DV Cams: Agents Shafer, EMartin, Reeves, Carlson
Digital Photography: Agents Nicholson, Todd
Mission Inspired By: Agent Slavinsky
The idea for this mission was submitted by a stranger via email. Agent Slavinsky wrote in to suggest I get either a large group of people in blue polo shirts and khakis to enter a Best Buy or a group in red polo shirts and khakis to enter a Target. Wearing clothing almost identical to the store’s uniform, the agents would not claim to work at the store but would be friendly and helpful if anyone had a question. There aren’t any Targets in Manhattan, so I decided to go with the two-story Best Buy on 23rd Street.
I staked out the Best Buy a few times leading up to the mission. I wanted to figure out the exact shade of blue they used for their uniforms. One detail I noticed is that all employees wore belts and black shoes. I figured it would be against policy to film in the store, so any cameras we used would have to be somewhat hidden. In addition cameras could also be “hidden” in plain sight by using Best Buy’s demo cameras to document the mission. All we would have to do is bring in blank tapes and memory cards to insert in their own video and still cameras.
I sent out an email to my mailing list to recruit agents. I didn’t want to give away the exact nature of the prank for fear of word spreading to Best Buy employees ahead of time. I had to be as vague as possible and still make sure everyone wore the correct clothing:
In order to participate you must arrive adhering to a very specific dress code:
1) Blue Polo Shirt. Short sleeved. Any brand. Preferably with no logo. As Close to Royal Blue as possible.
2) Khaki Pants. Any shade of khaki is fine. No shorts.
3) Belt. Any belt is fine.
-If possible, please wear black shoes. This is not required, but please wear them if you have them.
-You must also bring a NEWSPAPER (Any newspaper is fine–just grab a free one on the street.)
-If possible, do not bring a backpack or any type of bag. This is not a huge deal, but it will work better without bags.
-Do not bring any type of camera. This mission is, as all IE Missions should be, participatory. We are covering it with our own small staff of camera people and do not need any more cameras or journalists. Only show up if you are wearing the proper dress and ready to participate and have fun!
Agents listening to the instructions
An agent waits his turn
Agents EMartin and Reeves
Agent Shafer’s camera
Agent Carlson inserting his tape
Agent Nicholson with his memory cards
Agent Simmons and Rodgers are among the first to enter
Agent Carlson loading the a demo video camera while Agent Kinney “works” in the background
Agent Kinney helps a customer near the front door
Agent Rodgers helps someone find a router
Two agents cross each other on the escalators
The reaction from the employees was pretty typical as far as our missions go. The lower level employees laughed and got a kick out of it while the managers and security guards freaked out. Some employees speculated that we were a cult, or maybe protesters. One employee tried to get a date out of the incident, informing one agent, “Tell that girl in the computer section that ‘Mike says hi.'” Another employee after being told to go get some merchandise from the back, declared, “You should ask one of these other 50 people to do it!”
A real employee with three fake employees in the background
Two managers confer (right) while a security guard looks on (left)
Another manager meeting
Agent EMartin’s Xbox video camera rig was discovered when an employee approached him to offer advice on how to return his Xbox. He was asked to leave, and then detained by security at the front door. There a manager claimed it was “illegal” to film in Best Buy and instructed someone to call 911. She informed him that he had violated her “civil rights” by filming in her store. Agent Nicholson, who had been taking photos at the hip to avoid detection was caught as well, but he was able to leave the store freely.
With our main photographer busted, I took out my camera and started taking covert snapshots. One employee caught me in the act and rushed over. As soon as he got to me, I caught him off guard with a question, “Hey, do you know where I can find the right memory cards for my camera?” He stammered for a second and then said, “Sure. They’re right over there.” I thanked him and was on my way. Another employee caught me moments later in the DVD section, but I disarmed him with a question as well, “Do you know how much the Star Trek DS9 DVDs are? There is no price tag.” We chatted for a second about how expensive the set was, and by the time I walked away he forgot all about the camera.
The cops arrived and began questioning Agent EMartin about why he was filming. He claimed he didn’t know us, but thought it was funny and started filming (inexplicably out of his Xbox). While filming this altercation, Agent Shafer’s camera was also discovered and the cops began questioning him as well. Already out of the store, Agent Nicholson was able to take photos through the window.
A security guard checks out an agent on his way out
Manager on the street
Agent EMartin, Hidden Camera
I created a hidden camera setup for this mission by making a smallish hole in an Xbox 360 box and crudely securing the camera inside. I thought I was going to be pretty clever walking around the store with a camera in a large bright-ass green box. I lasted about 5 minutes. One employee started chatting me up about return options and another employee wearing a tie came from behind me and spotted the lens-hole. They asked me if I was recording, I said yes, and he told me I had to leave the store.
While I was waiting for the cops (it took 15-20 minutes for them to show up) I overheard some interesting exchanges. Only a couple of employees interacted with me directly, but aside from the one manager accusing me of endangering the masses, everyone was very polite. Both security guards loudly advanced their own theories about what was going on. One security guard didn’t know who the group was, but suspected that it was some cult, because, “They all have that zombie look in their eyes. They just stand there staring at nothing.” They also argued about if the prank was funny or not. One did not think it was funny at all and the other said he thought it was “kinda funny,” and tried to explain the humor, “What if you went into Home Depot and there were all these people wearing orange aprons all over the store?” “That’s completely different.” A few employees tried to get me to spill the secret on what the group was, and another employee came over twice and asked me in a hushed voice, “Are YOU a police officer?”
Once the cops showed up everyone including me got a bit more tense. They were obviously not happy about having to deal with the situation. They did not think the prank was funny and they repeatedly asked me for everyone’s names. I didn’t say anything, but agreed to show them the tape. One cop watched it while another spoke with store employees. Every time it would show an agent on the tape he would ask me what his name was. I would say I didn’t know (which was the honest truth), but he kept saying, “Bullshit, I don’t believe you. Why are you taping them if you don’t know them.” “Because, I think it’s funny.” “I don’t think it’s funny.” This whole time, agents were recording the event with Best Buy’s own demo video cameras. No employees noticed, even though they seemed to be pretty blatant.
Eventually, the cop angrily insisted that I was to go around and personally get all of the non-employees in blue shirts to leave the store. I complied and went around the store relaying the message to any of the agents left in the store. My favorite part of this was when an agent and his daughter refused to acknowledge me and didn’t break character, even though I was speaking directly to them.
Apparently, while I was walking around the store Agent Shafer was also discovered with a video camera. They kept asking us for the names of everyone else involved, which we didn’t disclose. They grew frustrated and at one point said that they would be writing both Agent Shafer and I summons for trespassing. Fortunately, Agent Shafer knew the law and kept turning the officer’s statements back on themselves:
“I’m not trespassing until you ask me to leave. No one has asked me to leave yet.”
“Are you disobeying a lawful order?”
“Are you asking me to leave?”
With most the agents now gone from the store, the cops gave up and we left the store.
Agent Shafer, Hidden Camera
Agent Reeves, Hidden Camera
I was excited to see so many people show up at Union Square in Blue polo’s and Khaki pants. When I got to Best Buy my job was to first stand outside and videotape the agents going in. After the first five minutes, four employees came out and stood next to me as they smoked. They knew something was up, one guy thought he was tripping on Acid, another said it was just like the Thomas Crown Affair. Whenever a new agent walked by, the guys would say, “Hey, Best Buy is right here, you might want to go in, your friends are in there.” Then they noticed agents were coming from every direction and this made them confused.
Audio clips of these employees:
We actually had other plans for Sunday–fortunately canceled by the rain–so we woke up uniform-less that morning. A stop at Old Navy got Bo and Co as close as we could get, and Agent Todd hooked me up with the perfect royal blue shirt. I must say that the anticipation, and the speculation about what we might be doing, was at least half the fun for the kids. And spotting other people in their “prank uniforms” on the way to the meeting place provoked total giggles in all three of us!
Some highlights of our time inside the store: the customers who would stop mid-question upon seeing no logo on my shirt and apologize, sometimes pretty profusely, that they thought I worked there (wonder what gave them THAT idea!?); watching my kids massage their cheeks in that classic “don’tsmiledon’tsmiledon’tsmile” maneuver; the dude who seemed genuinely angry at me for wearing the shirt (“What are you guys doing?!! Why are you wearing these clothes!!??); and at one point about 45 minutes in, wandering from the video games all the way back to the TVs and seeing the scope of our “invasion.”
You know, though, having recently seen V for Vendetta and The Inside Man (both of which feature robberies and/or escapes using lots of people in identical outfits, I could definitely identify with the growing anxiety of Best Buy’s security and managerial staff. All in all, though, we had a great, truly memorable day, which always seems to happen when I hang with the Improv Everywhere crew!
In this section, Al approached me twice asking me if I needed help. I assured him, if I did indeed need help, I knew to come find him. And then he asked me if I had a child at home, and if I knew any children. Curious about his line of questioning, I asked him what he was getting at. He said he noticed that I was in the children’s section for a long time and it was making him uncomfortable. Not wanting to make him or any children uncomfortable, I went back to the speaker section. Rick then came by again said, “I can’t believe you guys are this bored; you better not talk to any of my customers.” I just stared at him with a puzzled look on my face claiming I knew of no others here but my lost girlfriend who I was becoming concerned about. He just walked away in a huff.
A customer did approach me soon after though and asked where the calculators were. I, trying to be helpful, pointed and said I think they are on the other side of the store. As soon as I finished my sentence, the couple says, “Here they are!” That was when I learned I was in the speaker and calculator section of Best Buy. I would not have made a good employee.
About 10 minutes later, I saw Al walking towards me from across the store. Trying to avoid him, I picked up a Best Buy brochure that was at the end of the aisle. I picked it up thinking it was an employment application, and Al asked if I needed any assistance once again. I asked him if they were hiring, nodding towards the brochures. And then we got into an awkward discussion about how it was actually a Best Buy credit card application and I said “it would be good for me if I actually did any shopping here.” He then said, “It looks like a lot of people like you like to shop at this store” as he pointed to all the other blue shirts. All I could muster was, “Yeah… that’s weird.”
Al and Rick finally approached me together towards the end of the mission. Al asked me my name, and I told them it was Al too, and of course they didn’t believe me. Al explained that he was still very uncomfortable with my presence in the store (even in the speaker and calculator section) and wanted to know what I was shopping for. I said, “I’m not shopping for anything. I’m browsing.” And the two looked at me like I was the first person to ever browse a Best Buy aisle with my back to the display cases the whole time. Rick, feeling defeated, said to Al. “You know what Al, just let them have their fun. We can’t do anything.” And as he said that, I got the cue from Agent Todd to exit, and then we all left in a timely manner.
Then downstairs very quickly the real boys in blue started to notice the mass influx of recreational blue shirters. They responded at first by very deliberately greeting me. “Hello!” “How are you?” Then, they grew more suspicious trying to suss out my level of craziness. “Can I help you with something?” Then to, “Hey, why are you wearing a blue shirt? It’s confusing.” To finally flat out accusation from a yellow shirted higher up, “Hey man, what’s going on? What are you guys going to do?” I explained I was just browsing and had felt like wearing blue today. He didn’t buy it. Two minutes later, I heard one of the dudes say, “I can’t deal with this, I’m calling the police.” To be fair, I think I might have been a little freaked out too. Still, if you were a manager you had to love what appeared to be wall-to-wall employee coverage of the store for every five feet. Now, that’s service!
I tour the store and feel pretty good about landing a spot next to the vacuum cleaners. There are no employees in sight. I hover. A 50-something bearded Jewish man makes eye contact, walks toward me, my first customer. “Do you work here?” he asks. “No, I don’t.” He starts looking at vacuum cleaners, not knowing where to start. “What are you looking for?” I ask. “I need a vacuum cleaner,” he says. “I have a Dirt Devil. It works really well, very powerful machine,” I say. “A Dirt Devil. Dirt Devil, OK.” A real employee approaches. “May I help you sir? the employee asks. “Yes, I’d like to buy a Dirt Devil,” the man responds.” I sold my first vacuum cleaner. Damn, it feels good.
Shortly after that, I was asked to leave for not shopping. Instead, I decide to stay. I stroll around the store for awhile, until I overhear an employee say the cops had been called. I casually make a daring escape up the escalator and out the front door. Have a nice day, a large, bald bouncer says in a tough voice as I left.
The rest of my tenure was spent watching other Best Buy employees freak out. They walked past me, usually staring at me, occasionally asking if I needed any assistance. But one guy, “Mike” was his name, made it a point to let us all know he A) knew what was going on, and B) was A.O.K. with it. He walked over to at least five IE Agents and asked them their name, and how it was going, and if they were having a good time. He would then turn to one of the other real Best Buy employees and give a grin, a laugh or a thumbs up to indicate that he had engaged with us, and recognized us as a non-threat. I also saw another employee snapping photos of us with her camera phone.
As I entered the upper level at least half the employees in the open display area there turned to look at me. I was thinking, “Wow, a Cheers moment!” I stepped forward intending to go down the escalator and found myself in the roped off area at the top of the up escalator and had to backtrack to get around to the down escalator. I heard several people giggle.
As I came off the down escalator I heard an employee say, “I don’t know but they are stationed around and helping customers.”
After about 15 minutes downstairs I went back up to see how things were on the street level section. As I stood near the digital video cameras a young male employee walked round the display table touching and counting aloud the cameras and an older female employee walked around touching each of the associates on the upper arm and saying, “Keep your cool, just keep your cool.”
I went back downstairs and walked toward the CD section. A short 40ish black woman with dreadlocks pulled back and tied behind her head started following me. We walked the length of the classic music aisle and turned the corner starting back past the country western CDs. She is walking about five feet behind me. I stop and just look across the top of the display toward the escalators. She stands there looking toward me for a few seconds then backtracks and walks up the next aisle directly through my field of vision. She is walking very stiffly with eyes pointed forward avoiding eye contact. At the end of the row she turns the corner back into my aisle again and starts toward me. She takes about two steps directly toward me. When I glance over in her direction I see that she has both her hands together at waist level. From between her hands there is a camera flash. She immediately turned and headed back toward customer service.
Just then an actual Best Buy floor clerk approached me:
Employee: “You can’t talk to my customers”.
Simmons: “I’m just having a friendly conversation with these people”
Employee: “But you don’t work here.”
Simmons: “It’s a free country I feel I can speak with anybody I choose.”
Employee: “You’re playing some games.”
Simmons: “I’m just here to shop with my wife.”
Employee: “Yeah, you and your 50 friends?”
Simmons: “I don’t know anybody else here.”
Employee: “Yeah, you’re instigating (sic) our shirts.”
Yes, he said INSTIGATING.
I told him, “I’m only wearing what I wore this morning,” and walked away.
A little while later, an older woman with a handful of products walked past me at one point muttering to herself, “Everyone in this goddamned store is wearing a blue shirt and nobody knows a thing!”
Saturday: I entered Conway discount store and spotted a fellow agent surveying the royal blue polo shirts. A funny side effect of this mission, I realized, would be a baffling increase in sales of royal blue polo shirts.
Sunday: Once we got the logistics and the group photos out of the way, Agent Todd situated himself around the corner from the store and waved us in individually to avoid a conspicuous glut of agents entering the store. As soon as I got inside, I overheard two blue-shirted Best Buy employees remark that this was something like “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”. I meandered slowly through the downstairs, putting on a blank stare so as to avoid eye contact with anyone. BB blue-shirts kept coming up to help me–apparently “can I help you?” is the only icebreaker they know, and they just walk away dejectedly if you say no.
A little later, when I was loitering near the computers, a female customer got kind of snappy with me when I couldn’t tell her where the scanners were. I politely let her know that I didn’t work there and she got totally apologetic, like she’d insulted me by assuming I worked at Best Buy. Then an employee approached and asked (of course) if I needed any help. I said no, I was just waiting for my friend. “You mean all of your other friends you’re here with?” No, I said, just my one friend–I think she’s over looking at CDs. “Well, it’s hard to tell with everyone wearing these shirts.” Yeah, I told her, what a weird coincidence! She asked that I refrain from helping any customers and rushed off to ask other IE agents if they needed any help.
As time wore on, I could sense the growing confusion of the BB people–the yellow-shirts were out in force, the black-shirts were on their walkie-talkies. I imagine some off-duty regional manager was receiving a very confused call from BB personnel at this point.
Around 4:45 or so, Agent Todd signaled that it was time to go. On the way out, I saw Agent Shafer getting a talking-to by a cop. He was saying something about “trespassing” which I’m sure was a load of crap, but I figured it was better to leave than test whether that would hold up in court.
It seemed pretty immediate once I entered the store and took the escalator down that the management was freaking out. I overheard a woman first asking an agent what was going on and then discussing it with an employee about how weird it was. People were on their walkie-talkies asking what was going on, saying they were calling the cops, not to let them talk to the customers, etc. After awhile I was glad that I wasn’t a Royal Blue shirt, because although I’m pretty sure the employees knew I was with the group, since I wasn’t wearing the correct color, they couldn’t be 100% sure and I was able to blend in more to observe and listen.
At different times I tried to find a spot that wasn’t around any other agents, but this was impossible. So I mingled. A couple of times it got a little busy around me with employees so I started shopping, picking up a DVD or CD and looking at it. The most anyone said to me was to ask if I needed help, which I didn’t. Later I tried to hang out more near other agents to hear what was going on. Then it seems like every idling agent was being asked to leave so I again started shopping. I then got the cue from Agent Todd to leave the store and meet up a block away to hear the other stories. Now, I think it might be good to buy the right color shirt and go back on my own and shop to see if they think it’s happening again.
Lady on a headset: “They’re coming in droves–what do I do?”
A dude walked up to me and said: “Are you guys demonstrating or protesting or something?” I said: “Oh, I’m just waiting for my girlfriend, she’s somewhere around here.” And he says: “So the shirts….?” And I said: “Shirts?” A security guard walked by and said to the dude, “Sir, this man does not even work here, do not ask him questions.”
And finally when I was “escorted” out by a large female manager:
Manager: “What are you doing can I help you?” [very sassy tone]
Me: I’m just waiting for a friend.
Manager: “Oh yeah? Where is your friend? Let’s go find your friend, I want to see him.”
Me: I’m not sure; I think he’s looking at flat-screen TV’s.
Manager: Okay. Either you’re shopping or you’re leaving.
Me: I suppose I’ll leave
Manager: That’s right. And I’m going to escort you out.
“Excuse miss, do you work here?” she said.
“No, but did you need help with something?” I said.
She started laughing then said, “Well, no, not if you don’t work here.”
I think she thought that I was crazy. After that I went to Staples. A young woman approached me.
“Do you know where I can find those things that hold business cards?” she said. I paused. She waited.
“I don’t work here,” I said.
“Oh, I thought you did,” she said, gesturing wildly to my outfit. “I’m sorry.”
I was about to leave when an old man and a young child approached me. The man was carrying a newspaper. He pointed to it and asked me if I could unlock the cabinet holding the item he needed. We walked over to the cabinet. I told him twice that I didn’t work there, but he just kept saying, “We’ll have to get the key.”
Finally I just walked off and left the store. I headed to Best Buy and once inside I took the escalator downstairs. Several people asked me for help. One man wanted to know about some software and started laughing when I said I didn’t work there. After about 15 minutes I went upstairs and stood by the front door. At this point the managers and security knew something was going on. A girl walked in and approached me.
“Do you know where I can find a USB port?” she said.
“What is that?” I said.
“It’s a computer thing,” she said.
“What does USB stand for?” I asked. She gave me a strange look.
“I don’t know,” she said. “You just plug it in…”
At that point a Best Buy employee wearing a black shirt came running over shouting “She doesn’t work here!” but the girl was already heading down the escalator.
He turned to me and said, “You can’t help her!”
“Oh, believe me,” I said. “I wasn’t helping her.”
“Who are you guys with?” he asked.
Shortly thereafter, I left the store.
My favorite moment of the day happened within five minutes of entering the store. When I took a very visible (and helpful, I thought!) position near the base of the escalator, I was told by some yellow-shirted security tool with a corporate lackey by his side that I needed to leave the premises. I said sure, and was on my way out, when I was stopped by a guest who needed help finding some PS2 game. And with that, I was back on the job. I walked the guest over to the game section, bullshitted my way through assisting her (“No, that game’s got great graphics. Me? I play it all the time. Oh yeah. Sure. Why not?”), and then took up my new position there…where I remained, until the mass exodus of IE Agents. Next time: We need yellow shirts.
Outside, I conferred with some other agents who’d been kicked out, one of whom reported that she’d overheard a manager saying, “The police are on their way.” Two minutes later, the police car pulled up. I feel guilty for wasting the time of New York’s Finest with our silly prank where absolutely nothing untoward was going to happen, but I didn’t feel quite as guilty when one of the policemen came up and started being, predictably, a total dick: “This is absolute nonsense. If you go back in there, you’re getting a summons and you’ll be going to jail.” He walked away and an agent said “Okay, so now we’ve established where the line is. You can go in once, but you can’t go in again.” I said, “Are we banned from Best Buy for life?” Everyone shivered. Then, someone else: “Where’s the nearest Blockbuster?”
