Shoppers might have been confused by a new product that made its way into five Los Angeles Best Buy stores on Friday. Complete with a bar code, price and label, the box read: “Another gadget you don’t really need.” Pranked!
The fake-out gadget containers, surfaced by Daily Mail and getting plenty of attention on the Web, were confirmed to Yahoo News to be the work of the Los Angeles-based street artist known as Plastic Jesus, who appears to be channeling the antics of another guerrilla-style artist, Banksy.
The boxes, which were sneaked onto the store shelves, looked real and came with a price tag, a QR code and the brand's own Geek Squad Protection offer.
But a closer look reveals a description that reads: “Useless PLASTICBOX 1.2 for $99.99. Another gadget you don't really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of use.”
The manufacturer’s warranty warns that there is none “with this piece of crap.” It added: “If you are dumb enough to buy it you deserve all you get.”
Photos show the realistic-looking boxes placed next to other electronics offered at the big-box store, including items such as GPS navigators, tablets and other must-have gadgets that draw in consumers.
“We are sold this equipment, often with the pre-release hype lasting many weeks and resembling a block buster movie, and told, 'This gadget is THE ONE,' only to be left disappointed,” Plastic Jesus, who didn't give his legal name, told Yahoo News in an email. He added, "I felt the best way to show my frustration at the gadget industry was with some action that I think many people will relate to.”
The artist's work includes stencils and street installations. He first gained attention earlier this year with his street stencil of Lance Armstrong cycling with a drip.
"A few stores were affected and the boxes were removed immediately," Jon Sandler, spokesman for Best Buy, told Yahoo News in an email in response to the prank. "We are also flattered that Best Buy is so top of mind for Mr. Plastic Jesus, and are happy that he presumably had the opportunity to witness our expert Blue Shirts and Geek Squad members in action during his visits. Hopefully he also had the chance to check out our fabulous back to school deals."