors, I still see an awful lot of flirting going on around the record bins and motorcycle parts.

SAGAL: A dress code at the flea market in Gnaw Bone, Indiana. Your next story of a new dress code comes from Brian Babylon.

BRIAN BABYLON: A growing number of coffee shops are becoming remote office spaces for people working and people pretending to work. For the price of a pumpkin spice latte, you can have eight hours of free space with free Wi-Fi and an annoying hipster soundtrack. Tiffany Garland(ph), owner of Jazzy Java in Bouie, Maryland, recently told the Baltimore Sun I had enough when somebody brought a printer and set it up on a table and then started printing out pamphlets. And then she had the nerve to ask me to help her fold them.


BABYLON: That's when Tiffany came up with the idea to have a professional business dress code for customers who stay for more than 90 minutes, and I mean business attire, none of that Silicon Valley hoodie with a tie crap.


BABYLON: The dress code requires men to wear dark suits, dress shoes, a shirt and tie and Grey Flannel cologne. And the women must dress as Hillary Clinton.


BABYLON: You would be amazed how that cleaned out all the bandwidth suckers from my place. The only problem is my coffee shop now looks like a home for wayward Republicans.



SAGAL: A coffee shop in Maryland institutes a business dress code just to keep people away. And your last story of what not to wear comes from Kyrie O'Connor.

KYRIE O'CONNOR: If you're planning to visit Chessington World of Adventure Animal Park in England, leave that leopard-skin pillbox hat at home. You're confusing the animals and not just with your questionable taste.


O'CONNOR: Workers at the new safari ride realized that animals confronted with tourists wearing animal prints were acting puzzled. Imagine the poor wildebeest considering you, in your leopard jacket and zebra skinny jeans. Are you some new, weird animal? Does he run to you, run away or just figure you're from New Jersey?


O'CONNOR: Puzzling, am I right? The park has hired bouncers to police the visitors. Violators will be issued big, gray onesies. Just hope that then no giant cat thinks you're a giant mouse.


SAGAL: OK, here are your choices. One of these places has, surprising, instituted a dress code where you wouldn't expect one to be. Is it, from Tom Bodett, a flea market in Gnaw Bone, Indiana, to keep the singles crowd from getting too out of hand; from Brian Babylon a coffee shop in Maryland that is tired of people pretending like they're at their office and makes them dress like it; or from Kyrie O'Connor, a zoo in Great Britain which has said please don't wear animal prints because the animals think you're animals? Which of these is the real story of a new dress code?

COSTON: I think the coffee shop one sounds most likely.

SAGAL: Really, you're going to choose Brian's story of the coffee shop that is making people put on formal business attire if they want to do business in there?

COSTON: Well, I'll second-guess it because usually when you say that it's the wrong answer.


SAGAL: Am I that transparent? Well, I am - I was just trying to clarify your thinking here, and...

COSTON: They all sound like they could be possible.

SAGAL: All right, but one of them is true.

COSTON: Yeah, I'll stick with it.

SAGAL: You're going to stick with Brian's story, then, of the coffee shop. To bring you the real answer, we spoke to someone involved with this real dress code.

LINDA BERGGREN: I don't think we want to stop any trends, but the safety of our guests and the well-being of our animals are our number one priority.

SAGAL: That was Linda Berggren, she's the supervisor of animal training at Chessington World of Adventures Resort, talking about the new ban on animal prints at their zoo.


COSTON: That was my second choice.

SAGAL: Yeah, it probably was. Well anyway, obviously, as you have now figured it out, Kyrie had the real story. However, Brian's story, very credible-sounding indeed, was not true. You did not win, but you earned a point for Brian.

BABYLON: Thank you.

SAGAL: And maybe gave an idea to a lot of very frustrated coffee shop owners around the country.


SAGAL: Thank you so much for playing.

COSTON: Thanks.

SAGAL: Thanks, bye-bye.


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