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Bluff The Listener

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 Brian Babylon, Paula Poundstone and Luke Burbank. And, here's your host at the Chase Bank Auditorium in downtown Chicago, Peter Grosz


Thank you, Carl.


GROSZ: Thank you so much. I am Peter Grosz. I'm filling in for Peter Sagal this week, who is on vacation. I tried to get him to stick around but as he told me when he was walking out the door, "Hey man, the Mai Tais at the Las Vegas Star Wars Convention don't drink themselves."


GROSZ: 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 air. Hi, you're on WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!

ARLENE MORAN: Hello, Peter. This is Arlene in Schenectady, New York.

GROSZ: Hi Arlene in Schenectady. What's happening up there?

MORAN: It's hot.

GROSZ: It is hot, huh? How are you coping?

MORAN: I'm sitting in front of the fan.

GROSZ: That's great.


GROSZ: I would ask you what you're wearing, but I'm not going to.


MORAN: Good decision.

GROSZ: All right, Arlene, 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. And Carl, what is her topic?

KASELL: I did it all by myself.

GROSZ: Everyone wants to look like they've accomplished great things, but it's so hard to accomplish things. That's where the entrepreneurial spirit of America comes in. Our panelists are going to tell you three stories of companies that allow you to look like you've done something great when you've really done next to nothing. Choose the true story and you're going to win Carl's voice on your voicemail.

MORAN: All righty.

GROSZ: All right, first up, it's Luke Burbank.

LUKE BURBANK: Let's face it, when it comes to cooking, we can't all be Jacques Pepin. Heck, some of us can't even be Guy Fieri, that TV dude with the spiky bleached hair, whose philosophy seems to be "everything's better when you deep fat fry it in Jack Daniels."


BURBANK: Thankfully, though, a new service called Housebites can make any of us look like a top chef, even if we're still trying to master the Hot Pocket button on our microwave. For a modest fee, Housebites will prepare a delicious restaurant quality meal and deliver it to your home. The real genius, though, is in the other thing they'll deliver as well: dirty pots and pans, so it looks like you did all the cooking.


BURBANK: Your company will love the food. You'll look like a culinary savant. Just make sure you've got your cover story worked out before the raves start rolling in. "My goodness, how did you get this Osso Buco to turn out so succulent?" Um...


GROSZ: A story about a company that makes it look like you cooked a gourmet meal all by yourself, from Luke Burbank. And your next story of someone faking hard work comes from Brian Babylon.

BRIAN BABYLON: A lot of dads want their kids to grow up to be the next sports megastar and they start them out early. "You want your kid to be the star of the team, and if they just don't cut it, it's a reflection on you," said Jacob Jenson, the father of two boys in the Pop Warner Football League. So what to do if your kid is more like Wayne Brady and not Tom Brady on the football field?


BABYLON: That's where the TMK App comes in. For a monthly $10 fee, the TMK App will send to your smartphone monthly video clips of kids' sports heroics. You have the option of picking quarterbacks, running backs or receivers. President Greg Adams, of TMK Solutions, which stands for "That's My Kid" says...


BABYLON: "Since the kids are in helmets and pads, you can't see their faces. You just see them making great plays." So, even if your kid won't be the next Eli Manning, it's OK, they'll be stars in your mind.


GROSZ: From Brian Babylon, a story about making your kid look like he's a better athlete than he really is. And your last story of a shortcut to greatness comes from Paula Poundstone.

PAULA POUNDSTONE: How much would you pay to appear generous? Charitable Image is a little known company that provides phony awards, proclamations, thank you notes and mayoral proclamations for extraordinary acts of generosity that never took place.


POUNDSTONE: Scholarships, sports programs for youth, digging wells in impoverished countries and organ donations can require huge time commitments.


POUNDSTONE: And require thousands of dollars, often putting the donor at risk.


POUNDSTONE: "Philanthropists are well respected community members," says Charitable Image owner Irene Subtly. "But the truth is not everyone can afford to be generous. If a beautifully framed photograph and letters of thanks from a class of second graders who appreciated the new desks can give a leg up to someone who can't afford to actually pay for desks, that's a good thing."


POUNDSTONE: "Should it only be the very rich who get the respect that comes with selfless giving?"


POUNDSTONE: Subtly's online business appeals to social climbers and especially singles. Women love this stuff. I don't even have to use computer dating. I just go to the mall wearing my t-shirt that says I only wish I had two more kidneys to donate.


POUNDSTONE: And I guarantee you I'll end up back at my place showing the photograph of Nelson Mandela shaking my hand to a nice young lady.

GROSZ: OK, Arlene. You've got, from Paula Poundstone, a story of a company that'll make it look like you have won all sorts of awards and done all sorts of charitable things.

And from Brian Babylon, you've got the story of a company that will make your son or daughter into one heck of an athlete. And finally, from Luke Burbank: the story of the company that will make you into a gourmet chef without you having to do a drop of work. So which one of these stories is real?

MORAN: Well, I got to go with the dirty dishes.

GROSZ: OK, so you think that the real story is the one from Luke Burbank about the company that comes and gives you dishes and makes it look like you've cooked?

MORAN: Yeah.

GROSZ: OK, well...

POUNDSTONE: What are you, nuts?


MORAN: Yeah.

GROSZ: Well, despite Paula's protest, we are still going to find out the correct answer and we talked to someone who is behind the true story.

SIMON PROCTOR: Quite a few customers had asked us if we could do our deliveries at their back doors so that they could claim that they'd actually cooked the meal. So we thought, well, why not offer the whole dirty pan service.


GROSZ: That was Simon Proctor.

MORAN: I knew it.

GROSZ: The founder of Housebites, the company that offers the dirty dish service. Congratulations, Arlene, you earned a point for Luke and you've won our prize. Carl Kasell will record the greeting on your voicemail or answering machine.

MORAN: Well thank you very much.

GROSZ: Thank you for playing with us today.

POUNDSTONE: Bye, Arlene.

MORAN: Bye-bye.

GROSZ: Bye-bye.


(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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