Bluff The Listener Our panelists read three stories about a retailer offering a surprising promotion to potential customers, only one of which is true.
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Bluff The Listener

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Bluff The Listener

Bluff The Listener

Bluff The Listener

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Our panelists read three stories about a retailer offering a surprising promotion to potential customers, only one of which is true.

BILL KURTIS: Support from NPR comes from NPR stations and Burlington stores, committed to helping communities. Since 2007, they've donated 1.8 million coats. Through Jan. 22, Burlington is collecting gently worn coats, so people can stay warm. Burlingtonstores.com. Lumber Liquidators, a proud sponsor of NPR, offering more than 400 styles, including hardwood, bamboo, laminate and vinyl, with flooring specialists in hundreds of stores nationwide. More at lumberliquidators.com or 1-800-HARDWOOD. And Visit St. Petersburg-Clearwater, home of 35 miles of white sand beaches along Florida's Gulf Coast and a daily sunset celebration on Clearwater Beach, 90 minutes west of Orlando - at visitstpeteclearwater.com.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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 Roy Blount Jr., Adam Felber and Helen Hong. And here again is your host at the Chase Bank Auditorium in downtown Chicago, Peter Sagal.

(APPLAUSE)

PETER SAGAL, HOST:

Thank you, Bill Kurtis. 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.

JOSH DEVRIES: Hi. This is Josh calling from Ann Arbor, Mich.

SAGAL: I love Ann Arbor.

(CHEERING)

SAGAL: How are things there?

DEVRIES: They're warming up finally, but they've been in the negatives for a while.

SAGAL: Yeah, in - are you at the university there?

DEVRIES: Yeah. I'm a doctoral student in music theory.

SAGAL: Oh, really? What do you - what are you going to do with your musical theory doctorate?

DEVRIES: Teach music theory.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: And perpetuate the tragic cycle?

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Well, welcome to the show, Josh. You're going to play the game in which you must tell truth from fiction. Bill, what is the topic this time?

KURTIS: Come on down to crazy Bill's.

SAGAL: This week, we heard about a retailer offering a very inventive promotion to potential customers. Our panel is going to tell you about it. Pick the real one, you'll win our prize - a 10 percent off coupon for the voice of your choice on your voicemail. You ready to play?

DEVRIES: Only 10 percent off?

SAGAL: Oh, well, hey, what do you want?

(LAUGHTER)

ADAM FELBER: The good news is the retail price is nothing.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: All right. Here is your first story. It's from Adam Felber.

FELBER: They say there's no such thing as a free lunch, but clearly, they have never been to a certain Carl's Jr. in Sunnyvale, Calif., where you can get all the free burgers and fries you want as long as you're willing to drink them. It started when franchise owner Elliott Schiff (ph) realized that the packaging materials for the Carl's Jr. value meals actually cost more than the food. So Elliott decided to promote environmental awareness by offering free meals to anyone willing to have their food run through a blender and put in a reusable cup.

That's right. Want a half-pound bacon thick burger with cheese and fries absolutely free? Grab a straw.

(LAUGHTER)

FELBER: The one thing Mr. Schiff didn't count on was how popular the offer would be. Quote, "see, this is the Silicon Valley, where everybody's got Asperger's syndrome or has to act like they do. So the idea of slurping down a complete meal is weirdly appealing to them, I guess."

Quote, "it's like a really salty protein shake," enthuses customer Clive O'Mara (ph), a software engineer whose favorite is the liquefied double cheeseburger and spicy chicken sandwich all-star meal with a side of jalapeno poppers. Although, if you don't drink it fast, the grease can separate in a really bad way.

(LAUGHTER)

FELBER: For his part, Elliott Schiff seems resigned to never fully grok his own creation's success. Asked if he's a fan of his own liquid lunches, he said, are you kidding? It's completely disgusting.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: You can get a whole meal at a Carl's Jr. for free as long as you're willing to drink it through a milkshake straw. Your next story of a ridiculous discount comes from Helen Hong.

HELEN HONG: Ikea, in the company's home country, Sweden, wants to make sure new mothers have the best flimsy pressboard cribs to put their infants in. So they're offering an attractive discount to expectant mothers but only if they can prove they're actually pregnant. All the ladies have to do is remove a particular Ikea ad from a magazine, urinate on the spot indicated. And if it turns blue, you're saving a sweet 20 percent.

That's right. The ad itself has a real pregnancy test built in. It's just like the ones you buy at the drugstore, except after you pee on those ones, you don't pop them in your purse, head down to the store and hand them to a horrified cashier.

(LAUGHTER)

HONG: And instead of a little blue plus sign telling you your life is over, they reveal a discount code.

(LAUGHTER)

HONG: The only demographic actually looking forward to the ads are teenage girls who are late on their periods and looking to save a mortifying trip to CVS.

(LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: Ikea gives you a discount along with a pregnancy test that you can take and give. Your last story of a savings that can't be beat comes from Roy Blount Jr.

ROY BLOUNT JR.: Gillooly's (ph) feed and seed store of Mulravia (ph), W. Va., has a promotion going that not only saves chicken owners money. It also gives them a chance to get kind of family-like with their chickens. The store will cut the price of its premium non-GMO chicken mash by $1 for every chicken, up to 5, that appears with the owner in a selfie photo.

(LAUGHTER)

BLOUNT JR.: Over the course of a year, the average local chicken owner could save as much as $185, says store proprietor Kenzie Gillooly (ph). And that, as she puts it in her popular local TV commercial, ain't chicken feed. OK. You saw that coming, but how about what Gillooly calls the discount dollars - (imitating chicken) buck, buck, buck - bucks.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: All right.

(APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: One of these is a real discount that you can take advantage of, if you like. From Adam Felber, you can go to a Carl's Jr. in California and eat as much free food as you want as long as you're willing to drink it in the form of a liquefied slush. From Helen Hong, you can get a discount on baby furniture from Ikea as long as you take their pregnancy test from the ad and bring it down there. Or from Roy Blount, a chicken feed store that will give you a discount if you take selfies with your chickens. Which of these is the real story of a way to save money in the news this week?

DEVRIES: As horrified as I am, I have to go with Ikea.

SAGAL: All right. Your choice, then, is Helen. Well, we spoke to somebody at AdAge (ph) who was very interested in this promotion.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

TIM NUDD: Ikea made an ad that you are supposed to pee on...

(APPLAUSE)

HONG: Yay.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

NUDD: ...Which is basically a pregnancy test. It shows a discounted price for a crib.

SAGAL: That was Tim Nudd - he's the creative director at Adweek - talking about Ikea's coupon for pregnant women. Congratulations, Josh. You got it right. You earned a point for Helen, and you have won our prize - the voice of anyone you like doing anything you like on your voicemail. Congratulations.

DEVRIES: Thank you.

SAGAL: Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

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