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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're playing this week with Alonzo Bodden, Helen Hong and Roxanne Roberts. And here again is your host, a man who knows there's no I in host. Because if there was, that would be hoist. Peter Sagal.



Thank you, Bill. 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 the air.

Hi, you're on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.

BRYAN WEBSTER: Hey, Peter. This is Bryan Webster (ph) from Winston-Salem, N.C.

SAGAL: Oh, Winston-Salem. Named for the cigarette brands. What do you do there?

WEBSTER: I'm an Amazon driver.

SAGAL: Oh, wow. I just want to say thank you because I don't know what we all would have done this last year without you guys bringing us stuff.

WEBSTER: Happy to do it for you.

SAGAL: Have you have you ever noticed have you ever gotten the feeling that certain people are ordering things they may or may not actually need just to see you, just to have some human contact during the day?

WEBSTER: Yeah, it's kind of crazy how appreciated we are.

SAGAL: (Laughter) Well, Bryan, thank you so much for bringing us all our junk. You are here to play a game where you will try to tell truth from fiction.

Bill, what's Bryan's topic?

KURTIS: Back to work.

SAGAL: We're finally heading back to the actual office for a brief period until COVID-20 comes along. Our panelists are going to tell you about a surprising change we'll see at work. Pick the one who's telling the truth and you'll win our prize, the WAIT WAIT-er of your choice on your voicemail.

You ready to play?

WEBSTER: Yes, sir.

SAGAL: All right, our first story of workplace innovation comes from Roxanne Roberts.

ROXANNE ROBERTS: A television producer in Norway has come up with a post-pandemic office show to ease employees back to work. Sveinn Thornberg (ph) is converting an old television studio into a living office where 12 entry level employees will compete over the next year for a $250,000 a year job with Thornberg's media empire. Think "Hunger Games" meets "The Office." Quote, "People don't want to come back to the office because they're so used to being at home," he told the BBC, "so I decided to make it interesting." The weekly challenges will include sitting in open cubicles for eight hours a day, getting through meetings without checking Twitter, brushing their teeth and other personal hygiene issues, and dealing with co-workers who microwave fish for lunch. One staffer will be eliminated every month until a winner is declared in April 2021.

SAGAL: An office that will be a reality show competition to see who can act like a normal human being after all we've been through. Your next story of something new under the fluorescent lights comes from Helen Hong.

HELEN HONG: It's a year into working from home. You haven't worn non-elastic in 11 and a half months. You have gained the COVID-19 and then some. Your gym is still closed, and the idea of adding a workout area to your already cramped living space is like GTFO. The solution - trampoline desks. That's a standing desk coupled with a trampoline. That's what the fitness company Bellicon is suggesting, and they're not even joking. The maker of high-end mini trampolines or rebounders wants to make your Zoom meeting even more awkward by having you bounce in and out of frame while delivering your presentation. Before the pandemic, Bellicon was on a mission to persuade workplaces to rid themselves of the desk chair, which it calls the most dangerous device in your office, and replace them with many trampolines, which is ironic because no one has ever suffered a concussion at the office by launching themselves off of a spring-loaded desk chair. For models ranging from $600 to over a $1,000, you can bounce your way onto a Bellicon, the poor man's Peloton.

SAGAL: The trampoline desk coming to an office, home or otherwise near you. Your last story of an office overhaul comes from Alonzo Bodden.

ALONZO BODDEN: It's going to be hard to go back to normal office work when nobody can remember what normal used to be. Some old habits will be hard to get back. Some new ones will be hard to break. Enter the latest product from the Gold Mirror Company, the Monitor Mirror. It's a small rectangular mirror you can mount on your office computer monitor. So still do what you did while working from home, constantly stare at your own face during meetings. Inventor Billy Gould (ph) says, quote, "you can use our standard model to stare at yourself while you're on your computer or we have a chair mounted model that you can use to stare at yourself during face-to-face meetings. Our most deluxe model is the conference room array. Every participant around the table gets their own mirror so they can continue to stare at themselves helplessly while pretending to pay attention to other people, just like we've been doing since all this started. The Gold Mirror Company is expanding into other transitional products, including the Pants Sticky (ph), a stitch piece of fabric you can lay across your lap, which makes it look like you're wearing pants. What's really underneath is up to you, says Gould. Our lawyers are having some trouble with that one.

SAGAL: All right, one of these innovations might be coming to office life. Is it from Roxanne Roberts, a competition show set in an office in which people try to behave like normal human beings again; from Helen Hong, the trampoline desk even better, of course, than the treadmill desk; or from Alonzo Bodden, the monitor mirror, which lets you continue to stare at your own face even when we are back working together face to face? Which of these is the real story of an office innovation?

WEBSTER: As much as I would like it to be the "Hunger Games" story, I'm going to have to go with the office trampoline.

SAGAL: The trampoline desk. All right, you're going to choose Helen's story of the trampoline desk. Well, we spoke to somebody responsible for this real innovation.

JOHN HINES: So using a trampoline actually gets your body in motion. I mean, it's so much better than standing.

SAGAL: That was John Hines. He is the head of PR for Bellicon Trampolines. And this is true, was bouncing on his own trampoline the whole time...

HONG: (Laughter) What?

SAGAL: ...He enthusiastically talked to us about it. Congratulations, Bryan. Thank you so much for playing. Have a good one.

WEBSTER: Yes, sir. You have a good one.

SAGAL: All right, you too. Take care, Bryan.


KRIS KROSS: (Singing) Jump, jump. The Mac Dad'll make you jump, jump. Daddy Mac'll make you jump, jump. Kriss Kross'll make you jump, jump. Uh-huh, uh-huh. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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