I had to hang around for quite awhile waiting for my friend (who did a better job of hiding than I did – he was hanging out by the calculators waiting to tell unsuspecting customers who asked him a question, any question: “I’m sorry, I’m the calculator guy, and calculators are all I know about.”), so I got to hear lots of other stories, including one who said a customer was carping about us to a manager because “they won’t do anything and they won’t tell us what they’re protesting!” I also saw one guy who thought the gag was pretty funny, and on his way out of the store he said “Well done, guys.” So all in all, I think a success!
An old man asked me to help him get down a big box from a top shelf for him. I began to try to get the box, when I realized I was way too short to actually get it, and at best I’d knock it off the shelf. I then told him, “You know I don’t work here, sir?”
He was so confused, and just pointed at my shirt, began to laugh, and apologized. He went to another nearby ACTUAL-Best Buy employee, and said, “Looks like your twin!” The Best Buy employee did not share a laugh with him.
I really enjoyed selling a phone to a customer, recommending different products, talking a couple out of buying a particular washing machine, and referring a customer to a Best Buy employee when I couldn’t quite help him with his question about a cord extension for his speakers. It was also really fun talking to the other employees and calling them by name as if they knew me- “Hey Randy this woman needs more help with…”
Here are some bullet points from my observations:
1. I waited to enter the store so I’d be toward the tail end of the group. The first thing I heard was the manager walking rapidly through the store with her walkie. She was saying, “I want every available person on the floor right now…!”
2. Shortly thereafter, several of the more official-looking employees were walking rapidly around the store saying, apparently for the benefit of the ears of all blue shirts they did not recognize, “…the cops have been called…” They said this as they walked by me, as if in the middle of a conversation, and I understand they repeated this again for others to hear. A clever strategy on their part, I thought.
Soon afterward some of our agents walked around passing this information along to their fellows in an under-the breath way. (It was suggested afterward that one thing we could have done is informed the regular customers of this fact, as well: “Just wanted you to know the cops have been called, so don’t panic.”)
3. An employee, who seemed to dog me through the store, walked up beside me near the refrigerators. “So, you guys get bored or something?” he asked in an offhand, amiable way. I looked blank: “Huh?” He repeated it. “You guys all got bored and so you got blue shirts and came in here…?”
I said, “I’m sorry, but I don’t understand what you mean. If you mean, am I bored, it’s true I’m kind of bored because I’m waiting for someone.” He then changed tactics. “It’s really cold today, right, and raining like [some off-color phrase], isn’t it? Isn’t it a bit cold for the shirts? I mean, short sleeves and all?” I assured him it was now sunny and warm and he should check it for himself. As I was no help, he excused himself and went elsewhere.
4. I was asked “Can I help you” by several people over time. I found the best answer, besides my story that I was waiting for my wife shopping for baby supplies across the street at Burlington Coat Factory, was to actually ask some question about something in the store. “Is that a rear projection screen or is there a projector somewhere?” “Is that screen more or less effective in terms of glare if there’s bright sunlight?” That sort of thing. They would answer me and I’d say “thanks” and look off into the distance; they must have felt that somehow I had just proven my right to be in the store, because in each case they then left me alone.
5. For a bit I stationed myself at the foot of the escalator so the maximum number of store patrons would ask me for directions. This worked not so very well. Then I decided to freak out the fellow(s) watching me a bit and for some time I would check my watch, then go up the escalator and hang out at the top. After a few minutes, I checked the time again and went back down, as if there were some reason to be one place or the other. (Later other agents and I thought it would have been more fun if I’d touched my ear and looked like I was receiving instructions through an implant, nodded and proceeded to change position, rather than merely checking the watch.)
6. As I hung out on the top floor, hoping to overhear something being said by the employees talking with the cops, a guy in a black jacket walked up and warned me, “You’re going to have to leave. The police are going to start arresting people if you don’t leave.” I had been talking with an employee at that moment, and as the man moved away I looked at the employee with a confused expression and asked “Do we know him?” The employee said nothing. I asked, “Does he work here?” but the employee moved away. I still don’t know if the man worked for the store. He might have been an undercover agent of the store.
7. Another employee — or the same one; they all dress alike, I noticed — asked “You guys all together? You come as a group?” I gave him my patented blank look. “What do you mean? I’m just here by myself.” Like the other very confused employees, he wasn’t sure how to follow up on this line of questioning and went away.
8. Being as I was near the very front door of the store at 4:45, I was perhaps the first person told by the police to vacate. “Are you shopping?” said the policeman. “No, I’m just waiting.” “All the people wearing blue shirts who are not employees of Best Buy have to leave right now. You have to leave right now.” I obliged, looking inconvenienced.
I was one of the earlier entries into the store and as I walked around trying to get a feel for the layout I overheard some employees already on alert. One of them was giving orders to the others, “Eyes open. Eyes open. Anyone wearing a blue shirt. Eyes open.’
I found a comfortable spot by a pillar in front of a TV. I hoped I could look like a bored employee to random customers and like a bored customer to random employees. Almost immediately somebody asked me for help finding a certain Bose speaker system. I told the customer I wasn’t sure but I’d get one of the women who work in this section to help him. I found two female employees chatting and said, “There’s a customer who wants help finding Bose speakers. Can you help him?” They seemed reluctant to, maybe they thought I was trying to give them orders or something, but one of them came and I introduced her to the customer then went back to my post.
One of the male employees was particularly take charge. He questioned me early on about what was going on. The typical “What are you up to?/I have no idea what you’re talking about” conversation. I did let him know that a customer had asked me about speakers and that I had found an employee to help and he said “Thank you” and stopped questioning me.
Another customer got my attention in a more rude way by snapping his fingers and saying hello then going into the aisle a few rows down before waiting for a response. So I followed him to where he was with his wife looking at cordless phones. He seemed to be ignoring me so I asked, “Were you talking to me?” and he replied “Yes” very annoyed and asked me something about the frequencies. So once again I hooked them up with an employee. I continued to do that for the rest of the questions I received.
One customer got particularly annoyed. She came up demanding, “Do you work here?” When I said I didn’t she said, “Then why are you wearing a blue shirt? You shouldn’t come here in that shirt.” She too got taken care of by a real employee. After some time the employee who had questioned and thanked me earlier came back really pissed. We had a conversation that went something like:
“I’m going to have to ask you to leave.”
“You’re kicking me out?”
“No, I’m not saying that.”
“Ok, then I can stay?”
“You’re not buying anything.”
“I’m waiting for my friend, just watching TV while I wait.”
“I’m asking you to leave.”
“Are you kicking me out?”
This repeated in various versions until eventually he conceded with, “Fine, just do what you have to do.” Agent Todd also overheard him add, “Have fun,” as he walked away. A little while later a more managerial guy came by simply saying, “You can stay there, but just don’t help our customers.” Before I could respond he was already moving on to give the warning to the next blue shirt in sight. I grew tired of my spot and walked around. I went to a bathroom that I had seen on my initial scout of the store but when I got to it I noticed it had an Employees Only sign. I considered it for a moment, but I didn’t want to push my trespassing luck so I moved on.
The last and best-overheard moment was two employees who were actually getting a kick out of the whole thing saying, “These guys rock!” They started discussing some part they needed. “You’ve got to go to the warehouse and get it yourself… or send one of these guys to do it.” The other guy agreed he should send me.
Agent Nicholson’s Flickr photoset (highlights)
Agent Nicholson’s Flickr photoset (128 photos)
Look for more agent reports in the comments section, below.
What a fun mission.
I’d been shooting upstairs while the first several agents came in. When I first moved downstairs, a yellowshirted manager was instructing her people on the radio to position an employee alongside every agent. This was apparently before the bulk of our agents were inside.
Sometime later, a few yellowshirts were walking down the central aisle talking excitedly. "He’s the ringleader," one repeated several times. They were very happy about making this ID, but I never found out who they thought was the "ringleader."
I’m particularly impressed the agents’ bravery and commitment. With the mission details a secret, no one knew when they showed up that they’d be directly confronted by angry employees, and our steadfast agents were not deterred by the theat of police. Hopefully the angered employees and cops can look back now, realizing there was no harm intended or done, and have a good laugh.
Man, I love you guys.
That was so friggin’ fun. I can now don the name, "Agent"! Weeee-hooo
Looks like fun. Sorry I missed it!
I was very excited to be taking part of my first IE mission… Seems as if I’ve been out of town for all of them in the past years. I bought my shirt at Footlocker on the way to Union Square, and changed in the Barnes & Noble restroom. As I passed the IE Throng on the way to B&N, I got this funny little conspratorial thrill. It felt like being in The Sting, only without the Scott Joplin ragtime soundtrack.
Upon arriving at Best Buy, I made a beeline for the section where I was likely to have the most answers: the video game department (I was the one with the long braids and the black flatcap, which I now realise I should have removed). My thrill turned to nervousness when I realised this could be percieved as some sort of heist, but watching all the other agents milling around, I figured that, as a whole, we didn’t look all that threatening.
I staked out at the end of the aisle with the Xbox games, and tried to look as bored as possible. It was a little difficult not to shop as I was right next to the Kingdom Hearts II strategy guide, but I resisted doing anything with the merchandise other than compulsively straightening it. I was asked by a woman how to get to the check out, and told her. Another woman asked where the PSP games were, and I apologised, saying I didn’t work there.
The video game employees were amused by the bit. One was trying hard to get out two youngest agents to sit down at the Xbox 360 test couch, but they and their dad resisted temptation. One of the most lighthearted managers told an agent to tuck in his shirt, and I followed suit. One especially frisky employee inquired about my Street Fighter skills, and challenged me to a throwdown. I politely declined.
The rest of my time there passed uneventfully, though I noticed cameras passing me a few times. Agent Todd informed me that we were leaving. Some employees spread the word, “They’re leaving!”. one employee said that she was going to leave with us. “If they get to go home, I guess I can, too.”
"You’re instigating our shirts?"
Funnyist thing i have seen in a long time. i laughed my ass off for about 1/2 hour reading and watching about your "caper". Good stuff keep it up.
To be honest I’m not that crazy about the mission. It sounded like it got on a lot of peoples’ nerves and mainly amused the agents themselves. The cops getting called in isn’t a good sign in a mission.
Kizor, it was really fun for everyone except the paranoid managers.
Also, Cross. I was the one they told to tuck in my shirt. It ended up I couldn’t because of my over-tightened belt. I feel kinda stupid now, I didn’t hear him tell us we weren’t supposed to shop or browse, which I was doing a lot of at the video game section.
Outstanding!!!! But I really think you guys should have "busted" Wal-Mart. Their management are lame and usually retarded. But your agent who know the law is correct. you are not trespassing unless there is a "No Trespassing" sign posted, or you are asked to leave and do not do so.
YOU GUYS ROCK!!!!!!!!!
that is stupid, why would anyone waste their time doing that just to piss people off. compeltely retarded and a waste of time.
Why would you do that? Shouldn’t you be working or have real jobs. Sounds like a huge loser fest with lame people who should be working rather then going and trying to mess with people who have jobs.
This was my first of what I hope to many missions. I had a fantastic time and a lot of the employees seemed to be anjoying it too. Anyway, I just wanted to write something positive to combat the wave of haters the keeps writing.
Wow you clearly know nothing about improv everywhere. Naturally they don’t do this all the time its just in their free time.
You should also notice that their objective is to make people laugh and have a good time. If they happen to piss off someone then its unfortunate but not intentional. If you don’t think its funny thats one thing but don’t make them out to be criminals.
I absolutely love the mission! I am a Best Buy employee in WA and it would be quite funny to see everyone freaking out with all the blue shirts everywhere. I can definately see what kind of chaos this must have caused in the store, so for that, I’m glad I wasn’t there! :)
THIS WAS A GREAT MISSION!!! That Best Buy deserved everything that they got – I’ve been in that BB and the employees are the worst. They are lazy, and the customer service is horrible. You just showed the management how helpful their workers should be. They were confused because they’ve never seen people be helpful and work before.
This is really, really, really hilarious! I’m looking forward to reading about your next adventure!
This was so amazing. I go to New York pretty frequently, but I always miss the missions. Hopefully I’ll be able to do one soon.
That is absolutely stinkin’ hilarious!! LMAO
As a Best Buy Employee I didn’t really find this funny. Mostly because while the lower level employees dont have to deal with much from the managers the full timers have to then deal with the high strung managers and listen to them bitch for hours on end.
Even I didn’t work here though it still wouldnt have made me laugh. It was actually pretty lame.
Just my opinion though.
How would you feel if someone came into your work one day and just completely fucked with your customers and drove away sales which potentially drives away hours…
Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy…
Jim-meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! Jimster. Jimson-weed.
Jim Jiminy Jim Jiminy Jimmyjimjimmyjimjimmyjimmy Jim Jim Ji-reee!
How were they “fucking” with your customers?
How were they “driving away sales”?
Seems to me your beef is with your “high strung managers”.
James, me laddie. Life’s too short. You ought to find some reasons to laugh, before that part of you shrivels up like a cranky old raisin. I’m just sayin’.
–a Kindred Spirit
I still have my red vest, the uniform from when I worked at Egghead Computer Surplus. It’s great material and really works well in a pirate costume, which I wear more often than you might expect.
Anyway, once I wore my red vest to Home Depot, shopping for some garden tools I think. 3 customers came up to me during the course of my visit asking where something was, to which I replied each time, "Oh, I don’t work here." It was very odd, especially because Home Depot employees wear orange aprons, not red vests.
Thats hillarious. It almost makes me wish I wasnt so lazy. Damn, I want in on this crazy action. Let me know when your coming to San Antonio
I work at a Best Buy, and I’ll give you credit, a lot of guys really looked exactly like how were supposed to look in dress code. But, dont mess with people while theyre working, thats pretty messed up. It just makes everyone mad, like the people that come in and try and do stuff from jackass that think they’re funny…it’s really not it just makes everyone think they are huge losers
Wow, nobody seemed to like this mission. I think differently, it’s freakin’ brilliant and I would’ve loved to be in it. Sadly, though, I’d get terrified at the first sign of suspicion, ruining the whole thing.
Anyway, this was awesome. Loved the interview videos, they’re something that other missions could use.
Nice, very creative and well executed.
When the security guards and managers told the one agent that he was being detained until police arrived, that was a false statement. They can not legally keep you in the store because any action taken against a non-violent exit would result in false imprisonment, and a nice civil lawsuit.
Either way, that was hilarious and truly made my day.
I really liked the play-by-play and in depth analysis. We need more “needless” humor in our lives b/c in fact i needed this today. the critics can go f*ck themselves.
Please, the people who said this wasn’t a good mission should get a sense of Humor. Best Buy (as much as I love the place, and I own stock) is usually managed by less than stellar people.
In regards to trespassing, you’re within your rights to be somewhere and even film until you are asked to leave. All the employees should know that (and agents should know to leave when asked).
If management was smart they’d just tell the agents with cameras that they’d like them to find the organizer and let them know that in 10 minutes they’d like everyone to leave. Everyone would be happy.
Best Buy has a lot of problems with loss prevention though so I CAN see their side of the story.
To IE though… Well Done!!
<<Posted by: Kizor
To be honest I’m not that crazy about the mission. It sounded like it got on a lot of peoples’ nerves and mainly amused the agents themselves. The cops getting called in isn’t a good sign in a mission.>>
You make a good point, Kizor. But keep in mind that you’re experiencing the mission second-hand, neither as participant nor observer. It’s like trying to describe a movie to someone- it’s just not the same as actually being there.
There’s a definite tendency in our recollections and discussion after-the-fact to focus on the conflict. You don’t quickly forget a police questioning or people being angry at you. It’s an intense experience, and I think it’s understandable that our recollections skew towards the conflict.
But the mission wasn’t about the conflict. The point was to bring some fun to unsuspecting people in an ordinarily mundane environment. Our resulting self-satisfaction is an understandable way of coping with the attacks of other people who wanted to fight; people who were unable or unwilling to participate in the fun. As I said above, hopefully this experience has startled those people enough to look up from their existing paradigms and approach things with a different perspective in the future.
Thanks for the laugh. It’s not often I get to laugh continuously for twenty minutes.
I think the missions amused people, since customers laughed, so it seemed like a success. I think it would be different if the participants refused to leave or were deliberately giving false info to the customers or driving them away. But the agents either helped them find someone or told them they weren’t employees and so it wasn’t bad. In so many of the missions it seems as if it is the management who makes it into a problem (like calling the police instead of just having everyone leave). I understand they get worried but it just shows how people overreact.
You all are my HEROES!!! I had an incident happen at Best Buy, and I can’t stand them anymore. I SOOOO wish you would come to Nashville/Antioch, TN and torment store #173.
I think that this idea is completely worthless. If you are going to play a prank on the store, you should accomplish more then the police getting called, and getting on the nerves of some employees. You should leave them with a memory about what you did in some way, this is just stupid.
This mission made me laugh, especially the interviews. Those were great! Like always though, management makes a mountain out of a mole hill and ruins the fun.
A great part two to the prank would be to purchase a VERY expensive item. Then have the agents all arrive together to return it. Any time you are are asked about the purchase, Just reply that "He" said to return it.
Bah! I think this was funny. I wear a polo shirt and jeans to work, and when I stop in to Best Buy during lunch, I invariably get asked for help. (None of my shirts are BB Blue.) I help when I can, since that’s being a good person. :)
I have always found BB management to be uptight. This should serve as a reminder that we’re all human, and to lose the attitude and have some fun.
If I had to drone my life away working at Best Buy, being in the middle of a surreal invasion of quasi-workmates would be the high point of my working year. And the managers got to feel all important and excited, so it was a win for them too. I’m sure some of them would complain bitterly afterwards about the downfall of modern society, et cetera, just like the whining commenters here – but people who do that like nothing better _than_ to do that. It might not actually make them happy, but it gets them as close to it as they ever get. So, again, a win.
Not one of IE’s most inspired moments, I grant you, but still about a million times as interesting as what _usually_ happens in a corporate mortuary like Best Buy.
This is stellar. Many congratulations on your success – I’d love to see this type of grass roots organization directed to more of an activist/politcal cause… there are many social metaphors that can be pulled out of the context of your event. Especially with regards to how we perceive and intertect with threatening and assimilated identities. Great job again – I’ll pass this along to my students.
I don’t get the point of this. A lot of people working in department stores have a great deal of things to deal with, and then a group of people they don’t know come in and cause what to them, amounts to trouble, trouble is exactly what it is to them. I really didn’t understand what the mission was. I’m an open minded guy though. What was the purpose?
Im still curious as to what the Thomas Crown Affair was.
Definately hilarious. You guys need to start a improv everywhere in portland, OR.
<<Posted by: Nacho
I really didn’t understand what the mission was. I’m an open minded guy though. What was the purpose?>>
From the FAQ (http://www.improveverywhere.com/faq.php):
"Why do you do this?
Improv Everywhere is, at its core, about having fun. We’re big believers in "organized fun". In the process we bring excitement to otherwise unexciting locales and give strangers a story they can tell for the rest of their lives. We’re out to prove that a prank doesn’t have to involve humiliation or embarrassment; it can simply be about making someone smile. "
I work at best buy myself. Seeing the videos, pictures and reading this was great. Good job!
This is great! This must have been a fun time for all the IE agents. Even if the yellow shirts were pissed, you know they laughed at home later.. before they cried.
I’m sorry, but I just don’t think it was funny. It seems that the real point of all of this was to record the inevitable confrontation with store managers and police.
This is comedy?
Look at some of the posts in response to your ‘misson’
Peter: "Best Buy … is usually managed by less than stellar people."
Compared to whom?? So these people, who are just trying to get by in life like all of us, should be the target of your spoof? C’mon.
And the most telling of all was a response by Donnie:
"I SOOOO wish you would come to Nashville/Antioch, TN and torment store #173."
Even some of your fans recognize it for what it really is.
Bloody hilarious, I loved the part where you messed with the pigs
This was the first IE mission I read, and I think it’s hilarious how quickly people will overreact and jump to conclusions, and disturbing how they resort to intimidation and threats without the slightest provocation. I have to wonder, what if there was somewhere there in a blue shirt who really was just shopping? They would surely have been rather annoyed by the management asking them strange questions and demanding that they leave. By the way, the organizers did an excellent job of making the group blameless – they might have a legitimate complaint if you actually impersonated employees, but with no logo on your shirt and no one claiming to be an employee, what can they accuse you of exactly? Using the demo cameras was a nice touch. Brilliantly planned and executed.
what you folks did was funny, but do use wisdom, don’t get your self arrested in the persuit of humor…
Hey, just FYI: you’ve just been Farked. Be proud.
Hilarious prank, I absolutely loved the whole "I must be tripping on acid" clip.
Greetings from Australia!! Funniest thing i’ve read in a long time!
Just one comment and i’m not sure if this has been raised before, so if it has forgive me… if you’re so worried about getting good coverage why don’t you have the camera people dress in civillian clothing. I’m sure that way they will be more conspicuous!
Greetings from Australia!! Funniest thing i’ve read in a long time!
Just one comment and i’m not sure if this has been raised before, so if it has forgive me… if you’re so worried about getting good coverage why don’t you have the camera people dress in civillian clothing. I’m sure that way they will be more conspicuous!
To those complaining they caused problems for employees, by whose definition? They didn’t harm anyone and from the reports pointed people at real salespeople. There could be some confusion but that has happened to me in a store when I was wearing a black polo. Lighten up Francis!
