I just discovered this news item from Salt Lake City in April. It seems a would-be robber walked into Cafe Trio, held out a bag to the cashier, and said “fill the bag.” Alas, the cashier thought the crook’s request had been to feel the bag — “feel” and “fill” are often pronounced identically in Utah — and so proceeded to reach out and feel the bag. The crook reportedly said, “You’ve gotta be kidding me,” and stormed away empty-handed.
I feel bad for the criminal here. Apart from the attempted robbery, he did nothing wrong. “Fill the bag” is a reasonable thing to say, and he said it correctly. It’s not his fault people around him are used to hearing “fill” as a mispronunciation of “feel.” Let this be a lesson to those of you considering a career in crime. You must beware of regional homophones.
(P.S. Despite KSL’s assertion to the contrary, the restaurant is spelled Cafe Trio, not Cafe Treo. It’s an Italian place and the food is quite delicious.)