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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 are playing this week with Mo Rocca, Roxanne Roberts and Adam Burke. And here again is your host at the Chase Bank Auditorium in downtown Chicago, Peter Sagal.


Thank you, Bill.


SAGAL: Thank you, everybody. Thank you all so much. Right now, it is 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.

SEAN MIRSKY: Hi, this is Sean and my son Seth Mirsky. calling from the Space Coast of Florida.

SAGAL: Really? Can Seth say hello?


SAGAL: Hello, Seth. How are you?

SETH: I'm good. How are you?

SAGAL: I'm fine, thank you. How old are you, Seth?

SETH: I'm 11, and I'm about to turn 12 on Christmas.

SAGAL: Oh, wow. Oh, you...



SAGAL: So you have a Christmas birthday. Do you find that fun or not so fun because you get one holiday at once?

SETH: I think it's pretty fun because I get to choose if I want my birthday presents in the morning or in the afternoon.


SAGAL: I like your attitude, young man. Well, let's see if you can help your dad out or if he can help you out as we try to figure this out. You're going to play the game in which you must try to tell truth from fiction. Bill, what is Sean's topic?

KURTIS: Work harder.

SAGAL: Companies have plenty of ways of making their employees work harder. NPR, for instance, demeans low-performing workers by making them host quiz shows.


SAGAL: This week, we read about a new productivity motivator. Our panelists are going to tell you about it. Pick the one who's telling the truth. You'll win the WAIT WAITer of your choice on your voicemail. Are you ready to play?

MIRSKY: Ready.

SETH: Ready.

SAGAL: All right. First, let's hear from Adam Burke.

ADAM BURKE: Ah, the bathroom break. For many of us, it has increasingly become so much more than merely answering the call of a necessary biological function. It has become a haven, an enclosed buttress against the cares of the workaday world, a chance to reflect in silent repose in a different, more forgiving kind of cubicle, to crush some candy, scroll the feed, to sleep, perchance to read.

But however you choose to stall in the stall, the Staffordshire-based company StandardToilet wishes to return brute efficiency to the porcelain chariot. Its new anti-slack can features a 13-degree downward slope, which forces the user into an uncomfortable squat thrust, making it difficult to sit for more than five minutes at a time, let alone crank through a chapter of "Jack Reacher."

It's estimated that the average British worker spends up to 28 minutes on the ceramic throne, which, according to the standard toilets developer Mahabir Gill, costs industry and commerce 4 billion pounds per annum - once again, that's per annum.


BURKE: Employee advocates see the new WC as just another way of reducing workers rights. No word yet on whether British workers plan to protest the new loos, perhaps with some kind of sit-in - once again, that's sit-in.


SAGAL: Toilets sloped forward so it's harder to spend as much time on them. Your next story of productivity prompted comes from Roxanne Roberts.

ROBERTS: What's the solution to too many dogs and not enough dog walkers? Scooters. City Paws, a Brooklyn-based dog walking service, has introduced electric scooters into their lineup of canine care. Instead of just walking around the block for 30 minutes, walkers use scooters and elastic leashes that require the dogs to jog briskly for 15 minutes. Not only is this better for the dogs, CEO Jeff Slone (ph) tells The New York Post, but the scooters allow for human walkers to exercise twice the number of dogs every day.

The company rents dockless scooters, which require the walkers to steer with one hand and try to control the leashes with the other. So far, so good, except for a 10-dog pileup caused by Rex, a 2-year-old Great Dane who barreled into another scooter abandoned in the middle of the sidewalk. No dogs were injured, but the walker has a broken wrist and a worker's comp claim.


SAGAL: A dog walker company deciding that making their dog walkers use electric scooters will be more efficient. Your last story of inspiring employees to be even more efficient comes from Mo Rocca.

MO ROCCA: The most irritating part of air travel - the backups. No, not in the sky, but on the jetway, the portable passageway that connects an airplane door to the terminal. The main source of the delay? Elderly passengers in wheelchairs being pushed by an airline employee who has to make multiple trips to load or unload other passengers and supplies.

We realized we needed to maximize each employees' trip down the jetway, says Sun Country Airlines' Felicia Flom (ph). An empty lap is a worse crime than too much leg room. So this month, Sun Country inaugurated its jetway wheelchair lap share program. Before pushing an elderly passenger up the jetway, the employee loads up the passenger's lap with pillows and blankets, with pallets of peanuts, and with that other source of jetway delays, babies and toddlers.

At first, I didn't know whose baby was being thrown in my lap, said Hazel O'Leary, 87, but I do love babies. The most controversial aspect of the program - on the lap of particularly hardy looking seniors, other seniors are loaded.


ROCCA: Said that very same Hazel O'Leary, I don't think they knew I was already sitting on the lap of a man who looked just like Lorne Greene. Woo, when that baby was put on my lap, I was in heaven.


SAGAL: All right, one of these is a real idea on how to improve efficiency at work. Is it from Adam Burke, a new kind of toilet in Britain that's sloped forward so you just can't sit comfortably on it for very long, from Roxanne Roberts, a dog walking company that's making it their dog walkers use those dockless scooters to get more dog walks in, or from Mo Rocca, Sun Country Airlines making sure they don't waste that space in the lap of wheelchaired passengers? Which of these is the real story of efficiency that we found in the week's news?

SETH: All right. We think it's A.

SAGAL: We - that's you, Seth. You think it's A. And that would be Adam's story about the toilets.

SETH: Yes.

SAGAL: Seth, can you tell me why you think it's A?

MIRSKY: Because his dad influenced him.


SAGAL: Fair enough. All right. Well, Seth and Sean, you've chosen A, Adam's story. Well, to bring you the correct answer, we spoke to an expert in the field of the real story.

RAYMOND MARTIN: The new standard toilet is actually a toilet with a sloping seat that helps people to use the toilet more effectively.


SAGAL: That was Raymond Martin, managing director of the British Toilet Association, talking about the sloping toilet. Congratulations, Sean and Seth. You got it right. You've earned a point for Adam Burke for telling the truth.


SAGAL: You've won our prize, the voice of your choice on your voicemail. Thank you so much for playing.

MIRSKY: Thank you.

SAGAL: Bye-Bye.


LITTLE RICHARD: (Singing) Slipping and sliding, peeping and hiding, been told a long time ago. Slipping and sliding, peeping and hiding, been told a long time ago. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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