The Thomas Crown Affair reference is during the movie a bunch of people dressed like Thomas Crown are in an art museum confusing the cops.
I have to say I find all of your missions clever and indeed fun. I also have to say that this mission failed in the spirit of your ‘mission statement’. I supported the ‘Strand’ mission, which received negative feedback. And I find the mistake of partrons as employees an interesting phenonenon especially considering employee dress such as BB and Home Depot. I wear my security badge around my neck with a lanyard and while running errands at lunch and am mistaken as an employee at many stores (even though my clothes are nothing like the employee dress code). As I said, interesting phenomenon, but how to adress this in a mission is the question.
I agree that it seemed to be most ‘fun’ for the participants. Employees (particularly managers) failed to react in a manner that helped the mission, like calling police. I will grant that managers sometimes find it hard to react to situations without thinking their authority through, but I think the had to address the agents. Though they did admit they weren’t employees when addressed, it was clear it in the least confused customers, who never did even understand they weren’t speaking to an employee (even after they were told, which admittedly is a bit amusing).
I think the agents should have been directed to reply clearly they were not employees when addressed and not ‘try to help’ customers. I’m sure many customer’s found it amusing or interesting, but its disruptive (now there is ‘disruptive’ in an amusing or interesting way, but this wasn’t one of them.
It is important to note no law was broken, but after the initial influx of the ‘blue shirts’ if anyone was asked to leave, they should have.
Perhaps all the agents entering at once, and actually purchasing an item and getting in the checkout at the same would have been notable enough.
And who likes seeing the police around, even though they really shouldn’t have been called?
Again ‘the mistaken employee’ is interesting, but I don’t agree the mission was in the spirit of IE I’ve seen in other missions.
Man, I was laughing so hard! This is just too funny! Keep up the good work and thanks for the chuckles.
This is the first I had ever heard of your group, and I must say I am highly impressed.
To me, the best part of the whole thing is Agent Scott bringing his kids.
As a father of two young boys, I know how hard it can be to come up with creative and fun things to do with your kids.
Allowing them to participate was/is a great idea. It is harmless fun, that REALLY is funny. It also shows that Dad is not a ‘fuddy-duddy’ (does anyone even say that anymore? Am I dating myself?LOL), and that fun can be had in the wierdest and most ‘non-extreme’ ways.
I bet those girls will remember that day forever and Dad is for sure always going to be remembered for the cool time he provided for them. Mostly on the cheap as well!!! LOL
Great job, I cannot wait to see more pranks!!
curious…did any agent get approached and asked to ring up a purchase? What was the response?
This is hilarious. Keep up the good work.
It has been a couple months since I last visited the site (I think it was that McDonald’s bathroom aide prank) and I found that your latest mission has been getting a lot more coverage.
What I really wanted to say though was that I was having a really sad and crappy day until I read the Best Buy mission. I was practically smiling the whole way through. Thanks, you guys, for being so creative and hilarious. Now I want to go back and reread all of your past missions!
80 agents! Thats ridiculous.
It was an ok mission. I liked the idea, and it would have been fun to be there, but it wasn’t as fun to ready about as most of the others. And too bad the cops got called. People are paranoid, but I guess you can’t blame them
I think this was fun. One vote from here. So far, there are more fun votes than "nay" votes, innit?
Some commenters here are obviously quick to judge.
Ha ha. Thanks for making my day!
A great prank, I thought, but it was missing something. It was like a really funny joke where the guy telling it forgets the punchline. Maybe, since everyone was supposed to be waiting for someone, you should have had a swarm of wives/boyfriends/daughters/brothers come in all at once to pick up the blue-shirted innocents who were waiting for them. Or something. I dunno.
Hilarious. Just goes to show how idiotic most retail drones are. I have worked in retail (unfortunately) before and that would have made me laugh. "Thomas Crown Affair", indeed. I guess no one at Best Buy has a sense of humor. At least the cops didn’t go beserk. Rent-a-cops (read: security guards) take themselves seriously. Keep up the great work.
Aside for Jimmy, the Best Buy who didn’t find the mission "funny": it sounds like you really have a crappy job. Might I recommend quitting that one and get one that you like? You seem rather anal-retentive. Put away the video games and get some sun – it’ll do you a world of good.
Punchline: After things have gotten tense inside the store, a frenzied guy dressed like a priest walks up to the customer service person and tells her that the bus arrived early, parked around the corner, and he’s got to round up his group. He then asks her to announce over the PA system that the IE Ecumenical Glee Club bus has arrived, and will the members please meet their leader in front of the store. They form a blue line as they file down aisles, down the escalators and out the door, transforming a few employees from being absolutely annoyed to being absolutely unsure whether to be annoyed or not.
Ok, so I work at Best Buy and I’ll admit I did laugh at this while reading through it and watching the videos. In a way it could help Best Buy, they now can prepare for invasions of blue shirts and how to handle it :) I think the store there needs more work with "ice breakers" when talking to customers.
On a down side if I was a customer I would have been pissed if I was in hurry to get an item, or get help for an item or purchase. I could care less about the employees or even the invasion of blue shirt people. The main thing that bugged me about it would be the customers that got upset because three blues in a row acted like they could help until they couldn’t and stated I don’t work here (or yes something along those lines). Confusing a large amount of the public, yes is funny but there probably were a few customers if not a dozen in that time period that had more important things in there day to get done to be off-set by a "harm-less" prank. So all in all being an employee I would smile but please remember how much of the public you are affecting when doing a prank, because its not always fun for by-standards.
All in all though yes made me laugh which was its point and most people shopping that day probably don’t care by now and those that do are the ones getting a laugh out of it.
Rating out of 1-10…1 being wtf and 10 being omg sweet…I give it an over-all 8 out of 10. Great organization and camera work :)
P.S. Hope the cops didn’t have anything better to do per say: Catch a crime, drug dealers, someone being assulted, or others getting harmed…who knows you could have took them off there post to where someone got mugged or worse…or you might have just interupted there coffee break. Never know ! ;-)
sad 2 year employee of best buy not bad job while in school. A friend sent me this site, and I was in tears. It’s funny how little these Best Buy for life people can’t think out of the box and are so simple minded. This mission was life changing
My fiance works for circuit city. They uploaded this at work and laughed their asses off for days. kudos my friends!
I suppose the jig is up now that the story of this mission has got everywhere (Fark, Digg, etc), but you should really think about targeting (!) Target.
I too am confused for store employees, even when I’m not wearing clothes close to the store’s colors. I’ve actuall pointed people in the right direction before they realize I don’t work there.
I am also in and out of public safety buildings for work, with people asking me for directions or help locating certain departments. I just point them to an officer or employee for help.
To see 50+ people in near-store colors wandering in would have been priceless. Had I been there, I would have been asking the non-employees for help, even after I knew they were not employees. And the look of fear in hte management’s eyes is even better. It should be a wakeup call to them that they need better disaster/conflict training.
A+ performance by all!
What?!?!?!?!? How the hell were you guys ‘endangaring’ the lives of 100’s of customers?? Stupid bitch! I was laughing so hard whenever she said that.
If somebody could explain to me how the hell dressing in a blue polo shirt endaring people I would love to know.
This reminds me of one time at Logan’s Roadhouse in Kentucky. I walked out of there because I was pretty much sick and tired of the job. About 3 to 4 weeks later I go there for a drink. One of the managers sees me and asks me to leave. I ask him why. He says becaused I walked out and that was disrispectful to the company. I said to him well I’m a customer and I’m not doing anything illegal. He still asked to leave and if I did not he was going to CALL THE COPS! I then asked him once again if I did something illegal. He said I needed to leave or he would call the cops.
If it were not because I’m a professional, I would have laughed at his face! But I left because I did not want to "cause" any problems, even though I was only there for a drink.
I wished I would have stayed there and he would have called the cops.
You guys need to leave! You are endegaring the lives of our customers by wearing blue polo shirts!!
Dumbass Best Buy employee
Agents Co and Bo have the greatest father ever! Keep up the good work!
I work in security at a Best Buy, so I can see this from two angles.
1) As an amused bystander and recognizing the spirit of IE, I can see this as an extremely clever ‘hack’ and enjoy it for the mayhem that you caused.
2) From the perspective of a store employee charged with the security of the merchandise and the safety of the customers, I can see why they were so uncomfortable and why they reacted as they did.
Still, from the response it’s obvious that the management in that particular store had their heads firmly inserted in their rectums and failed to adapt to the situation.
I say to you, good job!
All you whiners need to get your head out of your butt orifices and smell the roses. This mission rocked. God knows some of our managers (most) are pricks and need to lighten up. Many of them report to me so I am not just a store employee who is resenting my manager.
I agree, I think agent Bo and Co do have a rockin dad! THis is my first time seeing the Improv crew at work, and you guys are hilarious! Plus agent Reeves is HOT!! I only wish you guys could come out to L.A. I would definetly join your crew. Keep up the good work
agents co and bo are going to grow up to be badasses.
if you are ever coming to Dallas, post it on CollegeHumor.com and I will be there!
As a Best Buy employee I find it very funny what you guys did. We have an SBC (DSL) rep and he wears a similar blue. People are always asking him for help and he will actually do a sale then tell them he doesn’t work there. It used to bug me but now I don’t care, people need to pay attention.
If you came into our store they would probably laugh. Most of our management is cool. I kind of disagree with some of the agents helping the customers; if you knew what you were doing fine but if you didn’t you should have just said you don’t work there.
BTW I found this posted on our store’s Myspace Group haha.
ya, im a little irratated. apparantly this idea was suggested feb 14, i suggested the same thing (accept at wal mart) on feb 28, so i get no credit at all.
This is hiliarious. Bravo! You realized what gave you away right? The fact that your agents were helpful. Best Buy employees are NEVER helpful.
Seems BB employees who don’t like their managers are finding a forum and those who don’t like criticism about the mission are finding a forum to tell BB employees how worthless their job is.
Can you file a harassment complaint/discriminiation complaint against the BB managers?
Truthfully, that was the funniest thing I’ve seen in a loooonnnnggg time. I forwarded to another friend (gotta love us retail sales mgrs), and he said if it happened at his store, he’d probably just give you all a price gun and a scanner and hope you worked some freight!
Way to go for keeping life non-boring. Thanks!
You may have been able to give some of your agents more time by having people come prepared to actually BUY something! I would assume that at least 50% of the agents would have taken the chance to purchase a CD/DVD/Computer game/etc., and then you would be able to answer "yes" to "are you buying anything".
I work at that best buy store…what you guys did was retarded, not funny…you made everyone’s job difficult for a day and put the entire store on edge. Its hard enough to control theft in the store without having to worry about a bunch of retarded assholes dessed up like employees, get a life u losers.
(PS, it wasn’t an orginal Idea at all, people dress up as employees all the time to try and steal stuff…they just have better things to do then film it)
I never knew about your group until I happened to read about this incident…I am STILL laughing my ass off! WONDERFUL!! What an absolutely fabulous way to spend a Sunday afternoon!
All I can say, is that I was kinda disapointed that you wern’t asked to clean something, or why you didn’t offer someone a magazine subscription! LOL!!
Hell, in MY store, someone would have asked if you were available to cover for a lunch break!
I’m sorry if some of my fellow "Blue Shirters" don’t have a sense of humor about your little outing. I think you should have gone together as a group to McDonalds afterwards, too!
Personally, I think you guys ROCK!
I look forward to seeing the results of your next mission!
"Posted by: Nicky Vee
Agents Co and Bo have the greatest father ever! "
YES! I wish my dad was this cool!
This made me laugh so so so hard. Wow.
I was talking with my sister this past weekend. SHe works at the Best Buy HQ here in Minnesota. She told me about this Best Buy in NY and how it was overrun with imposters. Well the mission shook cages all the way to Best Buy HQ. I guess they are working on a new policy that you cannot be in the store with similar clothing anymore if you are not employeed by Best Buy. The LP (loss Prevention) employee will be lookinf for situations like this in the future. Hilarious!!!
I can’t help but get this feeling like you guys think your better than people who have to work at/manage chain stores and restaurants.
I work at a Best Buy in New York (Poughkeepsie) and I thought that this was one of the funniest things that I have ever seen.
Outstanding work. Probably the most excitement in a Best Buy since the new Sony’s came out.
Hilarious. I work in a store with a pretty strict dress code and would definitely get a kick out of something like this, and im sure the management would as well. Most of our customers are rich snobs anyway. Well done, way to know the legality of everything you were doing. People just dont have a good sense of humor anymore.
"I work at that best buy store…what you guys did was retarded, not funny…you made everyone’s job difficult for a day and put the entire store on edge. Its hard enough to control theft in the store without having to worry about a bunch of retarded assholes dessed up like employees, get a life u losers."
For the record, the Best Buy where D claims to work (and where IE did this mission) attempts to search EVERY SINGLE CUSTOMER as they exit. This is the reason I no longer shop at ANY Best Buys. I don’t like stores that assume ALL their customers are shoplifters.
Posted by: Scott
>>I was talking with my sister this past weekend. SHe works at the Best Buy HQ here in Minnesota. She told me about this Best Buy in NY and how it was overrun with imposters. Well the mission shook cages all the way to Best Buy HQ. I guess they are working on a new policy that you cannot be in the store with similar clothing anymore if you are not employeed by Best Buy. The LP (loss Prevention) employee will be lookinf for situations like this in the future. Hilarious!!!<<
WOW. Can you can get your hands on a memo or come up with some mroe details or documentation?
I’m in the UK. No one does this sort of thing here.
I manage a store in another state and found this to be quite funny. Not sure how I’d react in the same situation, but being on the outside and looking in this was a good prank.
I am a huge fan of invisible theater. I enjoyed reading about the careful preparation put into orchestrating this mission. However I became less interested and very disappointed when I finished reading about the mission to find that there was no real purpose behind this performance. It seemed like the ones most entertained were the ones taking part and as any good actor will tell you, you should never be more entertained by your performance than your audience. I think that your energy and enthusiasm are commendable. Please don’t turn improv/invisible theater into every other form of entertainment out there which lacks depth, originality and a thought provoking topic. Even if your goal was to simply entertain and make people laugh which is a very noble cause, the only ones I saw laughing (Other than the two employees who probably wanted nothing more than to be anywhere but Best Buy) were the ones waiting for their friends/girlfrieds/boyfriends. I think you all have great ideas and a fantastic willingness to put yourselves out there. I think that it can be put to great use instead of just something to do with a free Saturday. Thanks for listening.
Wow. Not only is this impressive and figgin hilarious, but very influencial. I think I might do something like this around a local store. I’ve always wanted ppl to think I’m in a cult! (but, seriously, I think I’ll have it a go). Great job guys!
I work at a Best Buy and make no qualms about it being a great organization with high morals and ethics. A lot of the managers are concieted dicks at time, but they’re just watching their bottom dollar because they need to make their money. I’m a fan pranks of this nature but this really wasn’t cool, especially the instance where the "Agent" sold a router. There’s all sorts of other service Best Buy tries to attach to routers (generally unsuccessfully) that help us get hours. The way the company works is that the more revenue we generate the more hours we get the next week, and you really could have hurt someone who needed a few extra bucks to buy groceries or pay bills. Best Buy doesn’t pay all that well and sometimes there’s a fight for hours when they aren’t there (like this time of the year) and this just is not cool. I have do have a sense of humor and this wasn’t really funny at all. You wasted tax payers dollars by getting the police called, employees time because there’s going to be discussions and meetings and corporate rebuttals with the managers about how to handle this kind of situation. Best Buy is a stressful sales enviornment for anyone trying to make a career out of this, and while I don’t, a lot of people in the store do, Best Buy as a company is a numbers based orginazation and you could have cost that store literally tens of thousands of dollars in missed revenue. Good luck in the future, but find something that isn’t as detremental to peoples livelihoods and is a bit funnier.
i really thought this prank was really funny but……………………………………you should not put down people who work for bestbuy or managers who work at bestbuy, just like every company in the US bestbuy has there issues but you shouldnt put the employees who work at bestbuy down. Alot of people make a living and are getting paid and feeding there family by bestbuy. I really feel strongly that you should applogize to the managent and employees who took affence to this prank and have fun with the employees who said that the prank was great. Again i really love the prank but just like every other prank applogize after the prank has been done.
Here are some links describing what the door security people can do to you legally.
this is possibily the funniest thing i’ve seen in a very long time.
hahahaha.. i work at best buy and i think this is freaking hilarious. i personally, hate customers and wish i could tell them to go fuck themselves about 99% of the time. having extra people around to help would have been great! the managers sound like cunty idiots – just like mine!! hahaha.
on a side note, i’ve noticed that no matter what store you’re in, if you have something that resembles a uniform, idiot customers think you work there. i’ve been asked questions (wearing my best buy uniform) at Target, Kinko’s, Barnes and Noble, Sports Chalet, Vans, and oddly enough, IHOP
Just a follow up to my comment above: I told my manager about this and he said he would have thought it was funny. He also thought that the managers of that store were overreacting. Then again he was not having to deal with it.
Rick is true in saying that the more we sell the more hours we get. So while it was funny, you guys should not have been really selling things. I guess it’s the customers fault for not paying attention but every one should have been instructed to tell customers they don’t work there even if they did not ask.
hey guys, just lighten up. this was hilarious. they didnt break any laws, they didnt even pretend to work there, they just dressed alike. the cops and whatnot made it a big deal (not that im blaming them), it was just funny. you guys are going too deep into it.
Interesting; a project that manages to be both original and infantile. But what’s so clever about making someone else’s workday more stressful, or making someone else’s shopping trip more difficult? I’m not impressed.
Flash 8 _sucks_ big times. There’s not even a linux version. :-(((((
This rocks. I loved it–would love to see that happen where I live. Keep up the great work
I see alot of "hilarious prank, dudes!" and "cool prank". I am wondering how many IE agents and leadership are wincing right now. I would think IE would prefer not to be associated with ‘pranks’ or ‘pranking’. I see that as entirely different – the net is filled with ‘pranks’ that are entirely uncreative, crude, and downright destructive. IE shouldn’t be even vaguely associated with pranks, and if the missions continue to be recongnized as such (though unintentionally), IE should put a little more thought in missions such as this.
I disagree. I think IE is proving that the notion of “prank” doesn’t have to be a negative thing. Pranks *can* be harmless and don’t have to always have a victim. The best pranks are as much fun for the prankee as they are for the prankster, and that’s almost always the case in IE’s pranks. Had the management/security guards in this case not taken themselves so seriously, it would have been a really fun time for all (as is evidenced by the employees with a better attitude who made jokes and about it and took photos)
The best missions in my opinion ‘create a scene’ in parks or on the street – "the hypnotist", "synchonized swimming", and the like come to mind.
I think the jump to retail outlets raises some questions. The ‘Moebuis’ was very clever and didn’t really affect operations. Managers are unpredicable, yes, but is it so off the mark to see the ‘blue shirts’ as a possible way to lift merchandise? And is the police being called ever a good thing?
You can’t see the distinction between this and the other missions.
And we could agrue the meaning of ‘prank’, but this isn’t coolpranks.com – and I don’t think IE uses the term ‘prank’. I think IE’s goal (one of them) is to rise above the common prank. I simply don’t think they did it in this case.
I meant that as a question.
You can’t see the distinction between this and the other missions?
Agent Shafer, if I wasn’t married I’d be in love with you. Love how you handled the cops.
Imagine how much fun you could have if… All the Blue shirt agents were male. And just about the time when things started to get hairy with management and the police 80 women dressed in identical skirts and sweaters walked into the store and up to a Blue Shirted agent and exclaimed very loudly "There you Are Sweetie! Wanna go for a Starbucks?" Then everyone leaves at once so there is literally a line of identical couples waiting to get out of the store. No bags, no merchandise and I bet they would still be screaming "Thomas Crowne… Thomas Crowne!" Maybe you could expand the effort in that manner with your next endeavour. It would make for some interesting photos.
I take it back, ‘prank’ is used, but I still think IE tries to rise above common prankdom.
Another IE mission, another stomach cramp from lmfao!
Agent whom goes to two stores before the mission simply ices the cake.
Bravo! gang :D
I, like many others, just learned of you guys a few days ago when it made its way to fark.com. I thought this mission was pretty funny, but after reading over every other one of your missions over the past few days, I’ve come to the conclusion that it was only average for you guys. I have no clue why this one got so much internet coverage over, say, the Megastore one. This one seemed more plain… one-dimensional is probably more what I mean.
Either way, I can’t wait until your DVD comes out, and hopefully you guys aren’t getting *too much* coverage now.
What a great idea! I found the whole thing hilarious, not least because of the crazy reactions of some of the Best Buy staff and customers. Personally, I think you’ve achieved a geniune, artistic statement here about the nature of uniformed authority, the assumptions we make and our reaction when the norms are altered. Bravo!
I would’ve loved to have been there to mix it up a little. It would’ve been very funny for one agent to act as a genuine customer and ask *another agent* about [product X] and for both to remain completely in character, with the second agent trying to help and, if necessary, apologizing and saying he doesn’t work there. Bonus points if this could’ve been done in front of a yellow shirt!
