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 are playing this week with Tom Bodett, Negin Farsad and Adam Burke. And here again is your host at the Chase Bank Auditorium in downtown Chicago, Peter Sagal.
PETER SAGAL, HOST:
Thank you, Bill.
SAGAL: Right now it's time for the WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME Bluff the Listener game. Call 1-888-WAITWAIT to play our game on the air.
Hi. You are on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.
JAESEN PEMBERTON: Hey, this is Jaesen from Norman.
SAGAL: Hey, Jaesen from Norman.
PEMBERTON: How's it going?
SAGAL: Not bad. Jaesen, I cannot help but tell you seem to be female.
PEMBERTON: I am. My mom got real creative there.
SAGAL: Did she now?
SAGAL: How much - let's say as a percentage - how much time of your life so far have you spent having conversations exactly like this one?
PEMBERTON: You know, too many.
SAGAL: Jaesen, it's nice to have you with us. You're going to play our game in which you must try to tell truth from fiction. Bill, what is Jaesen's topic?
KURTIS: I love seeing new places, trying new foods, robbing their banks.
SAGAL: Crime reaches across borders unless those borders are secured by a big wall that totally makes sense and is a great use of our resources.
SAGAL: Anyway, this week we read about a new international crime gang on the scene. Our panelists are each going to tell you about it. Only one of them, of course, is telling the truth. Pick that real story of international crime, you'll win our prize, Carl Kasell's voice on your voicemail.
SAGAL: All right, here we go. First, let's hear from Tom Bodett.
TOM BODETT: Spring break on Mexico's Baja coast accounts for half of the annual revenue of their visitor industry. The other half is largely made up of expat American retirees living out their golden years in the luxury of their beachfront condos, street smart golf carts and water aerobics. The two groups are natural enemies. So retirees Richard Corson (ph), Travis Mason (ph) and Aaron Knapperstack (ph) figured out a way to profit from the conflict of interests with what can only be described as a protection racket - protection from them.
Nothing repels a young, drunk college kid with their parents' credit card from a bar like a pair of golf carts parked out front. And nothing clears a hotel pool faster than the sight of baggy arms in a rubber swimsuit. So the self-described prostate posse, or the gang who couldn't pee straight...
BODETT: ...Work the mean streets of Cabo, threatening livelihoods. Hard Rock Cafe, pay us $500 or we bring our wives to happy hour with cottage cheese and Tupperware. Grand Marriott, $1,000 keeps us from blowing spitty bubbles off of the paddle boards in your pool for the entire month of March. You've heard of the heartbreak of incontinence? That would be a shame, nice place like this...
BODETT: ...Fifteen hundred bucks. The prostate gang was finally foiled when the federales removed them by force from the nude beach whose lifeguard refused to deal. Police found thousands of dollars in protection money hidden in their fanny packs.
SAGAL: The prostate gang, running a protection racket in the youth-oriented resorts of Mexico. Your next story of an international crime ring will come to you from Negin Farsad.
NEGIN FARSAD: Lovers of French cheese in America know that many French cheeses are illegal here because of health codes. But there's actually an American cheese banned in France, Easy Cheese in a can. It has nothing to do with food safety. The French just think it's totally gross. So for years, a group of Americans called the Nabisco gang have run an Easy Cheese smuggling ring providing mostly edible cheese to desperate and wealthy expats.
FARSAD: Their front operation is a bakery called the Easy Boulangerie. The cheese is taken from airplanes, put into hollowed baguettes and driven into the city in a bakery truck. Customs agents never seem to notice that this is weird because the French actually make their breads fresh on the premises. That's, like, the one thing everybody knows about France. That and they're totally cool with their spouses having affairs.
FARSAD: The Easy Boulangerie became wildly popular. It had, like, four etoiles on French Yelp, and not just for the expats buying cans in the alley outback. Parisians actually love the unique baguettes with the weird cylindrical hole in the middle. (Imitating French accent) It represents the void we feel in our soul when we contemplate our mortality.
FARSAD: That's what they say because they're French.
FARSAD: The jig was up when on one fateful day a customer named Albert (ph) bit into a baguette that still had a can of Easy Cheese in it. Mon Dieu, he probably said. And then he alerted the officials, but only after he was done sipping his cafe and smoking a cigarette because Albert's not some kind of sheep beholden to the demands of the state.
SAGAL: An Easy Cheese smuggling ring in Paris. Your last story of a cross-border caper comes from Mr. Adam Burke.
ADAM BURKE: We've all heard of dine and dash, but now you can add dine and dance to the cheapskates' repertoire. The owner of the El Carmen restaurant in the Spanish town of Bembibre was expecting a hefty pay day when 120 Romanian tourists chose to celebrate a baptism at his establishment.
But just as dessert was being served, the entire party got up on mass, formed a conga line and began dancing around the restaurant. Initially, the owners thought nothing of it as all 120 revelers snaked or rather eeled between the tables. That is, until the conga made its way out the door, where the throng quickly dispersed into their cars and sped off into the night.
BURKE: Although the group had paid a deposit of 900 euros, the remainder of their 2,000 euro bill was left unpaid. It happened in the space of a minute, said astonished restaurant owner Antonio Rodriguez.
BURKE: While Spanish police believe they have caught the ringleader of the conga con artists, they are keeping their eyes peeled out for roving gangs chicken dancing out of chicken joints and electric sliding out of the back doors of buffets in the hopes of locking them all up in the hokey-pokey.
SAGAL: All right. OK, Jaesen, here are your choices. From Tom Bodett, the prostate posse who are running a protection racket down in Cabo; you heard from Negin the story of Easy Cheese smugglers running out of a bakery in Paris; and Adam's story about dining and dashing and dancing in Spain. Which of these is the real story of a criminal gang?
PEMBERTON: I have to go with the Easy Cheese.
SAGAL: You're going to go with the Easy Cheese story of these people smuggling Easy Cheese into Paris in hollow baguettes for the desperate...
PEMBERTON: I got to follow my not-so-easy gut.
SAGAL: All right, well, to bring you the real story, we spoke to someone intimately familiar with it.
JELISA CASTRODALE: The group of 120 people did a conga line out the door without paying their $2,100 bills.
SAGAL: That was Jelisa Castrodale. She's a contributing writer to VICE. She was talking about the Romanian crime gang that got out of a restaurant bill by congaing out of the restaurant. So as you now, no doubt, know, with some horror, it was Adam Burke who was telling the truth. But Negin, her first time on our show, managed to convincingly fool you.
SAGAL: So I apologize, you did not win our game. You did win a point for Negin, which is awesome. And thank you so much for playing.
PEMBERTON: Thank you guys. Have a good one.
SAGAL: Bye-bye, Jaesen.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "CONGA")
MIAMI SOUND MACHINE: (Singing) Come on, shake your body, baby, do that conga. I know you can't control yourself any longer. Come on, shake your body, baby, do that conga. I know you can't control yourself any longer.
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