Monday, April 21, 2008

"Feel the bag"

In an unprecedented second post in one day, this came to me in a forwarded e-mail chain, originated by Wendy Baker of Brigham Young University.

Would-be robbers walk away empty-handed

A frustrating night for some would-be robbers in Salt Lake City, especially for one whose demand for cash went way wrong.

In Utah it may be a difficult deal to tell the difference between the words "fill" and "feel." Last night when a robber presented a bag at the Cafe Treo, he told the server to "fill" it.

"The employee thought the suspect said ‘feel' the bag, so the employee reached over and felt the bag," said Detective Jeff Bedard, spokesman for the Salt Lake City Police Department.

Bedard says the suspect replied, "You've gotta be kidding" and fled the store empty-handed. "Maybe he had a chance rethink his life of crime," Bedard said.

Talk about suspension of contrast when it really matters. There was so much disambiguating evidence in the context too! If you did a corpus search over 5 gagillon words, I guarantee that the string "This is a stick up! Feel the bag!" would be vanishingly rare.

I highly suggest listening to this audio from the story as well. The cop, who is also obviously merged, trying to make the distinction is precious.

1 comment:

  1. What if the robber had just shot the merged guy? I guess that's about the only way to keep mergers from spreading.


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