I also think it would’ve been intriguing to see how convincing one could be in protesting the, "What are all you guys doing?" questions from the employees. I’d’ve loved to have been so convincing that they really believed I was *not* an agent and that I’d unfortunately but genuinely worn the blue shirt at random that day and just so happened to end up in the middle of a prank!
Thanks for an entertaining read. :)
This is theatre at its best! I’m proud of you guys and gals for giving me quite a belly laugh.
Thanks for everything.
Once again, IE has pulled it off. Wonderful :)
hahah absolutely hilarious
If you do the uniform thing again, everyone should go in wearing jackets or sweaters,then casually take them off once everyone is in the store. The effect would be more like "where did all these people show up from?"
You guys really need a job or need to find something more constructive to do with your time. haha, i can’t really beleive people followed this nonsense hahaha.
Discussion about uniforms referring to this prank:
What a neat experience this could have been for their employees had the so-called managers not been so sickeningly freaked out about "hours." What a complete lack of big-picture thinking and a damning statement about their company. I certainly plan to take my "hours" somewhere else in the future.
Nice work IE! Your work is inspiring, funny, and, indeed, art.
Wow, what a great idea! I look forward to what you guys come up with next.
oh man…thats freakin classic…i wish i could have been a part of that
Hi, just want to say as an employee of Best Buy that this is absolute brilliance. You guys have made my day with this. I just wish I could have been part of it (yes, I would have joined in) or that I could have seen you guys in action!!!
Deep down from the heart of a former employee: Congrats and Well Done.
As someone who indirectly works for Best Buy, I just wanted to say that I thought this is probably the funniest thing I have seen in forever. From my experience dealing with Best Buy employees, from the people out on the floor at my local store to the higher-up corporate people I deal with at work every day, they’re way too damn uptight and not only that, but completely incompetent. Completely. If any chaos was caused, the employees caused it themselves and therefore deserved any repercussions from it.
The person who said that BB is trying to make a rule about not being dressed similarly in their store…I want to buy a royal blue shirt and wear it into my local store, just to see if I get harassed. Maybe I could sue. Somehow I can’t see how something like that could realistically be enforced. I mean, it’s not a country club. Can they legally do something like that?
To all the people bitching about lost revenue and hours…oh, get over it. Get out of the corporate, capitalist “we must make money or we’ll all die” viewpoint for just one second and appreciate what they tried to do here, and how they succeeded in proving that people in this great nation of ours REALLY need to lighten the hell up. The fact that there were employees who saw the amusement in this proves my point.
Great job, guys. I’m looking forward to A) sharing this with everyone at work tomorrow, because they’ll all love it and B) reading the rest of your missions! :)
I fail to see the utility in staging such an event. If you are trying to prove some sort of point or highlight some sort of social problem, you completely missed your mark. However, if you just put on this event in order to ‘get a reaction’, that is a very unethical use of such an obviously talented resource such as the group of people you assembled. Why don’t you do something that is socially relevant instead of being so self righteous and snickering about making managers paranoid that you are stealing merchandise.
This had me LMAO, but I do have to agree with a few of the others that it lacked a punchline. Something like other "identical" people coming in looking for their "friends", everyone buying or looking for the same CD, or pretending to be part of a tour group. Anything that would have taken the edge off of the managers attitudes at the end, and gotten them (or most of them) to laugh.
Now I’m off to read the rest of your missions!
I’ve been following IE since the Hug Patrol mission and I have to say you guys keep coming up with the most hilarious ideas for scenes. I’m fighting the urge to put on khakis and a red shirt the next time I go to Target.
I work in Best Buy and i am pretty sure that you would get the same response in any Best Buy in america. That was an awesome mission and i hopw you do it again, most of the managers that work for Best Buy are high strung freaks. Rock ON!!!!
OMG I seriously wish that you guys came into my store! I would love to see all of the blue shirts and watch the managers squirm. Keep up the good work and good lucj in the future!
I love IE, but I don’t find the recent ‘bemuse retail employees/shoppers’ missions (this one and the cell phone symphony) to be as positive as some of the older ones. For instance, I smiled for a whole day after reading the subway missions.
I only just learned of your existemce and read the report from this mission. My first and main reaction was to laugh out loud at the idea: considering the aim of the prank was NOT to mess with people, but to be helpful to customers, it was harmless enough.
Of course, I can also understand the point of view of employees and management – up to a point. Remaining vigilant is one thing, freaking out so badly was another.
Personally, I love the idea. Random acts of harmless sillyness are needed. To all those that say you shouldn’t go and make working people crabby with such pranks, I answer: maybe those people wouldn’t be so crabby if th JOB wasn’t so damn important. You know, take the time to smell the flowers. Work to live, not live to work. That’s of course esepecially true of the management type – worrying about lost revenue for a small shop is one thing, but for a large retail outlet belonging to a corporate chain…
On the same vein: why is it that most of the people commenting here on their perceived uselesness of such event say something like: "You guys should get a job…" ?
Isn’t it a bit symptomatic of the fact that the JOB is everything? That surely someone who works could not possibly be so silly?
Is it so hard to believe that you can work AND be capable of random acts of sillyness? :p
Anyways. I’ll go have a look at your other missions – from my point of view, this one was great, if somewhat misunderstood!
Imagine same number of people walking into a Home Depot with plain orange aprons with their first name written in magic marker as HD does?
Good clean fun! Very funny. I also kept thinkng how funny if would have been if you all would have worn black shirts.
One idea that comes to mind would be for some of the agents to really have friends waiting for them in the shop. The agents would be very puzzled if an employee says that they should not talk to a customer, if the customer happens to be the agent’s wife ;-)
Despite others wrath, I was totally amused by the event at Best Buy. On a side note, I am in love with Agent Barnes…
It’s worth noting that the IE Agents are not the ones who are putting down Best Buy or its employees. Read closely. The only ones doing that are commenters… usually ones claiming to be employees of Best Buy.
I think it’s safe to say the IE Agents don’t feel "superior to" people who work in chain restaurant jobs – actually, most of them are probably actors/comedians who either are working or have worked at those jobs.
This mission was hilarious. :) Thanks ya’ll.
The cops in your city are much better trained than here (Ottawa). If you pulled that here, somebody would have been pepper-sprayed, handcuffed and beaten-up just so they could feel they’d done something.
The purpose definitely did NOT seem to be "to make the employees think we were going to steal stuff." Some of the employees thought that, but that’s not what the IE Agents were trying to do.
Awesome job! I am in love with Agent Reeves. Is she on TV? I think I saw her on some shows or commercials or something.
Posted by: Robbo
>>Discussion about uniforms referring to this prank:
Thank you for that. What a great discussion.
I laughed my ass off. You guy’s ROCK.No one can take a Joke or laugh anymore.Good clean fun!
"And he, not believing me, asked me to leave and said he’s calling the police and then stormed off. I said ok and just went to another section. "
"Shortly after that, I was asked to leave for not shopping. Instead, I decide to stay. I stroll around the store for awhile…"
"Later I tried to hang out more near other agents to hear what was going on. Then it seems like every idling agent was being asked to leave so I again started shopping."
"I was told by some yellow-shirted security tool with a corporate lackey by his side that I needed to leave the premises. I said sure, and was on my way out, when I was stopped by a guest [….] I walked the guest over to the game section,[….] and then took up my new position there…where I remained, until the mass exodus of IE Agents."
It appears that each of these individuals by their own admissions committed acts of trespass.
Since you were all part of an organized group, they placed you all in danger of being arrested. In many jurisdictions, all agents acting for an agency can be charged en-total for the crimes committed by individuals amoung them. "Accomplice to" is used in most cases.
Taking pride and boasting about this is showing very poor form and this behavior placed others at risk of being arrested.
I think that the whole event was very well done and in good fun.
Personally, I think there probably should have been two special rules set at the beginning. First, and identity rule about "If approached by customer or employee say ‘sorry, I don’t work here’ and return to waiting mode" and second a "Disengagement" rule that if asked to leave: "do so immediately. Stop in mid-word and walk out like an automaton and mill about outside."
That would have freaked them out even more. All these zombified psuedo-workers walking out the door.
If the manager walked out onto the street they are in voilation and should have been fired. We had a security guard at the store i worked at get fired for that b/c he walked threw the double doors after someone to get the licence plate.
I like that–it does what’s needed. It gives a laugh and a funny anecdote for the worker bees stuck on the floor, and freaks out management and security. BRILLIANT!!
I’m not going to say this is inherently lame or anything, it’s an effort and that sort of deserves praise… I just think it’s really not "hilarious". In fact I’m struggling to see any humour in it. Or a point for that matter. Or any intelligence. Might sound harsh but that’s what I think – not trying to put one over on you, but I’d like you to find funny things funny not rubbish things. I recommend Dirty Sanchez for slapstick, Curb Your Enthusiasm or The Office for cringing satire, Family Guy and South Park for all ’round intelligent and cutting comedy, and if you want really enjoyable humour try QI, and My Name Is Earl. I reckon if you watch these you’ll find them really funny, then maybe try funnier stuff next time. If not, I reckon you should try harder, but again that’s just me. Good luck.
p.s. I think they were ‘freaking out’ at the fact anyone would think what you were doing was funny. It’d certainly wobble my faith in humanity. But you fight the power if it amuses you. Grr.
As someone who works at a Best Buy I have to say this was quite entertaining. It would make my month if that had happened in my store. To all the Best Buy employees and other’s who commented on how uncool this was and how they would lose hours over it, Come on! Best Buy makes so much money that I would doubt any business lost over this would even be considered a drop in the bucket!
That being said, all you Best Buy haters out there remember one thing, there are two kinds of Best Buy employees. There are those who work there as a second job or a college job (which I am one of) and there are those who bleed Blue and Yellow and want to make a career of it. So don’t group us all together.
"You are not your job. You are not how much you have in the bank. You are not your khakis."(and blue shirt) -Tyler Durden
Kudos, though I did prefer the McDonolds Bathroom Conciarge
Back when I used to work retail we had a "band of gypsies" come into the store once. I don’t know if they really were gypsies but there were 25 of them together trying to distract us and seemingly trying to steal things. While this Best Buy thing was fun and funny I guess I can also see where the store people were coming from!
This mission was amazing; I had a great time reading about the experiences. I am currently a student at CSU-Pueblo; I recently completed my second year of classes. Reading about the mission was nothing short of phenomenal… Thank You! This totally made my day.
I for one thought it was funny. Sad when people can’t have a sense of humor about these things. I was impressed with the organization, one might expect something like this to get a little chaotic but everyone seemed to stick to the same story. Thanks for the laugh.
Reminds me of the time I unintentionally wore a bright orange shirt to Home Depot. It took me about twice as long as normal to get out of there.
Damn. First digg, now slashdot. This mission got more publicity than NoPants2K6.
I hope next time some of you find yourselves having to pay for bail from your irresponsible activities.
Hi there, IE ppl
What a great thing to do. It makes ppl think, act and asking questions to their selfs. Like a Car Bridge that ist driven by cars in a certain frequency to get the resonance freq, and braking because it does it’s job: let cross cars. U did it the social way. Well kind off :-x
Very interesting were the different Agent descriptions, maybe the most importen thing, if u wheren’t there.
Keep on the good work :D
That was very amusing indeed!
I love this. Absolutely love it.
I generally wear slacks and a polo shirt simply because a) they’re good for work so I own a lot of them, b) they’re pretty comfortable, and c) it fits in in most places. It’s amazing how many people think I work in whatever store I’m shopping in, no matter what the uniform of the store and what colors I’m wearing. It happens most often in book stores, although that may also be because I’ll linger around one section (sci-fi/fantasy) for a long time and shuffle books around on the shelf (looking for hidden books).
I worked for best buy once as part of the group that deployed their nationwide wireless network. The funny thing was that they had codenames for all kinds of thing – customer demographics mostly. Thomas Crown affair must be one of their codenames.
Y’all got slashdotted!
It sounds like a great mission that was executed well and provided laffs all around, but you can imagine what it was like for the security dudes. It’s their JOB to be paranoid, and if I were in their place I’d very definitely be on the lookout for a major theft being covered up by all the distractions. Also, BB could convincingly argue that you were driving away sales, and when you start sucking dollars from anybody in retail, they’re gonna fight to defend their turf. As one of the BB employees who posted here pointed out, every lost sale is less money to pay employees.
Instigating our uniforms… heh, heh, heh.
Reminds me of the times that my boss accidentally wore a red polo and khaki slacks first to Staples, then to Target. Everyone assumed he was the assistant manager.
pretty stupid if you ask me. I hope the cops were not late to other important calls because of your dumb prank. Did you at least offer to pay the community for the police coverage your prank required?
This is way more fun than Saturday A.M. cartoons! Thanks. I wonder what the response would be in Manchester, NH. They would probably call in "The Guard".
Where is the nearest Blockbuster?
With regards to the affect of this prank on BB sales, I say take this as a lesson Best Buy. Make your staffers more approachable and willing to help in a sincere way.
View your customers as an asset and not a potential shop lifter. Think about it! How many of you honest consumers have felt the learing stares of the store security dicks and opted to leave rather than linger. The longer one feels welcome and not badgered in the store the more likely he is to spend. We are all sooo paranoid!
On the whole it was amusing. The description of events was outright funny and the comments by us posters was even more so. I nearly peed when I read this comment from England: 5/03/06
Posted by: Howard Burton
I’m in the UK. No one does this sort of thing here.
Great work. I stopped shopping at Best Buy years ago because of the cult-like authoritarian creepiness and those damn commercials which always protray the consumer as a puppet, moron or some other sucker.
They also followed me around and asked me to leave so i bought the camera i was shopping for at circuit city instead.
I am in the uk. I thought the best buy mission was the best absolutely!! u guys rock!!
Awesome, Where do I sign up for a mission!! LOL
That mission was really funny! And if anyone didn’t think that it was funny, you are way too uptight. No one got hurt, no one broke any laws and everyone was pleasant to the BB cystomers. Pranks like this are great! Keep up the humor, live a little and have some good, clean fun!
Agent Wimpy said that there were a couple of real employees out on the curb smoking. I think that would be a cool mission, to have everyone show up in front of a store dressed similar to the employees and just sit there, talk, smoke, drink, as if on a break. =)
Right clearly it’s not that big a deal to the employees or anything is it, so calls of not being so ‘uptight’ are fair. Why is no-one else pointing out…. IT’S JUST NOT FUNNY. You’re standing there in shirts, looking like staff. Whoopy-shit! That’s not a joke! If you find it funny, please please just go outside and look at the amusing shape some people’s heads are. That’s more funny than this. I mean if you were causing actual carnage in this store, making some sort of point about its service policy, it might be a joke. Albeit a wank one. But if it’s all harmless… god it’s boring…
nothing like disturbing commerce for an un-original nerdy prank. good one! At least you got the Online-Video-Sloths out of the house this year.
But, I do appreciate the effort that went into the whole thing.. was a success in that regard.
The Best Buy prank is going down as one of the coolest pranks ever done. Great job folks!!! :o)
Hmm… "Original" seems to work for Best Buy… :D
I think it was great!!!! I love the whole surreal "Thomas Crown Affair" type situation you created. I would have thoroughly enjoyed being at work that day had I been a BB employee. As far as the people that are making negative comments about this mission go…why don’t you all take a xanax and go on with your boring ass life if you’re so unimpressed.
Thank you for making my day and for a mission well thought out :)
Wicked guys. Power to the people!
You should do a repeat, but next time go in dressed as Walmart (or something suitable that’s close to BB) employees. The cover story should then be that management is having a "share employee day" (for some charity thing or other) and that BB employees should go to their nearest one and that the management there are getting annoyed they haven’t shown up yet…
Bitchin’ good time. Amazing to see so many aimless young people (and remarkably a father) with nothing better to do with their time. So cool!
I think this is one of the most hilarious harmless pranks I’ve ever seen. I really would have loved to participate.
Haha, it sounds like a lot of fun!Better than Mission Impossible 3!!
Excellent prank, way to keep it harmless. <BR><BR>
Dang all the Best Buy managers do have stuff in their bums though…<BR><BR>
An excellent, professional operation,followed by a great After-Action Report. Way to go! Now, if you could just get a group dressed like Immigration agents together and attend an Illegal Alien rally……
"Posted by: M1ek
Did you at least offer to pay the community for the police coverage your prank required?"
<sigh> IE didn’t call the cops, the store management did. This is a problem with our society – too many people react by calling the police over trivial things. It’s no wonder the cops weren’t amused – they were called to deal with something that should have been handled by BB itself – they only needed to be called if there were any actual laws broken – and if there were, it’s up to BB to press charges, not the cops. So don’t go blaming IE for the cops being called – BB management could have handled the whole thing with involving the police, if they had only chose to do so.
You don’t need a bunch of people getting to wear a blue uniform to see that there is a paranoid problem in our society, partly built up by 911. But I’m glad for the people who found it funny that they enjoyed themselves.
I work at a Best Buy in the metro Detroit area…. I would die laughing if you guys had done that in my store! If you’re ever in Detroit….. :D
Intresting, you show up at somone’s workplace and fuck with them and customers. Wow, thats really creative.
I spent a good portion of my high school/college years working retail…where there are more managers standing around trying to look important than there are actual employees. Its pretty hillarious to see them panic when it comes time to actually MANAGE something. Probably even funnier to see $8 an hour security guards think they have more power than they do. Great job “Improv Everywhere”. I am a fan.
Some interesting comments here. Just wanna leave a few of my own…
First off, IE wasn’t wasting police time, they weren’t breaking any laws. It was the managers panicing and overreacting wasting police time.
I love this sort of idea, personally. Quiet, subversive humour in the Real World, it’s fascinating seeing how people react to things just slightly out of whack.
Keep it up IE! Going to have to read about the rest of your missions now, hehe.
obviously it wasn’t just the IE people who were entertained by this. Thousands of people like me have now read about this and really enjoyed it.
I for one applaud you for a successful mission. Only an idiot would think the only people who deserve to be entertained are those on the scene. Plenty of us have been very entertained by reading about this and watching the videos. Guess these morons have never heard of films, documentaries, etc. etc.
Obviously we all have different standards of humour. I find livening up the day of someone working in retail to be worthy and enjoyable. Others don’t.
But I find it silly saying we should or should not enjoy something just because someone else does or does not.
I, for one, find My Name is Earl extremely boring and offensive, so right there I disagree with an earlier comment, but I understand some find it funny. It’d be pretty egotistical of me to say since I find the show stupid, no one else should enjoy it or watch it.
Anyway, good job here, though I do agree something more could have been done to really show everyone this was a joke they could laugh at.
i work for bestbuy (corporate in minnesota) and i stumbled upon this from a link on a video game site. all i really have to say is that this was really pretty clever and funny. it didn’t seem malicious at all, especially since you guys actually helped people in the store when they asked. i think if the store had handled this better it could have been an opporitunity for some very positive press.
Something about being in authority seemingly means losing your humor, being stiff, inflexible, unimmaginative. And so it seems these same people believe high stress, anger, strictness and conformity is the answer to their management dilemna.
This mission shows the failure of management to make correct decisions, again.
Accolades to the kids who pulled this off, especially to the older gentleman and his two daughters. Wonderful! Flexible! Well planned! Imaginative! Fun!
Keep up the good work!!
what you did was not in the slightest constructive, clever or funny. You all obviously have way too much time on your hands and really need to "get a life"
What a waste. Can you all think of something positive to do with all your time and energy?
Couldn’t stop laughing!!!!!!!!!!!
Job well done. :)
maybe next time have a few plain clothes friends with the blue shirts to stroll around and shop. They could be "offended" when their partners clothing choice was questioned or that they were told not to talk to the blue shirt.
If the security guards were preventing you from leaving and you hadn’t broken any laws, that is ‘false arrest’ and very much illegal on their part. If you were so inclined, you could file a lawsuit against the store for that.
"pretty stupid if you ask me. I hope the cops were not late to other important calls because of your dumb prank."
If Gnu Yuk cops aren’t bright enough to know that a non-violent tresspass complaint should get low priority response, then I’d say they’re the ones who are "pretty stupid".
Brilliant. I am glad The Man didn’t have anything on you guys. Really enjoyed reading about the mission!
Your stunt proves that people do not think before acting.
In Indiana there is a old car show and fair with a James Dean festival. You soon learn to never, ever wear a red jacket when going to this event. If you wear anything of the sort you will be asked over and over if you plan to enter the look alike contest. Even at 40 years old and 200 pounds I was asked.
Keep poking the masses with a stick, maybe they will wake up.
"nothing like disturbing commerce for an un-original nerdy prank."
As I read it, customers were helped who wouldn’t have been helped as quickly by the paid employees, and others were put together with employees who could help them without having to track them down themselves. How exactly was commerce disturbed?
About 5 years ago, I was running errands with my mom and i got in the car wearing a red polo shirt and khaki skirt. I asked my mother where we were heading. She said "Staples and Target". Needless to say, I know how the agents feel in this mission! It was fun pretending to work in those stores, and it would have been even better had there been 50 more of me!
Since you had a group of 80+ you should’ve designated a few agents to wear incospicuous "regular" clothes and do some of the camera work. They would draw less heat from the authorities and allow you to better document the events.
Several people are making the comment posted above, so I thought I’d clarify: all photographers and video people were wearing normal clothes, with the exception of Agent Todd who only started taking photos after everyone else was kicked out.
I would have loved to see awhat was happening in the security room where they watch everything on the monitors. They must have been going crazy.
This is great. Although admittedly I think I would have personally gotten rather alarmed on knowing the cops had been summoned. Perhaps next time it would be worth getting a lawyer’s advice on what your rights actually are in a situation like this, to the point of having a printed copy of a canned response…? Food for thought.
That said, I almost had my own personal experience like this. One day I happened to throw on a red t-shirt, a pair of khakis and a black leather belt. Shortly after that, my wife, son and I went to Target. We did a bit of shopping there, but shortly before I left, I realized I was looking rather similar to the rest of the employees. Once I pointed it out to my wife, she had a good laugh. We got out of there before I embarassed myself. Had someone stopped and asked me for help, I would have likely told them I didn’t work there.
As a former Best buy employee, I found this hilarious. Nobody was hurt, nothing illegal was done and a bunch of stiff shirts freaked out for a short while. Awesome.
Except for the NYPD I think it was hilarious. But you guy’s really need to get a hobby.
I just want to say that you guys are so funny!!!! I work at a Best Buy in Washington and this is funny as hell
That is one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen!
"You guys need to get a life/job/hobby/etc.."
Correct me if I’m wrong, but I would hazard a guess that a very high percentage of the people present at the mission have jobs, and I <i>know</i> that they all have a life. And this is their hobby. If you don’t like it then find some other site to fill your time with. Or perhaps you should, dare I suggest it, get a hobby that means you don’t have to spend your time reading this?
In my opinion, not IE’s most comedic work, but certainly thought provoking.
I wore a green polo and khakis in a Dicks Sporting Goods store once and had a blast. Im glad someone is here to take it to the next level. I can’t wait to get involved.
In response to the the overwhelming pressure from comment posters, I’ve decided to quit IE and take up stamp collecting and bulding miniature ships in bottles.
I work at Best Buy, and although that would have probably pissed me off if I was working there, the fact that it happened to another store makes it HILARIOUS. Great job.
P.S. You should get Circuit City.
Not sure what the "prank" was as customers were being helped, but from personal experience I can tell you that you don’t have to worry about being exact in your choice of colors.
I have a blue cotton vest with "Mobius" written on the back, and no matter where I go, people always ask if I work there. It doesn’t matter that in a place like Home Depot, the employees wear orange, either. I still get asked. If they wear red, a different blue, or even shirts (not vests at all), I still get asked. It seems like people assume that a blue vest means you work at whatever store you’re in…perhaps it’s the "Walmart mentality" taking hold.
Hey, I thought this was a brilliant mission.
Mind you, there’s a fine line between this mission and something a lot more controversial, like "let’s all wear turbans on the subway!" which would probably get you a lot more attention than you’d like
This is great…..but what would have been totally priceless if a real customer came into the store who just happened to be wearing a blue polo shirt and got harrassed by the staff, when they guy/girl truly didn’t know what they were talking about…and you got that on video !
Everyone should have gotten in line and bought M&M;s or one specific type of candy. There is nothing like 80 blue shirted lined up at the cashier.
And all this was for…?
BRILLIANT!!! You guys have no idea how much I *hate* Best Buy. I used to work there a while back, and I had saved up like 7 of my work shirts and thought it would be funny to send a bunch of my friends in there with my shirts. It would have been even better if you had done this on the day after Thanksgiving. There are sooo many customers in the store during that time, and having 80+ extra "lazy" employees would make a store lose sooo much money. I would love to see Best Buy go out of business.
Next time, split up the shirts between yellow, black and blue.
I would have asked for a dozen lawyers or so to join you so that you can sue them when they ask you to leave simply because you had a blue shirt on. You weren’t claiming to be an employee, nor were you stealing. The best thing they could get you with was loitering since you were just standing there.
I would have been really rude to the customers that were rude to you. That helps to build the negative experience for them at Best Buy and hopefully prevents them from shopping there.
The repeated "Can I help you?" line is what they ask you to do (as a real employee) when you suspect someone is stealing. They hope it scares you into putting the item back.
Best Buy has no undercover employees. Their motto is "Theft prevention, not apprehension."
BTW, for some future fun, if someone is talking on the phones in there on the loud speaker, you can turn it off by picking up a phone and dialing 75. To make an announcement, dial 60
I had a good chuckle on reading this mission. But still like the idea’s behind "Look up more" and "McDonald’s Bathroom Attendant" more as ‘in-store’ missions.
Seems like back-up (read: cops) are called pretty quick in NYC. Should try such things here in The Netherlands, i’m sure people would only laugh about it.
Your missions are an
inspiration to us all. I’d join but I can’t keep a straight face.One peice of advice, make sure that you are not armed when performing, things tend to get hairy when armed.
as a former employee of a Best Buy on the west coast, i think you’ve uncovered something very, very valid.
Best Buy brainwashes its employees!
what you were doing wasn’t really a "prank" as most would define the word. you weren’t causing any kind of disturbance, nor were you damaging anything. it was merely a public performance, albiet a very, very funny one.
yet those employees were so loyal to the company machine that they actually had the audacity to take personal offense! "civil rights" my booty.
keep up the good work!
i dont know maybe its me but i didnt find this very funny. i thought i had a good sense of humor but it seems you just aggravated hard working best buy employees, customers who just looking to shop and the police who you seemed very beligerant to. like other people have posted on this site it seems like the only people who had a good time were the people who participated in this "prank". it just seems like it wasnt a harmless prank and you probally ruined a couple of peoples day. other than that it was good nobody got arrested and it looked very well planned. thanks
In the end you guys pulled it off. That was just rolls-on-floor-laughing material. I loved the video clips of all the agents describing how they went about on this mission. I especially enjoyed the encounter that Agent Natty had with that guy whom asked him to leave.
"Why are you asking me to leave? I didn’t do anything wrong."
"There’s just too many of you guys around here."
"I was like what? Asians?"
Hilarious, top notch .
I’m think you guys are brilliant! I want to be a part of this when you get onto the west coast. If I ever ran into Agent Reeves (hottie!) I would ask her to marry me! I hope she is single! What other pranks has she done? Good job everyone!
Your group goes into a private business to execute your silly prank, tee-hee, and confuse and potentially scare store employees, confuse customers, and make police waste their time.
You narcissists have no life.
Loved this mission!
Please come to Pittsburgh and do the same thing at Home Depot in East Liberty, because hardly anybody works there.
You all should have had a spare shirt, so you could sneak back in again, or all suddenly pop out in blue shirts!!
I’m trying to figure out if "best buy sucks" comments are for real or just sarcasm. If the former, I don’t think thats what IE was looking for.
"I would have been really rude to the customers that were rude to you. That helps to build the negative experience for them at Best Buy and hopefully prevents them from shopping there."
I’m so glad someone sent me a link! Its so silly that its perfection! My mood has been brightened to see people doing this. We need a mission in Houston! :) thank you!
Another first timer here and I just wanted to say that this was an awesome improv! I used to work for BB, I go to the that BB all the time, and my old manager got transferred to that store. (haha on him) This mission is hillarious and anyone who doesn’t think so or says anything like "get a job/hobby/life." needs to get themselves a "life" because they obviously they don’t understand what it feels like to gather many different people for a common cause. (no matter what the cause is). Organizing an event like this is like a victory in itself.
Although I can agree that some agents should I have initially stated that they don’t work at BB if they didn’t have sufficient knowledge of the product they were being asked about. But if they did then go ahead and do your thing. There is no difference between this and a customer helping out a customer. I walk around the computer section alot and because I am "asian" I get alot of questions. The only difference is that I’m not wearing the BB uniform.
Being that it was a Sunday, there should have been more than enough employees in that store to help any incoming customers. Rather than stalking anyone with a blue shirt on, they should have been more focused on helping the customer. Because supposed "golden rule" for any BB employee is that the customer always comes first. The BB employee SHOULD have been the FIRST person to greet the customer (not just with a "Can I help you?"). If anything this mission showed how UNDERTRAINED and HOT TEMPERED this store is in general. There was no reason why the police should have been called and there is absolutely no reason why a manager would have to chase someone outside of the building.
In the end no one was hurt, no laws were broken, and nothing but the pride of that store was damaged. This was good clean fun in my opinion. I’ll be a supporter from now on. A+ and a ::thumbs up::
Intersting escapade and hilarious, but I’m not sure of the point of it all. These these same ~50 dedicated people could have spent their time more wisely helping the elderly or needy, working in food lines, or other similar charitable work. It would have been arguably more satisfying to them while also producing tangible results.
I was astounded at this selfish stunt. "Agents" NIcholson and Carlson are using the store’s merchandise, with no intent of buying it. Don’t they realize this is a form of dishonesty? They are too selfish to think a real customer might want to look at those display cameras. I have to wonder, where is your sense of right and wrong?
And this idea from a "stranger" by email? Yeah, I can understand why noone wants to take credit for this. Mess with people, run away, and say it was someone else’s idea.
"Posted by: What’s so fun?
I was astounded at this selfish stunt. "Agents" NIcholson and Carlson are using the store’s merchandise, with no intent of buying it. Don’t they realize this is a form of dishonesty? They are too selfish to think a real customer might want to look at those display cameras. I have to wonder, where is your sense of right and wrong?"
Were you there? Did you yourself want to test out and buy the cameras they were using? Did you hear a customer complain to you or to an employee of the store? If not then stop judging them and making assumptions.
It’s not like they went up to customers and insulted them. If they thought they could help then they tried! It’s more than I can say about some of the employees in that store who turn their backs to customers in need.
Best. Mission. Ever.
Hilarious! This mission was posted on a Wash Post blog as the prank of the year, and turned me on to your site. Too funny!
I always find it funny that people take time to write comments like "Get a life" or "you should get out more" when in fact these statements can very accurately apply to them……hmmmm inetersting eh? Anyways, I loved this mission and appreciate what you guys are trying to do. Thanks!! :)
I don’t see the humor in lying. Why? You lie you are "waiting for a friend". One person lies to officers when he says he doesn’t know the other participants and doesn’t know what’s going on. This kind of thing doesn’t fly where I come from. Like someone else said, you should do something really worthwhile, like volunteer work to help those less fortunate than you. That will produce more fun for others than this ridiculous escapade to someone else’s place of employment.
It just kept getting better the further down the page I read. Great job guys! :)
"Why are you asking me to leave? I didn’t do anything wrong."
"There’s just too many of you guys around here."
"I was like what? Asians?"
I seriously cracked up at that one, lmao. :)
XD You should go into Target and start up a whole Red v. Blue war.
Great idea! First problem…Best Buy employees aren’t very helpful. Your team outshined the employees.
Okay, now I have to wear a blue shirt and khakis when I go to buy my WiFi card.
Pure Genius! I wish I’d been a shopper there.
By far the best stunt/prank ever!
From the mission report:
‘"Simmons: "I’m just here to shop with my wife."
Employee: "Yeah, you and your 50 friends?"
Simmons: "I don’t know anybody else here."
I told him, "I’m only wearing what I wore this morning,” and walked away.
A little while later, an older woman with a handful of products walked past me at one point muttering to herself, "Everyone in this goddamned store is wearing a blue shirt and nobody knows a thing!"’
Liars. You know, stores hire security people for a reason. It’s mainly to prevent shoplifting. So you see, security is distracted by your mission because they don’t know what’s really going on. God forbid you would have asked the store management for permission to do what you did. But we all know what they’re answer would have been. You think the store appreciates someone coming in and frustrating their customers? The problem is you people can’t think beyond a five-foot radius.
I loved this!!! Just goes to prove how mindless people (consumers)can be when they get into that glassy-eyed shop till they drop daze; they’ll approach, & often abuse, anyone they assume is an employee (I once had a similar experience while waiting outside a restaurant. I was wearing a black skirt & white blouse & 2 patrons walked towards the door. The guy said to me "You ain’t making any tips standing out here, honey. Go get us a table." I replied "Follow me." & walked inside with them in tow. I said to the hostess "This asshole wants a table." & I walked back out side to meet my friend. Imagine the look of shock & humiliation on their faces when the hostess seated us at a lovely table by the window after I told her the story!).
I found it smarmily (is THAT a word!?!) funny that no one noticed the gorgeous blonde (well, aren’t we all) with the camera. Again, proves how much people assume & judge based on external appearances.
Ironic that the BB people suddenly had a "law/rule" against filming people in their store, considering all the surveillance cameras & demo cameras on the display cases. Why would they be allowed to video people but the IEers couldn’t. When asked "Do I come into your house & film you?" the response I would have given is "Do you personally own Best Buy?" (equivalent to "who lives here", but the employees stupid question implied ownership.)
Great gag. Loved reading all the agents comments & had a great laugh. Keep up the good work!!! Keep ’em guessing.
this is awesome! thanks for a great laugh!
Please come to Mpls and mess with us! I guarantee you’d make the news! I would so be there. Your missions keep me laughing for hours.
Sorry – I just didn’t find this particularly amusing. Obviously some people think it’s hilariously funny, but maybe they don’t get out much. On the flip side I’m not offended by your so-called "mission" – my limited experience with Best Buy is that their customer service sucks anyway. I guess I can appreciate the irony of the temporary improvement this seemed to provide to Best Buy’s customer service reputation.
But overall, I just don’t see the point.
Hey I’m in Alaska and I saw this amd recognize Agent Reeves she used to be the anchorwoman here! Cool to see her in New York! and me and my friends miss seeeing her on the news. Cool stunt, you should do it in Anchorage.
HAHA wow i didnt even know this orgnization exsisted, I have done this before on a diffrent scale, just a couple friends in matching attire went to a concert, with wireless headsets, actually many times people asked for directions, and a lady acutally asked me to see if I could retrive her camera from her car, and that she would buy me a beer, LOL a free car, and camera, luckly we were only there for the concert.
This is so hysterical. I live near Chicago, and my friend and I did something similar 2 years ago. We were shopping at Best Buy, and noticed the phone kept ringing and ringing in a particular department. After a while, it got annoying, so my friend answered it. The guy on the other end asked her several questions (for which she did not know the answer). After about 2 minutes, an actual Best Buy employee came and kicked her off the phone, saying "You can’t answer the phone if you don’t work here." She replied, "Well at least I answered the phone! Nobody else here was!"
I loved this prank. If you guy’s ever do this in Canada – try one of any of the 450 Canadian Tire store’s. I work in a CT store and the employee’s wear red shirts and black pants, managers black shirts and black pant’s.
In fact it’s very similar to Target stores in the States, so you’d have a lot of fun with 50+ people dressed up as Canadian Tire employee’s.
I’m sitting here in Sydney – working hard and laughing uncontrollably. Brilliant, funny, clean and safe fun. You guys are gold. I was in NY last year and hope to return. Maybe I can try to time it with one of your missions and add to the internationality.
Maybe if you all bought something like batteries, you could stay for a really long time.
Was there a point to this? After forcing myself through two pages of mind numbing text, I stopped looking for one.
Reading about this prank made my day!
I worked for Best Buy for 4 years, just until I could finish college and get a real job.
I hated retail, and I hated dealing with customers, so I would have been only too happy to let some random blue shirt help customers so I didn’t have to.
And even though I didn’t work in NY, I can just imagine my former pretentious managers and overzealous yellow shirts acting in the same paranoid way.
I just don’t understand why so many employees got upset. It’s not like Best Buy provides their grunts with decent training or decent pay. I would have have been delighted to see upper management squirm.
I’m always amazed the polarizing effect this improv has. People either love it or are seemingly very bothered by it. You have to wonder if some people are just afraid of having a dose of surrealism in their daily lives.
I just read the whole mission, and I loved it–he report, the videos, and the fan mail. It’s amazing how many people post comments that you guys need to either get a life or do something more constructive with your time. If they have such high standards for how people spend time, why don’t they do something better with their time instead of logging on to a website they’re not interested in? Why don’t they go out and cure cancer or reconstruct New Orleans? Logging on here and reading the reports takes time. The fact that they have time to visit this site and post comments saying that they don’t like logging on and reading about what you do, that they’re not entertained and that therefore you need to get a life and do something constructive, just boggles the mind!
Wow. A lot of comments.
I usually don’t say much, I prefer to observe – like my photography. However, I was specifically ‘called out’ in one of the earlier comments and I feel inclined to comment as well.
the remark –
Posted by: What’s so fun?
I was astounded at this selfish stunt. "Agents" NIcholson and Carlson are using the store’s merchandise, with no intent of buying it. Don’t they realize this is a form of dishonesty? They are too selfish to think a real customer might want to look at those display cameras. I have to wonder, where is your sense of right and wrong?"
my story and response –
I showed up about an hour before to scope out the store. It had a few people and a long line at the register. I walked around the large store to get a feel for it. I then purchased a memory card for one of my cameras. I then went to meet with all of the other agents.
I was the first in the store. I started looking around the cameras. As a photographer I like to be knowledgeable about many different types and styles of cameras. There was a station with 20+ cameras and 2 other customers and 3 employees. A very nice girl asked if she could help me. I asked her some very specific questions because I am unhappy with my current pocket camera. She said she didn’t know the answers but she would bring over someone who did. The other employee she brought over was busy chatting with another employee. He came over and we discussed the plusses and minuses of a few different cameras, he showed me a few things and I taught him a few things about his cameras as well. I took some pictures with my camera and showed him and then I asked if I could put my card in the Best Buy cameras. He said yes. I thanked him for his help and told him that I was going to fool around with the cameras. He told me to go ahead and, "ask me if you have any questions". He went back to talking with his coworkers.
I am subtle and I am respectful. I was not in anyone’s way. I did purchase something. I may have even bought a camera had there been one of the right price and style.
I shop for cameras, often. If you have ever been in B and H on a friday morning – you know something about a crowded photo store… this was Nothing like that.
My sense of right and wrong bathes in a sea of logic, conversation, and observation… it is not quick to judge, but it is quick to find irony.
Have a great day. Make someone smile.
Very good, liked it alot. Bring it to England. Kind regards Kylie Brown
Way too funny .. This is great! I almost wish I lived in NY :->
Keep Tweeking everone
Hmm seems like the initial flood of comments is dying off… just wanted to say, hilarious! Very nicely executed.
You guys better come to LA!
This kind of reminded me of something my friends and I did. We went to a Target store and found a customer wearing a red shirt. Not red like a Target uniform, more like crimson. The shirt was even striped. So, we definately should not have mistaken him for an employee. But the six of us took turns asking him for assistance. At first, he rejected helping anyone but by the time the last one asked for help, he walked all the way across the store to help him find something. He had a heck of a time figuring out what was going on. Imagine what he would have been like if there were sixty different people instead of just six!
Anyway, there is my suggestion for another scheme. Keep up the good work of spreading happiness and the joy of improvisation to everyone.
What a great job! As an ex-Best Buy employee, this was hilarious. There are two classes of employees there, the first is the brain washed go-go Best Buy and the others are the ones that are there part time going to school or a second job. It pathetic that there are those people that post to this site angry or disturbed by this prank. Life is too short to be bothered by things like this. I just happened to stumble onto your site and quite impressed. I’ll be looking for other great stunts.
You guys are awsome!!
Good job considering the limitations on time, security, etc. I just realized that the two blatant targets for this sort of thing (Target and Best Buy) are both headquartered here in the Minneapolis area. I haven’t quite divined what that means, but just food for thought. Keep it up!
yes yes yes…top blag, im from england, the practical joke capital of the universe, and i think you pulled it off to a tee…well done America
Keep up the good work!
This is my first time coming to your site and this was a really funny mission
I’m a Best Buy employee and that would of been the FUNNIEST thing to see ever… my managers would of probably freaked out… but I would of been laughing and clapping… pretty impressive to pull that off…
Bottom line – you guys didn’t hurt anyone physically/mentally.. . it was all in good fun.. and I got a laugh out of it…
I usually love reading IE mission reports. I love the idea of challenging peoples’ concepts of reality in fun, and harmless ways.
I liked the concept of this mission at first, but the more I read about this one, the more uncomfortable I became. It seemed as if this prank really made the unsuspecting store employees uneasy as they never really got the joke.
Overall, I think this mission struck me as a little too spooky to be enjoyable by those not in the know.
It seemed to me that there was no reality challenging "payoff" for those witnessing the event.
thank you for making me laugh my ass off… i work at a best buy in OH, and i know all of us (lower level) employees would have been enjoying it just as much as your agents…but i would have loved to see our managers freak out just like theirs did..
kinda of wished i work in NY.
I work at a Best Buy in another state- and I too found this very funny. I could totally see the same reaction in my store… people would freak out. Nice job- I’d love to see it happen in our store.
There have been some comments here about the lack of a punchline to this event. I think that it is clear what the point is.
We all take too many things with too little thought. We don’t think about what we do. We assume, we jump to conclusions, we are impatient. There is nothing wrong with that, but it is humorous and instructive to have our assumptions debunked and exposed.
I would guess that the employee manual for Best Buy says nothing about the use of the uniform as a security measure. The manual probably says (as do most manuals for such stores) that wearing the uniform is a convenience for the customer. It lets the customer immediately recognize a person who is in a position to help him.
The fact that they have not imagined that their uniform would become chic and that suddenly there would be hundreds of people all wearing the same colors is not a failure on their part but rather than be taken as a prank should point out some of the unfounded assumptions that they may be making.
Certainly this was a funny event and I don’t want to take away from the pure joy of laughter, but if you think that this is a bit of culture-hacking to no purpose, then think about the number of people who wear OR rags or medical chic, or how easy it is to buy mail-order badges and uniforms. Shouldn’t we be paying a little more attention to the people we’re dealing with rather than just taking them on faith.
I’m not surprised that the managers freaked-out. They were jolted out of a complacency that allowed them the luxury of not thinking who was behind that shirt. Not only were they confused by the additional shirts, I’d be willing to bet that they were having trouble telling who the real employees were because, in fact, they were just bodies. It would have been interesting to line up all the jammers and employees either all in uniform or all in civvies to see how many managers could actually pick out a full set of legitimate BB employees.
This is an example of the best type of humor, the kind that shocks, titillates, but also informs. Frankly, the only thing harmed by this was the reputation of the BB management training program.
I work at Best Buy and found this to be great. Actually posting from work right now.. Great way to start the day.
What i find funny was you guys did a better job at customer service then they did.
Yes, how titillating to shock a stranger! *titter*
Good one! I think it would have been even better for some of them to meet up with regularly dressed friends in the store. The friend could be shopping with the blue shirt asking questions about products (like I would ask my husband about PS2 or XBOX stuff) and the blue shirt could “help” the friend. Then in all innocence they could say they don’t work there, they’re just shopping with a friend and happen to have on a blue shirt.
Lol, you guys rock! I work at a Best Buy in NC, and I can imagine how confused those employees were! Lol…I would pay to see my managers freak out like that!
"you’re gonna have to leave. There’s to many of you here." "What? Asians?"
^Funneyest thing ever!
(I know, i have spelling issues)
I have worked at BB for 3 years and I think this is HILARIOUS!!!! You guys are right, best buy managers are brainwashed to be uptight. I just have a question, what made you do it?
Incredible. That is hilarious.
Creative? Yes. I agree with all of the other employees because I am one myself. Stupid stunts like that do drive away customers, and though we don’t make commission, the amount of money the store makes directly impacts the amount of hours I get. I hope you aren’t trying to take money away from people like me who are busting their ass trying to pay their way through college. And by the way, the store is private property with public access, so if they ask you to leave and you don’t, it is trespassing (i had a problem with a psycho customer before who threatened me).
I just hope you’ll reconsider doing this again in any other retail store– like I said, the idea is funny, but you are truly messing with peoples incomes and livelihood.
I seriously doubt this mission damaged anyones income or livelihood, please, let’s get real and just have a good time.
I haven’t read all the comments, but I don’t get the whiners. First of all, from the agent reports, it appeared that they were actually HELPING the customers (at least they were offering more help than I’VE ever received in a Best Buy!), so how could they possibly have been costing the store any sales? That’s just a ridiculous assertion, and those that make it need to see if they can find a sense of humor on sale next time they visit a Best Buy (but for God’s sake don’t wear a blue shirt, or you might get arrested!).
I’ve worked many retail jobs and one statement in this article troubles me: "Two security guards made sure I didn’t leave."
They can stand next to the doors and look as threatening as they like, however physical detainment or even just blocking the exit is against the law.
I also admired the agent who brought his daughters; he seemed really savvy, and clearly the three of them have a great relationship. It was very touching.
Yet I must say as I read the full report I started to get this sense of dread that people would start getting detained or arrested, and this would be at most mildly traumatic for the kids and at least just very difficult to explain to any other family members.
Nevertheless, their inter-generational bonding was probably worth it and I’m glad no one got in trouble.
I work at a Best Buy in massachusetts, and honestly this whole mission makes me a little mad. The fact is I work 8 hours a day, taking enough bullshit from customers, I beleive if somthing like this happend in my store, I would prob push for the arrest of all of you. Managment reserves the right to refuse admittance to any person for any reason at all. You’re lucky you weren’t arrester
If they had all been arrested it would have been some premium entertainment. You gotta lighten up their Chief. You sound like a killjoy.
So, as an ex-employee I was pretty amused. I thought I’d share it with all my friends who still work there (I’m friends with ALOT of people from the store), but apparently most have already seen it because this page was linked on the Best Buy (unofficial employee rant page) livejournal.
I do agree with some of the current employees that it sucked because it potentially decreased sales (and therefore labor dollars– that’s how it works there– it SUCKS). If they didn’t decrease sales they probably increased returns since most people didn’t know what they were talking about and admitted to bs-ing their way through a "sale". Which, by the way, also affects how the managers are paid– the better the store does the more likely they are to get bonuses which they heavily rely on because base pays not so hot.
The picture of the girl that "doesn’t" look like a best buy employee actually looks typical of people that I used to work with. Just, no hats at work.
Best Buy has a personality test to get hired. We’re all pretty much very alike. It’s scary.
The managers are complete jerks. They got that position BECAUSE of that. Typically the managers are very cold, indifferent, and generally don’t care about their employees unless they are kiss asses and/or are great at sales.
Finally, the whole paging thing isnt true– the numbers are different for every store.
I work at a BBY and can see this thing from both points of view. But since I need to work there until I graduate from college I hope that something positive comes out of this. BBY starts to pay attention to its customers like the corporate bigwigs say we do. I am almost embarrassed to admit I work there after hearing some of the things people said to your group, but had you done this at my store, the management would have probably freaked out as well. I thought it was an interesting idea but very little point. I like some of your other missions better.
Oh my god! That is the COOLEST thing I have ever read! Do you guys have a UK branch?! x
WOW! Pure genious, when i read this i was astounded, how cool and creative and innocent, hahahah, if you dont mind i’m gonna think up something similar to this stunt to do on my own! Wow!
by the way anyone who is angered or upset by this stunt needs to get a life, clean the sand from out your crack and laugh once in a while, it’ll make your life a lot better
Reading about this mission was my introduction to IE, and I greatly enjoyed everyones stories! Even more so, I enjoyed going back and reading the past missions. Thank you so much for the entertainment!
However, I have to agree with those that urge IE members to consider, in future missions which might be considered disruptive (intentionally or otherwise) that agents be instructed to fully comply with any request to leave. It’s not tresspassing until they ask you, but once they have…your improv just became, however unfortunately, illegal.
Finally, a big ‘Oy!’ at the various comments trolls. <Soapbox> There is never a point in airing a negative comment that isn’t, at a minimum, politely phrased or better yet contains specific points to be addressed, other than pointing out to the world at large that one is insufficiently cultured and that others should take whatever steps are necessary to correct this. </Soapbox>
"But the mission wasn’t about the conflict. The point was to bring some fun to unsuspecting people in an ordinarily mundane environment."
VERY well said, Agent Shafer. It deserved repeating.
yo! the whole thing was hilarious… i mean just imagine the comfusion the employees would of suffered. yes.. its kinda cruel but its so worth it cause its too funny. as for everyone who wrote a negative comment. it just shows how you have NO life, or sense of humor… its just games stop cryin about it. And as for that comment about how there were too many "asians" i think that was hilarious. GOOD JOB IE. YOu guys should visit Baltimore.
You guys are genius’!!
I was recently kicked out of the local Best Buy while wearing beige kakhis and a blue shirt. Now I actually understand why. Kudos to you for putting this together, and shame on the Best Buy drones for allowing this kind of mentality to breed in the first place.
"Improv Everywhere causes scenes of chaos and joy in public places. "
I don’t think you fulfilled the ‘joy’ part of your mission statement. The fact that the company had a code word for a behavior – dressing alike to facilitate a robbery/shoplifting – should be a clue that it is not paranoia if they (shoplifters) are out to get you. Note, a recent story about similary dressed thiefs: http://www.neworleanscitybusiness.com/UpToTheMinute.cfm?recID=4912 That’s a sad situation even if it seems like a humorous occurance. Note that they have armed shopkeepers down there now, they do lock folks in and all just to save a few thousands of dollars of merchandise each week. The concern is real for management/security and not likely to bring levity to their workday.
It was mentioned by those who had worked at BB that they try to prevent thefts, not apprehend suspects; that is to protect the employees and customers. Remember the couple of incidents where guards trying to apprehend a thief in the parking lot of a store got shot?
Your prank was not funny nowadays. I want my security people and management to think seriously when a group suddenly seems to appear deliberately dressed similarly to employees.
What about folks with cameras hidden in boxes, surreptitiously (spelling, http://www.dictionary.com to win!) filming? There are pervs on the internet who do that.
"…then I asked if I could put my card in the Best Buy cameras. He said yes. I thanked him for his help and told him that I was going to fool around with the cameras. He told me to go ahead…"
That was clever, Agent Nicholson. That would allow you to claim that you had permission to do what was being done with the instore cameras. Good to set it up so that on at least one point you can claim legal behavior. How would that fly with others? Did you advise them to do the same or would your ‘agents’ have been liable for something that you covered yourself from? I appreciate that you do respond to comments directed at you and look forward to the response.
One of your agents was asked about hanging around the children’s section too long. Why? Think maybe the reality of child molesters might have been part of the problem? Just another instance of this prank causing your ‘agents’ to mimic anti-social behavior and negating any joy for folks other than those ‘agents’.
Think it over for the next time. Watch out for others inspired by this to try it themselves. See how much joy it brings to the world.
Think it through the next time you consider an event.
"Pervs on the internet"? I wasn’t aware they targeted department stores.
Anyway, I got joy out of this mission, so I say they succeeded. People are overthinking this way too much. To be accused of being a robber or molestor just for wearing a specific colour of clothing is madness!
And what is all this talk about it not being funny "nowadays"? Maybe it’s because people have started taking everything too seriously and lost their sense of humour. Are we not allowed to have fun anymore because everyone has become way too suspicious of others?
I consider this an ingenious social experiment, and YOU, so-called "WiseOldDude", have just demonstrated the reaction that shows what’s wrong with the world. If you’re so concerned about internet perverts and molestors, why don’t you go track them down instead of crapping all over people who are just trying to have a little innocent fun and make people laugh? Clearly you didn’t notice how many BB employees got a kick out of this prank, and how many hundreds of people are posting on here saying it was hilarious.
tompeters: in reply to your post on retailworker.com… BestBuy did not make a big fuss over this stunt…most ppl didn’t even know about it….and no it was not even remotely mentioned in the co.’s internal mag. keep your hopes up…lol
I work at Best Buy and this is some of the funniest sh** that I’ve seen anyone do. You guys are great. Keep at it. I’m refering you guys to some people that might want to donate.
…and the asian comment… HILLARIOUS!!! Again, great work.
Anon, Sorry if I’m being too serious.
(forefinger and thumbs touch, to make a circle, other fingers extended. Invert hands and put circles over eyes as if it were classes, elbows raised like wings… "Dignity at all costs! WhoopWhoop!"
That image silly enough for you?
Now on to serious matters, like humor and its application in a chaotic fashion. The shark thing was a funny bit. It was very unlikely that anyone would misconstrue a shark running around acampus.
Note that on some of the missions the guys keep getting told ‘you need a license to…" like with the mime thing. It was funny, but they have laws about the activity being mimiced. Also, if you try to do some spontaneous miming at a place like Key West SunSet Celebration you will get the cops on you sooo fast as that activity is the livelihood of the street performers. they do not take kindly to others getting in their turf. Just like the comment made about this one where the agents cost someone, and BB some sales or the benefit of sales made. It was a lose/lose situation for the employees (which managers are also) and BB. You brough ‘joy’ to a few employees and to yourselves at the expense of aggravated management, customers and the cops. Not cool, not funny, not ‘joyous’.
Regarding the pervs – Even CSI has had at least one episode with a guy in a mall taking upskirt photos.
As for ‘nowadays’ sorry if radicals who murder thousands causes a crimp in your happiness. Sorry if the reality of people ignoring the facts that robbers and molesters exist and take advantage of the unaware. Chaos is not always funny, it is not always joyful.
Chaos affects different people in different ways.
This comments page is a fine example of Chaos. There is nothing settled or oderly in the responses, and you don’t know how the next person will react to what was shown. That part is cool.
The idea of IE is fine, but not every idea comes across so innocently. That was why Agent Nicholson made a point to be in early and get ‘permission’ to put his card in the camera. He was set up to explain to management or the cops if they complained about what he had done. There was no innocence in that; it was a setup to avoid the expected outrage toward the behavior.
I like the basic idea, some of the missions are very cool and funny. Others are just.. not.
"The fact that the company had a code word for a behavior – dressing alike to facilitate a robbery/shoplifting"
"Thomas Crown Affair" is not a code word–it was someone’s joke. At BBY, we do have code words for when people are trying to screw us and that’s not one of them.
As an employee who spends most of her time in the warehouse, I thought this was great. I’m not extremely knowledgeable about any specific product on the floor (I tend to sell people what I own, if sell I must) and neither are most of the people who work with me in the warehouse. We’re required to wear the blue polos, but we wear black pants and we don’t have nametags…clearly even these subtle differences aren’t caught by customers. If this had happened in my store, I would’ve spent the entire time you were there laughing my butt off. As for people whining about loss of rev, shut your pie holes. These people, for the most part, sound like they were doing hand to’s and helping customers when they could while actual employees weren’t being zoned, weren’t paying attention, weren’t doing their jobs.
I don’t know, but that sounds like an INCREASE in sales to me.
And that old woman talking about all the people in blue shirts and nobody knowing anything…I hear that a lot even without IE flooding my location.
"Security guards and managers started talking to each other frantically on their walkie-talkies and headsets. "Thomas Crown Affair! Thomas Crown Affair!," one employee shouted. They were worried that were using our fake uniforms to stage some type of elaborate heist. "I want every available employee out on the floor RIGHT NOW!" "
Doesn’t sound like a jest to me, but I have no discernable sense of humor, apparently. Note that it was an agent’s report that made the supposition about what ‘Thomas Crown Affair’ meant, not mine.
The employees may not have been great but from Agent Nicholson’s description one fellow did help him, and then went back to chatting with his co-workers. After this began the employees may have been a bit distracted by having so many folks dressed like them in the store, some even ‘helping customers’ and some irritating them. That woman may have taken the comment, "I don’t work here." to have been a brush-off and that was why she was annoyed.
I think it a bit rude of you to tell folks to ‘shut their piehole’ when all they did was provide info about what the floor operation is like and how disruption does adversely affect real people. Please note that I’ve tried to be polite while discussing this, please take my example to heart and pass on the politeness to others.
Joy and Chaos to you all! *hugs* :)
I pondered a revisit to a Best Buy. Next time get the group to bring a yellow top and a black top and arrange an influx of the three colours to totally confuse the staff!
Well done on the stunt, it was great fun reading about!
Well Done!! The only thing I would’ve done differently would be… When customers asked for help, tell them that you’re just on your 15 minute break now and you can answer their question then. Just to see their faces!! I know there was a very good reason why you said you didn’t work there but maybe just once!
This is amazing!!! Thanks for entertaining me for a good couple hours.. I hope you do more of these missions.
HAHAHA!! Awesome job guys! just read the whole thing (took me like an hour!)… anyways, that was great- best buy sucks!
Improv Everywhere –
I’ve been doing improv for 3 odd years now and my friends and I have always been into your stuff, thinking it absolultly hysterical. I also happen to work at Best Buy and think it would have been even cooler if me and a few other insiders had been able to be in on the event as well to help you all out in your claims. Of course, I wouldn’t mind sacrificing my job for the love of improv.
best idea in the world is to have them all in there and have a random guy running in saying that a team of people just like you guys blew up a best buy in wyoming or some shit and tell your agents that everytime an actual BB employee asked them if they needed help finding something you tell then to reply "yes, im looking for wire,glue,a barney rubble doll, and C4" lololol
cant stop laughing!!!
Brilliant, wish I had been there!
I just started working at Best Buy and I cracked up laughing while reading this caper.
this is hillarious and random i love it.
Absolutely brilliant idea! I’d love to see you guys do this at Petsmart in green polos or something. :)
I used to work for Best Buy and still have my black Geek Squad t-shirts and a gray t-shirt with the BBY logo on it from a remodel I worked on. And every single time I go to Best Buy on the weekends I tend to wear one of those shirts. And invariably I get stopped dozens of times with questions. And sometimes I’ll even lend a hand if they look like they’ve had a hard time finding help. After all, there’s no law against giving sound advice. In fact, on more than one ocassion I’ve hear a Best Buy employee give bad advice and stepped in to correct them. That REALLY screws with the employee’s head!
Do you think the folks as Best Buy Corporate would use this as a training tool on how thir employees should act in this kind of situation.
Whoa, this looks awesome!
brillaint, I gotta say BRILLIANT – I just found your site today and this..man this is like things coming together that I’d kinda imagine but people actually do IT :D
Granted though, it would’ve been cool if everyone in the end actually DID purchase/shop for something as a bit of a "take that! what now?" and actually be a customer-customer unless that would’ve totally violated the "rules", per se
To all the people that say negative comments to you for doing this…Screw Them! They have the nerve to come to your website, watch your videos,laugh outloud and then say this is BAD!
They need to get a grip. This was funny and Best Buy so deserves this.
They DO NOT CARE ABOUT THE CUSTOMER!
People really need to understand this and not shop there.
They are a bully company, in the way they treat customers, vendors and employees.
Here is a thought for another mission.
Go Back to BestBuy wearing red circuit city shirts.
Get 100 hundred people, and have them all buy a $9.99
DVD. Figure out the tax and pay them with 9 $1 bills,99 cents in change and then have a zip lock bag with the exact change.
I really Hate Best Buy…
You guys are great!
A year ago, I went to Ikea wearing an outfit that was almost identical to the employee outfit purely by coincidence. I think it resulted in 5 people asking me for help. I can definitely understand the chaos that resulted from this mission.
Each person being asked to leave should have requested to have their girlfriend (boyfrield, wife, husband, friend) paged overhead to inform the ‘friend’ that they should meet you outside instead of by the TVs or …
Hey guys, what a great idea! I worked at BB for a while and there were days I would have really enjoyed some excitement, ANY excitement.
That’s what all the Negative Nancy types should remember about this kind of act, it’s meant to shake up the dull, everyday and give people something to help them realize life is still worth living!
Kudos guys and keep up the good work!
Oh mon dieu you guys are brilliant. I work at Best Buy in Canada and that prank was sick to read and watch. Keep it up. I wish I could join the madness.
LOL! If this was on the 6 o’ clock ,I imagine hearing my parents comment on this story, they would both say "why would anyone waste their time doing that" then they’d say something else like ,"You could get in trouble for doing something like that, why get involved, you’d make customers mad etc."
But in my POV we need a little pranking done to the big stores, even more so in a world always worried about terrorism etc. We need to have fun.
Besides, I’m sure some of the fake employees know more about most of the products Best Buy sells then the employees do :)
Then there’s all those annoying best buy ad’s where they lie to people telling them about how they can get them the best HD or whatever.
I see no harm in this prank it’s not like you guy’s looked like you were concealing weapons or making customers mad on purpose.
All in all good clean fun!
(Both of my parents are in their 40’s respectfully, I love them both don’t get me wrong, I am 21)
Not very cool,like whadya do that for?
way out of line dude.
To all the folks like this guy here:
"Posted by: Ben Levante
Bitchin’ good time. Amazing to see so many aimless young people (and remarkably a father) with nothing better to do with their time. So cool!"
Just exactly who has too much time on their hands that you ALSO watched this and THEN had the time to type in a response? Mmmhmm…
I enjoyed reading about your prank at Best Buy. I have only one negative observation…Why couldn’t your photos in the story been cleaned up with a simple software tool? Many of the photos were much too dark to publish as you did!
You guys need a life. lol
As a Best Buy Employee I find this to be too funny for words. Just goes to show how stupid the average shopper can be! :-) Awsome job guys!
I’ve had many iffy experiences in retail electronics "box stores" like Best Buy. Most of the employees are nice enough but you really need to do your own research before going in because you are not going to get electronics experts at $8/hr. On the other hand, I’ve found Home Depot and CostCo employees to be extremely friendly and helpful; they like nothing better than to quit unloading a pallet and walk you 1/4 mile to the other end of the store to find what you’re looking for.
I think this mission, like all the I.E. missions, should be considered street theatre, not a prank. Thus, the various reader reactions ranging from LMAO to "sucks" are all part of it. Personally, I LMAO’d too and hope I.E. makes many more such statements. I’ve ordered the DVDs and can’t wait!
I live in england and found your mission by mistake. Had me in stitches appealed to my sense of humour. Love to see something like this over here, let me know if your over…
You people are my heroes! Nobody in St. Louis has the balls to do somthing like this. In the future I am going to plan a vacation around one of your pranks and come participate(If you’ll have me). Truly genius.
I have just one question. Why? Its one thing to be a dumb teenager and set firecrackers off in a Wal-Mart or Sears parking lot. But why impersonate an employee of a company and cause the police to be notified. How can you be so ignorant to expect little to no resistance from the employees and from the local law inforcement. I am all for having fun, but when my tax dollars and the tax dollars of other citizens are being diverted to the law inforcement because of something like this, I would say that you guys crossed an ethical line. For crying out loud mature a little.
so all your all 40 year old bums reeking havoc on inocent people so you can do or prove what?
I put ithis in my Live journal
May 2nd, 2006
I reread it and it’s still hysterical.
So, you broadcasted the footage that was illegal to broadcast? I work at Best Buy store 128 and I’ll be honest, this would really piss me off. It’s confusing enough when one guy walks in and is wearing a blue shirt and khakis by coincidence. Sure, you did nothing illegal at the time, but broadcasting that material makes you hypocrites. Why are you people so bored?
I currently work at a Best Buy here in upstate NY, and I think this is the most hilarious thing I’ve ever seen.
I also find it very angering to see that they just came up to you saying ‘Do you need any help with anything’, since only being a 1 1/2 month employee, I’ve learned how to properly assist someone.
Thank you for this. Great Job!
It may have been funny but I think it’s a waste of time for Best Buy management and staff. It also caused management stress and I think people have more of that than needed in this day and age. Pretty thoughtless of you pranksters.
Hey! I work for Best Buy in Charlotte, NC – this is great! I actually thought that photo of you guys jumping up ("Mission Accomplished!") was one of the ones they publish in our cheesy company magazine or like a "reduce shrink!" poster. You guys are awesome!
Word of advice: When doing a prank, leave you’re kids at home.
Had to add: People thought it was great that some guy brought his kids? Please. Whoever said those kids will remember this forever doesn’t know kids. They probably forgot five minutes later when they saw the next toy/video game they wanted to play.
i doubt that anyone ever reads these all the way to the botom, but it seems you guys have fans in the hollywood comunity : )
In the movie click in the begining where the guy asks for a universal remote in the beds and beyond the person working there says, i do not work here, im just waiting for my friend :)
i dont shop at best buy, but i think all of have too much time on your hands. i found your mission not only stupid but a waste of time from people who need to get a life. while you were pulling your stupid stunt you were wasting tax payers money (which i’m sure none of you pay, since you obviously do not have jobs),the cops had to be called for something stupid, 911 was used. GET A JOB!
Pat from Lewiston, Idaho
Stumbled onto your site by accident.This has to be one of tthe funniest things i’ve ever read. I stayed fourty minutes after work just to read it all.
Hi, I’m a supervisor at a Best Buy megastore, as well as a college student. I’d like to say just a couple of things that are on my mind.
First of all, I do think the premise for this ‘improv’ was sound, and the end result had every chance of being amusing to all parties if executed properly. I laughed out loud to myself as I read down the page, looking at the hidden camera pictures and all you guys in blue. However, as I continued to read, I began coming across comments made by some of your agents that made my stomach knot up. Instances in which one agent or another "talked a customer out of buying a particular product," or "encouraged a customer to buy this product." Situations where your agents didn’t know anything about the product the customer was looking for, and so left the previously eager customer feeling dumbfounded and confused. That irritates me immensely. The improv is funny and harmless until you start stressing our customers by either steering them wrong, getting them a product they don’t need, or annoying them by constantly repeating the "I don’t work here," line. From a customer’s standpoint, such as the old lady who shuffled by muttering "nobody here knows a goddamned thing," Best Buy appears to be incompetent.
What if you talked that couple out of a washer that would have been perfect for them and would have fulfilled all their needs?
What if a customer selected a product based off your recommendations, ended up not being satisfied with it because it wasn’t what they needed, and then angrily returned it because the "Best Buy employee" told her to get the wrong thing?
I have to wonder, though I can only speculate of course, how many customers simply got fed up with the whole mess because apparently nobody at Best Buy knows what they are doing, and never entered a Best Buy store ever again?
When you do these things, these ‘improvs,’ they can be very funny, I’ll admit. but you cross the line when you damage our reputation by helping us to fail the customer. That old lady probably went home and ranted about her experience to her family, talking about how everyone at Best Buy is a fool, and then her family will talk to their friends about it, and so on, and so on, until a good chunk of people know how craptacular a company we are. That damages our ability to help people, because many of them will never come back. It is easy to laugh at the situation, because as I said, it was amusing in certain ways, but without being an insider of the business and knowing exactly what happens when a customer is not satisfied, then it is hard to understand where someone like me is coming from. We can literally lose an ENTIRE family’s business just by one customer having a poor experience with us. If that customer has really loyal friends, we can lose those too. I don’t think you guys get the impact you likely had on that store: the other poster wasn’t kidding when he said you guys likely cost that store tens of thousands of dollars in just the short time span you were there because of frustrated customers walking out, although considering the size of that particular store I wouldn’t be surprised if you cost them close to a hundred grand, because that’s usually what they make in an hour. Additionally, that cut in budget will mean less hours a week for quite a few people. It is the same concept as theft or shrink in a store in that the lost revenue has to be pulled from somewhere until the store has made it back up to budget. That revenue is pulled from the labor source, and the innocent Best Buy employees suffer.
Good idea with lots of potential, started out well-executed, but in the end the majority of the people who had a kick out of it were those directly involved with it. Most of the employees were not pleased, nor were any of the managers or security guards, nor were the cops for being called out on something so stupid. The customers suffered, and the store lost business because of it. More people got hurt from your improv than benefited. I dont want to sound belligerent, because I’m not, but I hope that you excellent people can understand the impacts that your actions bring. It’s not as simple as "Aww, no harm done. It’s just innocent fun!" There was harm done.
C- Would have been higher, but the collateral damage you guys caused was just too much to overlook.
i think its ok to say "sorry i dont work here"
but its not ok to help people with something if you dont know what your talking about. like that last dude said, a customer may suffer cause u guys got them the wrong thing. your making best buy look worse than it should. i mean most of those customers probably lef tnot knowing wtf happened and rprobably never heard of this website. they just think best buy is stupid now. good job.
I saw details of this Mission on YouTube and its audacity provoked large smiles and even some laughs. I understand the management’s fear of a heist ("The Thomas Crown Affair" and "Inside Man" used similar techniques after all) but I mean, come on! It should have been obvious that no crime was in the process of being committed and in any case, no harm was done either. The fact that people who work in other Best Buy stores round the country have come here to comment and usually positively too shows that they get it, and that their management colleagues in that particular BB store woefully do not…that black lady especially, with her attempt to invoke civil rights — she should be pimp-slapped since she doesn’t have a clue about *anything*. "Not allowed to talk to customers" indeed. I find it interesting that instead of someone admitting that they have no clue in how to deal with the situation they fall back on pseudo-legal threats and attempts to show authority like that dreadlocked woman who actually followed Agents down the street reporting on where they were going next…nutty!
As for that cop who said tried to imply that it’s illegal to film in a Best Buy, how come there’s all those security cameras in there then? And I find it a little strange if it was illegal to do that in a store that actually SELLS video cameras and TVs!
The use of the in-store cameras was a particularly inspired touch. The XBOX hidden camera trick would have worked if he had covered the hole with green mesh instead of having that bigass hole in the box like that.
I guess another thing that should be done in future is give all Agents briefings of their rights under the law. Agent Shafer particularly stood out in his knowledge of the law and willingness to stare down the authorities — he’s not trespassing until he is asked to leave and he refuses, and besides, NY is a "one-party" state in which you do not need the permission of the second party before you film, especially in a public place like Best Buy, so he was entirely within his rights — but other agents might have "cracked". Remember, this is all about having a laugh and making people’s days, and not about getting jacked by New York’s Finest.
Agents Co and Bo will no doubt remember this day for a long time, and kudos to their dad for involving them in this urban adventure!
I laughed out loud at Agent Natty’s remarks: "There’s just too many of you guys around here." "I was like what? Asians?"
Although BB might be on to you guys now, an interesting follow-up in the manner that Will in AZ (above) described might be warranted.
I really hope I’m in NYC in time to participate in the next IE Mission. 5 out of 5 on this one, guys!
PS: Agent Reeves and Agent Cross are both mega-hot…call me? :)
One other thing: all the people saying that IEers should not have "harassed" BB employees, or that they should "do something useful with their time like help the homeless" or something, are making silly assumptions. Just because their participated in this IE Mission doesn’t mean that they don’t 1) have jobs/careers 2) already do some other sort of volunteering elsewhere.
It is presumptious of any commenter who does not know any IEer personally to start accusing them of not "having a life". Remember: when you point your finger at someone, four fingers point back at you!
if your photogs havent done so already, you would do well to read the info RE: the rights of photographers in public and private property, located at http://rcfp.org/photoguide/
There is also an attorney who makes available a short but sweet PDF file at http://www.krages.com/phoright.htm. It deals with the question of film consfication &c.
By the way, I enjoy the work done by Improv Everywhere. People are far to often bewildered by things not as inocuous. Have a good one.
And here I am months later re-reading the whole thing, and laughing my butt off again. Thank you for the chuckles.
Just didn’t know where to send this but hopefully someone recieves this message of management status or higher! I just recently went to East Hanover NJ Best Buy and was ever so dissapointed with the knowledge and poor lack of help towards a customer! Granted it’s the holiday season and staff is not usually the regular help but I mean come on, I waited at the camcorder section eyeballing a employee for atleast 10 men and not even a "hold on sir" or I’ll be right with you after I help this gentlemen!! I was completly taken back never had I had such an experiance such as this in any of your other stores. Hopefully this letter can improve quality there. Thank You for nothing!
I’m pretty sure Best Buy management monitors this comment page to get feedback on their stores nationwide. Rest assured that you have certainly posted your complaint in right place here at Improv Everywhere.
I’ve accidentally done this prank on my own so I found it hillarious to read about it on a large scale. My company has a red short-sleeved polo shirt that they give out at orientation and encourage people to wear on Fridays. A group of us would often do it and sometimes we’d go out for lunch together. On one of these trips we ate by a Staples and I wanted to run in and grab something while we were nearby. Suffice to say I hadn’t considered my choice in clothing until I was already in the store scanning the isles, so I now make a point of not visiting Staples on Fridays.
Another time I was in Vegas for a wedding and we were having dinner in the New York, New York casino. For anyone unfamiliar with the casino its employees dress in black tuxedoes, and having come straight from a wedding that’s exactly how we were all dressed. That wasn’t a problem while we were walking around, but I couldn’t stand still for 5 seconds without someone asking me for directions. I began to find it quite amusing, especially since I wasn’t 21 yet so I probably couldn’t work the casino floor anyway. But I now know not to wait for someone to use the bathroom while wearing a tux in New York, New York!
I also wanted to add that I feel the prank could have gone much better if agents were better informed at the beginning. This was a very difficult prank to pull off without causing any harm to the store, and from reading the report it seems that many people didn’t know how to do that. Frustrating customers for amusement should not be taken lightly, even if it’s unintentional. I’m all for wearing a blue shirt and trying to be helpful, but impersonating employees by pretending to be knowledgeable about products and influencing customer’s decisions by pulling stuff out of your ass, as some agents clearly did, is a big no-no (even if real employees may do it). The agents should have been informed ahead of time about ways to accomplish their mission without cusomer casualties, much like Agent Firth and a few others did. When I read about agents talking about how they fooled customers into thinking they were actual employees I strongly feel that they missed the point of the prank and I empathise with the real employees who were asking agents "not to help customers", likely for that very reason. If I were the manager of that store I’d be pretty pissed with some of your agents.
I appluad the prank and its execution, but in the future please do more preparation to ensure that in hind-sight the prank is enjoyed by all parties; Agents, employees, and customers.
you guys rock!!!
I got screwed some time ago by best buy. Some how this seemed to help.
This reminds me of my first visit to a Best Buy store in southern California in ’98. I had been stationed on Guam the previous couple of years. I happened to be wearing a royal blue polo shirt with a gold USAF 50th anniversary logo on it and khaki pants. I was a bit startled when the first person came up to me and started asking questions! That continued as long as I was in the store. It wasn’t until I spotted an actual employee that I figured out what was going on.
You know, criticizing this isn’t going to do anything. It’s already happened. This is like trying to get a kid to unswallow something by yelling at said kid.
While it may not be ‘illegal’ to videotape or take pictures inside a retail store, it does infringe on people’s right to privacy. Stores have to be very vigilant in making sure that people are not taking photos of customers. Maybe there’s someone in the witness protection program shopping at the store, you take a photo and post it online, and then the guys who are after said Witness can locate him.
I think the prank is cute, as I do work in a retail store, but I can understand both sides.
a couple of comments:
1. You guys probably helped more people than the actual Best Buy employees did, man are they ever dumb. I once asked a BB employee if he knew which t.v. was better and he said “I don’t know, I just work here.”
2. I love this idea because many people just assume that I work in a store just because I am young, even if I am just wearing my normal clothes. It could have been even funnier if you would have had snappy comebacks to the people that try to talk to you.
What is the point of all this?
if i were best buy id sue for the disruption of my business what exactly was the point of all this the police should have filed charges for being called out on such bs as this was you think its funny the cops had to come to your prank instead of taking calls where they were really needed you have no respect for business or the police who had to come to get rid of you
I’ve worked previously at best buy and can safely say that retail managers are masters at handing out , enjoying and dealing with nonsense, and love making a big deal over something mundane and insignificant and harmless in the course of an otherwise boring job , they more than deserved a prank such as this… besides, you did them a favor, it gave them something to do (retail managers in general lacking here) and made them feel important as they “handled” the situation. Plus, where I’m from, local law enforcement does little beyond issue speeding tickets, in way you just gave the cat a ball of yarn to keep it busy and feeling important and from clawing at the couch! Well done!
Wow! Thats awesome! I can’t believe that people ACTUALLY thought that you were trying to steal something! I salute anyone who participated in the event! You should have gotten a few people who looked like managers too, it would have been priceless if they agents dressed as employees would have randomly come up to the agents dressed up as managers and reported back to them. Or heck even to one of the actually managers!
I am an ex-manager and I actually know many employees and managers that work at the location. I found this HILARIOUS amd I spent all day today reading this whole site and watching the videos. I work a few blocks from that BB location. SO FRIGGING funny!
Well, this is interesting. I’m an employee at a Best Buy and I guess I see your oint in the fact the not EVERY emploee knows everything. I’m still young and I’ve been working there for a year, but mostly only in the summer. I certainly do not know what lap top or TV will be most efficient for a shopper, but that is becasuse I work at the front lanes and all I do is check people out (cashier) I do have a good amount of knowledge with the electronics, but most of it I know from my own experience. If I was hired to work at a special department, i.e.: Digitail imaging, Computers, Media… then I would have had to be trained first and or some positions even require employees to take courses (Geek Squad) I love those guys. But all in all, I still do walk around the store and do sometimes get sent to work at other departments other than front lanes, this usually means that I do get asked a LOT of questions and most I probably do not know the answers to. In these cases I always walk the customer to the correct employee that will surely be able to help.
~But this was an interesting experiment, and I am sure that all of the ‘agents’ had tons of fun.
Best Buy ROCKS!!! :)
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I loved it! This had me entertained for a good portion of my workday. I go to work wishing something weird or out of the ordinary would happen all the time. If I were an employee and this happened I would be giddy at the prospect of such a weird story to tell my friends when I got home. n_n
Those who don’t think it was funny have no imagination.
This looks like such fun i would loved to get invloved!
If you know any groups in the uk who do this i would love to know.
Keep on going!
I am a REAL employee! We actually learned some useful things from your mission. I also think that it was a funny mission, but I can also see how employees might become afraid with all the crazy people out here killing and shit! Any way, I like what you all do! It’s interesting to watch the responses.
PS – Stop instigating our blue shirts! Sheesh!
Great work guys.
I thought it was awesome and my only complaint is that I didn’t get to participate! :D Actually, I just found out about this site. I hope IE gets some missions soon! Also, can’t wait to see that TV show!
Again, GOOD JOB!
One word for IE…brilliant!
Five words for all the naysayers posting…live is short, live it!
Actually, the five words for the naysayers were…life (not live) is short, live it!
Oh my! I laughed so hard at this. Very “Thomas Crown Affair!”, this is! :p I’ve thought about this sort of thing before (never went through with it, haven’t the bravery that the agents have). It’s surprising that when it comes to uniform, there’s alot of work places and areas that are open to public entry that can be imitated.
Good work agents! :D
OMG….This is Great I work for BestBuy and I wish you guys would come to my Store and do something like this. Absolutely Hilarious…. LMAO
Just found this on a forum, brilliant!
This had the potential to be wonderfully funny but…I can’t help but be a downer. Customers got the raw end of the deal out of this. As a supervisor at a BestBuy I have the ability to hold people accountable for not doing their job. I do this mostly through feedback from the customers and the interactions I witness first hand. Having the Agents pretending to be BestBuy employees without always explaining that they too are just customers and not an employee of the company is what ruined it for me. Agents commented on the frustration and unhappiness provoked by their behavior toward the unsuspecting customers. If I walked in to a store and saw several people who looked exactly like the employees working their and didn’t get the help I needed from any of those individuals, I probably wouldn’t ever go back. Although it was clear to the staff ya’ll were not employees (and their reactions are what truly makes this whole ordeal hilarious!), your prank was not always as obvious to the customers. You know that saying, ‘no animals were harmed in the filming of this…’? I implore you to use a similar philosophy towards customers or innocent bystanders in future Improvs (and I look forward to many, many more!)
If a BestBuy does not provide quality customer care to their shoppers than SHAME ON THEM (and I know it sometimes happens at every store even mine!)
If your Improv upsets an innocent bystander, and I do not include any of the BestBuy staff in this category only the unknowing customers, then sadly the humor is lost.
Do not give the neh-sayers any reason to criticize this wonderfully funny work that you do. Keep up the funny!
I tried to see the funny in this… missed it, I guess. Anyway, you’re lucky that no one got tasered or declared an enemy combatant.
Iâ€™m still young and Iâ€™ve been working there for a year, but mostly only in the summer.
The problem, young one, is not you. The problem is that Best Buy hires you to be of assistance to their customers without providing training in the items being sold by the store. The problem is that Best Buy doesn’t care about its customers.
If you went to a Pep Boys and talked about auto parts with a salesperson who knew nothing about auto parts you’d be mad at Pep Boys (not the salesrep). Right?
That’s why we hate Best Buy.
hahaha you guys are awesome i agree with you no one enjoys a good sense of humor nowadays. anyways if you’re looking for new agents or more agents I would be more than happy to volunteer for this kind of stuff how do I find out more or get involved? do tell!
I wish I could’ve been there. I used to work at Best Buy, and I totally would’ve had a blast; especially if I told them I had an employee number and everything. It would’ve been so easy to mess with the managers with what I know.
I work at Best Buy in Midland, Mi, and god I think my managers would love it if this happened haha
So, let me get this straight, polo shirts and khaki pants are only for retail employees. I can’t wear a red polo (or any other type red shirt) at Target, I can’t wear a royal blue polo and khaki pants at Best Buy, Walmart now has a new dress code (dark blue shirts and khaki pants – no vest), etc. Retail establishments cannot limit what the general public wears solely because those establishments choose certaing kinds of garments are their dress code. Are they going to ask every shopper to leave if they happen to wear anything resembling the store employees’ dress code?
If you go to a walmart where they have the new dress code and you will have a difficult time determining who’s an employee and who’s a customer. I actually overheard a customer at a Walmart complain that “now she looks like them” as if Walmart employees are some sort of subhuman species.
To anybody yelling at them to get a job or why don’t you just do something better with your time–what are your hobbies? I’m pretty sure I could criticize how dumb and not fun they are too.
omg! i work at best buy and if you would have done that i would have lmao! that is so funny and hey you would just be making my life easier! or well maybe harder bc after you leave i have the rath of the MANEGER! lol still funny tho
That’s pretty amusing. Wal-Mart would have really been the one to do.
Haha! A wonderful prank, it’s just too bad it turned out the way it did. (what with the police and all) I can understand where they’re coming from, 50 people all coming into the store at the same time wearing the uniform would definatly set off alarms in my book were I a manager, but from the outside it sounds hilarious.
I wish you could have done it at a Target, since I would have been able to understand exactly how they work. Unfortuantly there are no Targets in any part of New York City. I would get a huge kick out of seeing tons of not-really “Team Members” standing around waiting for a friend. I can see my managers freaking out about it now.
I also thought it was a ingenious touch to call the employees by name, though it does break that “I don’t work here” wall a bit.
why on god’s green earth would you want to spend your day working in retail if you weren’t required to.
Thanks,you guys made my day!! I just got back from buying a flat screen LCD from Best Buy. As usual It was about as painful as root canal surgery. I don’t see how they can stay in business with such poor service.
I will pass this on to as many folks as I can. ROTFLMAO.
Ha ha ha…Man I loved reading this thing. I work at best buy and the job sucks and I would of loved to see this happen at my store. Would of made my day and it just shows how idiotic some of the management can be at Best Buy. “Your violating my rights be filming be.” What a stupid stupid woman. Luckily it’s a job I’ll have and leave as soon as I’m done with college, majority of floor level managers at BBY are college drop-outs.
Thank you so much for brightening my day. God Bless.
I think everyone really does need to lighten up a bit. It seems that all of the agents told the customers that they didn’t work there, and many of them actually refered the customers to real employees.
I’ve never seen any of your other endevours before, but I even found this one hilarious. It’s certainly something that would make your day if you saw it. Even if the managers were (understandably) freaking out, they’re going to look back on it later and laugh. People’s lives weren’t disrupted, it didn’t break any laws, and the only unfortunate thing was that the cops were called. But overall, it was still something that I would have loved to have been a part of!
why is this even remotely funny? is this what the kids like these days?
This is great fun. Camouflage as art statement! Since corporations love the UNIFORMITY of themselves and their BRAND makes one invisible. We all know that no one KNOWS anyone in these massive, community-less organizations.
Becoming invisible in the “culture” of a corp is such sneaky fun.
Large camouflaged groups gathering for nothing more to observe and document, testing the SENSE OF HUMOR of a humorless corporation can be dangerous. Innocence is it’s own protection.
Damn that’s too funny!
This is the most awesome thing I’ve seen all day! Thanks.
Love Across Borders Community Publishing
To all the people replying in anger, confusion, and with insults: if you don’t see the humor in the simple act of filling a BB with people all wearing the employee dresscode, then I’d be willing to bet you’re not IE’s target audience.
I, for one, found this mission hysterical.
Joy and choas all around! ^__^
As a wearer of an orange vest I gotta hand it to you…great mission. Your agents probably knew more about Best Buy’s products than the people wearing the real blue shirts.
here in indonesia it might be dangerous to pull a prank like that, people who were annoyed here tends to took thing seriously. I wish there were more people like you guys around the world. Especially in a country even laughter is somewhat luxurious thing
Awesome! I really wish I could have done this, as Best Buy is like my favorite place on Earth! I probably would have helped customers very much. Anyways, it looked like a great time. I only wish the managers and police were more lighthearted about it, but I understand what they did. Kudos though to those who played along.
Man, stuff like this is GOLD! Do you guys have a Cincinnati, Ohio branch?
You guys really took a big risk with this one…You could of all been arrested or something! LOL
I’m glad the mission was accomplished in the end though. Good job! :D
hey as a best buy geek squad employee, i have to say i haven’t laughted that hard in awhile. By far one of the best pranks/skits/or whatever you want to call it at a bestbuy. i just wish my store would have something like that happen to us in Sarasota, FL.
bravo everyone, bravo!!
This was awesome guys. I actually work at a Best Buy and would have paid to see this!!!
I work at a Best Buy store and I have to say that this is pretty freakin’ hilarious. Seriously all you Best buy Employees need to lighten up. If you guys did this in my store, not only would the sales people get a good laugh out of this but I know the supervisors and some of the managers would too. I think if this happened in my store it would be quite amazing.
You guys probably new more about the products than the people at Best Buy. A lot of them are lying and stupid. I have had CompUSA, Circuit City and Most irritating Best Buy all lie to me saying to do something. I have also heard the lie to other customers. This was cool. And I no ever see any sign out the door saying no filming on premises.
I have worked for Best Buy for over 7 years and think its a riot.
I would love to try the same thing at a Target with red shirts.
Funny stunt? Yeah, maybe. But you really didn’t have a legal right to film inside the store.
how about doing it on Frys!
As an employee at Best Buy, I didn’t think it was the best joke to play, but as a regular person… IT WAS HILARIOUS!!! And yes, some managers are like that all the time, and you have some stiffs in every store. Loved it!
What some of you should’ve done was walk up to a real employee and act like you’re an employee trying to figure out what the hell was happening.
It would’ve also been funny if a non-agent, non-employee, guy wearing the uniform came in.
You know you had all the BBY’s in manhattan in an uproar. i know cause i work at one, and we dont take kindly to people disrupting business
So… you know the best part about this?
I’m a supervisor at Office Max, have been for quite some time. I remember, awhile ago, receiving an e-mail from our corporate, warning us of something like this happening. Their directions were to post our employees at the highest theft areas, and attempt to assist anyone we could. Anyone with a video camera was to be told to leave. You know, I remember thinking at the time… “What the heck?”
Now, awhile later, I find this.
THIS… IS… AWESOME…
What would’ve been better, is sell to the customers, and then try to sell Best Buy’s Replacement Plan on it… Then, if they bought it, demand payment for your “SPIFF” on it (they make commission on them, in most cases)…
i come here frequently and when i saw this one i almost died. Me being a Best buy employee this makes me feel so warm inside. great stuff. makes me want to punch my managers in the baby makers even more. keep up the good work.
Oh man this is so cool, wish you guys would come to Hawaii and do this at our store it would be a hoot :D
I wasn’t going to post anything at first, until I saw all of the people who actually seemed to be angry at the Best Buy stunt. Then I felt like I had to.
-I- think it was brilliant. I would’ve loved to participate and frankly, had I been an employee of that Best Buy, I would STILL have loved it. I think lots of people would enjoy seeing their managers squirm, which I know isn’t the point, but is a happy side effect for me.
I’d also like to point out that while yes, the managers freaked, they weren’t given a whole lot of cause -to- freak. They mostly brought the stress on themselves when they could have simply calmed down. It seemed to me like they wanted to create a dramatic situation by calling the police and “detaining” someone. Maybe they too were “bored”.
If you guys ever had an event like this in my area, I’d totally be in.
pretty funny stuff. as for the ‘tards whining about ‘disrupting business’, none of these people did any such thing. business was disrupted by the overreacting managers, especially the ignorant chick with the ‘civil rights’ comment. LMAO!!!
There’s so many comments, so if someone else has said this already, my apologies!
Y’all should start carrying The Photographer’s Right, which is a downloadable guide that is loosely based on the Bust Card and the Know Your Rights pamphlet that used to be available on the ACLU website. Basically, it states (which you can show anyone harassing you) that there aren’t a lot of places that you can’t take a picture.
You can find it here:
I am LP for Best Buy in MD and let me tell you that I would not have thought it was funny. This country loses millions of dollars in theft a year and this prank has given some other people the idea to do it, but they are actually stealing from the business in the process. You caused a lot of stress for LP that day thats for sure.
What’s funny is some of you BB people seem to think customers are incapable of deciding what to buy on their own. All your upselling and trying to help them is annoying, and makes you more like robot than a human being. It does not make you helpful or approachable.
Hey I work a best buy and I personally do not know what I would do if this happened to us at our store, but it would definitely give us something to talk about for a while!
I can see one some of our Loss Prevention (security guys) getting upset but I think they’d be more confused than anything. As for our managers I don’t know they all act very different form each other, so it would depend who is on duty as to how they’d handle it.
Overall, I think this is one of those things that you can look back on and say wow what a day and laugh about it, but while it was happening I might get a little bit freaked out, like it might be a heist or something. Nevertheless I think it is a great idea and was cleaverly done
oh my gosh. this is amazing. absolutely hilarious. i totally wish i were in …where are you guys? new york, ne? it’s so unfortunate that i’m all the way across the country…i hope to follow more IE events! great job.
I work at Best Buy and I can only Imagine what would of went through my head if I would of seen this.
I have worked at best buy for 3 years! Yes this would have drove sales away and kind of been crazy but honeslty it would of been a one of a kind day and i would of laughed and had fun watching it all. Dont be so up tight about things live a lil….!
WOW! That’s some prank. As a Best Buy employee, I will disagree with the customer service being horrible…so, I will make this a North/South argument. This is in New York right? The customer service is probably horrible there. Ever heard of Southern hospitality? I’ve been to NYC, Boston & Philly and WOW! every time I’ve been to any retail establishment or restaurant you always get that better than thou Northern proper attitude junk. My mother is from Boston and she has lived in the south for 23 years now. She agrees and will not move back. Yep, so while that is an incorrect statement. The prank was hilarious but, for you to be soooo close minded that you can’t see from a theft precaution why someone who’s job is to prevent theft that what you did wouldn’t set off some bells. Until you’ve worked a normal poor man’s job, just trying to get by maybe you won’t think of things in such a one sided manner. Congrats on the prank, things are always funnier in retrospect. I would’ve laughed but, I think the comments above are a one sided view of the whole act.
For all of you who did not find this funny, I only have one thing to say to you:
Ha ha, I don’t think I’ve laughed that hard in a while. You guys are all great! XD
I had the worst experience at Best Buy in Brooklyn (Store # 599)on 8930 Bay Parkway, Brooklyn, NY 11214 It was horrible. I placed an order and paid for it in cash $19.99 1 Week later I was called by customer service to pick up my order. I arrived a few hour later and waited on line 45 minutes with just 3 people ahead of me just to pick up my card reader. As I approached I handed a overweight girl named Autumn my receipt and order confirmation, I was rudly asked for photo I.D. which I did not have. They would not give me the item or refund my $19.99 The store policy on the walls says absolutely nothing about presenting photo I.D. for a paid item to be picked up, nor does it state this on any of the receipts or paperwork I was provided with when I made my purchase. They called security on me and asked me to leave the store. I called the police but they never came. I had to take the bus back home for my ID and returned 3 hours later with photo I.D. and the Manager would not release the item to me and refused to speak with me as he walked away continuously. I am now left without the item I paid in full and they will not refund my money. This corporation should be investigated for unethical and cruel business practices. I will be filing compalints with the Attorney General Office of Consumer Frauds and Protection and taking them to small claims court for a larger amount than $19.99 Anyone have any horror stories to share about Best Buy?
I just want to say that was funny.
i love the way they attempted to handle the situation by calling the cops. you guys did not break any laws all you did was wear some blue shirts and tan pants. Yet, every manager seems to have paniced at the though of 80 people wearing blue shirts in their store. So now that you’ve taken care of Best Buy I’d suggest Wal-Mart next. Just remember all the low level employees will be amused and high level will probably panic. I would suggest that if they say you violate your rights by filming the store you argue “well then sir i demand you turn off all your security cameras as you are violating my rights by filming me in a public area.”
I loathe all but one Best Buy stores I’ve ever been in, and avoid them whenever possible. I’m fairly certain even the Agents who didn’t know anything about the store, or the products, were more pleasant and/or friendly than the usual BB employees are.
But I agree… you should have worn yellow and/or black shirts instead of the blue. Really confuse ’em that way.
It’s funny how they say it’s “illegal” to video tape in the store (no, it’s not illegal; it’s not against the law, just against store policy, for which they can expel you, but not arrest you) and how you violated their “civil rights” by filming in the store.
The sense of entitlement in this country is jaw-droppingly staggering!
I wish i was there. I was in the same position before. I wasn’t even wearing a collared shirt; just a blue t-shirt with a design on the front but someone asked for my help thinking I was an employee. They realized I wasn’t shortly after but I was able to answer their question so I did.
how do i become a IE mission
I work at a Best Buy in Buffalo, NY. I think this is the funniest thing i have seen in a long time. I think you guys should do something like this again but with a different store.
I also wanted to say that i have noticed there are many misconceptions about Best Buy. I work at a Best Buy in Buffalo, NY and I believe that the majority of people who shop there are very satisfied. We try to offer the best service possible. Maybe there are some employees at random Best Buy stores across the nation, that give Best Buy a bad reputation because they are rude or dont know what they are doing but thats not common in my store.
We are also non-commissioned which alot of people dont realize and that is important because we are just trying to be friendly and help u find what you are looking for. I saw some people say how it is annoying that BB employees come up to you to help as if you cant decide what to buy yourself. As an employee we are extremely willing to help any customer and if someone doesnt want any help thats perfectly fine. We are simply there to recommend different products and have knowledge on those products to tell you why that might be better for you or why thats so different from the other one. Although some customers come in to the store with the appropriate product knowledge most people dont know a whole lot about the product they are looking to get. I also want to give an example as to why we contantly offer assistance. Say you are looking to buy a printer, you go ahead and buy that printer and you are really excited about printing some pictures when you get home. You get home and set the printer up, one problem is that you dont have a usb cable to hook it up to your computer and also dont have any paper. If you talked to a BB employee, he/she would have told you that all new printers dont include usb cables and we might have reminded you to get some paper and made you aware of some good deals. I just think people who had a bad experience with Best Buy should just give it another shot because you may have dealt with one bad employee that probably should be fired. I understand that there is no company that will make every customer happy. If anyone has any comments or questions about what I wrote here please just post it below me.
You are doing my work on Earth. You, all of my children are making me very Proud
I also work at a Best Buy in Buffalo, NY. I think this really is the funniest thing I have ever seen. I would pay for you guys to come do this in my store. I would laugh so hard…… Go 1131!
The worst job I ever had was at a Best Buy.
I can’t tell you how much I appreciated this.
Hey i work at best buy as well! this was good my store is good with the customers but the employees are treated like crap! but i loved this so much!!!!!! do it again to more best buys like in the mid west area!
Please do one in The Target in Maryland! We get so bored half the time from annoying guest, come by and cheer us up with your witty ness. Improv Everywhere Agents infiltrate TARGET A.S.A.P
This is the coolest prank I have ever read about in my life. For this, you rock!
I had a bad experience at Less Buy today. I found this article due to that. You guys are great. I wish I could have you all come to the store I visited today.
Thank you for making me laugh.
p.s. The Less Buy employee I dealt with today had a sense of humor like the ones you dealt with.
this was an absolutely amazing feat. as a former employee of best buy (one of the “yellow shirted security tools”, as a matter of fact) in vancover, canada and also as an actor, i found this to be pure gold.
way to knock best buy down a few pegs! i hated working there with a passion. good on you!
Best Buy is now sending out â€œcease and desistâ€ letters to related to this event.
I found this prank to be a great laugh and made me wish I could have been there to have some fun. As a anon floor walker for my full time job, I try to enjoy myself like these folks have.
BB is crazy to send those letters! I found out about this on a consumerist rant site and will continue to root for your cause. Good stuff! :)
Funny thing about this is that this REALLY happened to me at a Circuit City. I was wearing khakis and a red/maroon polo shirt. I got lots of “hellos” form the workers, but nobody would stop to help me. Everytime I approached someone they’d just wave and walk somewhere else. I finally figured it out and was so embarrassed, I just left. A week later my sister-in-law said that her brother saw me “working at Circuit City”.
What would be interesting would be to mob best byes, in a competitor’s look-a-like uniform and mill about with notepad and pen, recording items and their prices. Just say you pricing stuff for a friend, who couldn’t be there. The pen and notebook activity should done so that really kooks like you are gathering intel for another store and thus really freak out the managers.
I’ve been in at Best Buy many times, wearing my uniform from Olive Garden, which is a white oxford style shirt, black pants, black belt, and a tie. And that is clearly not the proper uniform for Best Buy, but there were dozens of times when customers would come up and and ask me for help. I’d explain that I didn’t work there, and they would sheepishly look for someone else. Even a couple employees asked me if I knew where one of the other employees was, and they should know the proper uniforms. But generally the employees would always ask me for help. And that was nice, cause sometimes I needed help. But if I showed up at BBY on my days off from OG, the BBY employees would completely ignore me, especially if I needed some help. Just wearing a tie and a white shirt really confuses the majority of the populace. People will either confuse you as an employee of whatever store you are in or a Mormon.
I work at a Best Buy in New York, and have been there only a couple of weeks now. We’re generally very easy going, eager to help and I’m not quite sure how we would react in such a situation. We’re very very small for a Best Buy, so we would most certainly notice fifty shirts right away, and know right away that you didn’t work at our store. It was initially funny, when I first read about this, but now, having worked for a Best Buy, I don’t think that we would have permitted you to stay for as long, and would hve caught you after the third person. :) Just don’t do it at my Best Buy.
This is brilliant and funny and remains so because it was a one off and really did no harm.
Certainly it caused some consternation in some employees and some confusion in some customers but the “unbiased” reporting seems to indicate that nothing was done to drive away sales or to cause damage to any property or even image.
In some ways it was a shame that it was rumbled. Imagine the fun of showing footage of 80 odd, similarly dressed people arriving, wandering around for a while and then leaving, especially if they all left en-masse. “Hey, 80 customers are all leaving at once…” but in the current climate of (induced) fear of bombs and stuff, maybe not.
Dang… nice job great execution. Now I wish I lived in NYC, that would’ve been really fun. I’m actually looking for a job at best buy, or some other computer repair place, it’d prepare me. I’d like to congratulate you on a great idea, and not getting arrested. Kudos to the guys who knew the law and made the policemen back down a bit. I’d say do it again at a different store, but polices might change with stores and I wouldn’t push your luck of not getting unlawfully arrested, though the extra cash (if you sued afterward) might be nice.
Innocuous pointless middle class fops. Now I see why GWB wants to exterminate you all.
It’s a harmless prank that breaks no laws. So is strapping a bunch of empty red cardboard tubes to your torso and walking around a shopping mall carrying a super-soaker water gun. The participant(s) have fun at other people’s expense. You know, other people who are trying to make a living by working in retail, or are out shopping, not wanting to worry about being killed by the next nutcase.
I wish a group of ppl would done blue vests and come into Sams Club and start helping members. it would be a riot.
or even orange reflective vests and pretend to be cart pushers out in the parking lot. you could help ppl load their too big tvs into their too small of a car.
THANKS for the laughs agents.
What would be funny is if everyone who participated in this had the tables turned on them and had 50 people show up to their job and play a prank them. Or all the people who are commenting on how funny this was…. Then you would probably realize it’s not so funny. Maybe next time you should put yourself in your victims shoes and think about what you are doing.
I guess you never learned the golden rule… shame on you!
Haha this prank was awesome! I work at BB which makes it even funnier. I’m sooo gonna get one of your shirts and wear it to work! I honestly don’t see any major harm in this prank… I guess if it happened to me I would be a little freaked out… I can see from a business perspective how it could be harmful but it was a prank with no harm intended. Don’t think the cease and desist letter was necessary, not like you were making any money off the shirts right?
You Agents are AWESOME–TOTALLY HILARIOUS!!!!!! I wish your crew could come out to the Best Buy I work at in Perrysburg, Ohio! If BB employees can’t laugh at themselves through a prank like this, they need to get out of retail. PLEASE come to my store! Thanks for the laughs!
Around turn of the century a Father Brown mystery did this. The thief wore a black suit and went into a mens club to steal something. He acted like a waiter, all of whom were also in black suits, when in the corridor. Inside the club rooms, he acted like a member, and was able to steal the item, acting like a member, then as soon as he got into the corridor, he changed his demeanor instantly to act like a waiter, therefore being able to slip out the back by the garbage cans. As a result the mens club made a requirement that all members had to wear a certain color suit, and the waiters had to wear a different color. This caper shows how fragile society really is, how symbols mean so much to so many of us, and how whites dont like blacks in their town, or old people dont like childrens bikes in other peoples yards, or people dont like outsiders of any color, or clothing of the wrong sort is percieved as threatening (and sometimes it actually does mean a threat!!). But the bottom line here is, this is an extremely sophisticated humor, being able to play with so many minds with so simple a tool. and you know, you would have been able to steal that best buy blind, and headed all out the back door with your loot, claiming it was returned and defective, or whatever, simply on the strength of the uniform. An amazing demonstration of the blinds we build and the upset when we are caught in them.
“Ed Smith May 21st, 2007 at 9:40 pm
Thatâ€™s pretty amusing. Wal-Mart would have really been the one to do.”
As an ex-walmart employee, I can tell you how it’d go.There are so many Walmart employees wandering around the stores and managers from other departments don’t know the employees… so basically they would not even realize they’d been infiltrated.
What WOULD happen (at least in the wal-mart I worked at and the ones my friends worked at) is that the managers would begin ordering you around. “Get to ICS and help Unload the truck NOW!” “Go help with freight!” or “Who sent you to this department?” “Where IS your badge?”
I just like the way you pushed limits in a totally harmless, lawful way and the fun you must have. The mono-culture out there just can’t cope! Keep it going and don’t stop :-)
The main problem (I believe) in the stunt is that it wasn’t quite obvious enough that it was a stunt. Plenty of shoplifting outfits use similar tactics, so some effort to differentiate yourselves from such groups should have been made.
To that end, I would have asked participants to show up in male-female pairs (male-male and female-female pairs would be okay, but they lack the same kind of visual effect) and worked out some rough choreography in the staging area (a rough map of the layout of the store would be helpful, but not necessary). In essence, Agents would enter the store in pairs, separate, walk a slow circuit through the store, stopping several times along the way, and then walk a slow circuit back out of the store (regrouping at some point). The key would be to time things such that all Agents were in the store and exited (in pairs) in a steady, obvious stream (for full effect). If store employees didn’t raise alarms or seek to bar re-entry, you could keep this going as long as Agents were still enjoying themselves.
If you really wanted to freak people out (rather than just have people mystified at the large number of “fake” employees), you could have two groups that would nod/smirk knowingly to each other (or do this: http://www.highfive.me.uk/types/High5Low5.php) as they passed each other at the entrance (entering and exiting respectively).
I don’t understand why anyone thought this was funny? I mean, it’s a mildly amusing *idea* in itself, but at no point was the description of the event or the videos of the event actually funny or even really very entertaining.
This is silly, really lame. What a yawn.
Truly a land mark civil rights demonstration.
You highlighted the paranoia which is overtaking humanity.
Gandhi would be proud.
I kept reading expecting a punch line that never came…
Guys, I don’t see anything funny here.
Wow. That is hilarious!
I found the visual effect of 80 people dressed alike funny.
I was amazed that people didn’t “get it”, thought it was dumb, endangered customers, or took hours away from hard-working employees.
Hats off to the all retail employees by the way. It amazes me that when I’m the 1,000th person to ask “what’s the difference between Blu-Ray and HD-DVD?” the employee doesn’t suggest I have sex with myself and stab me with a remote.
How does the hours thing work anyway? How does the Best Buy computer know whether I get help from an employee or the customer next to me?
It’s too bad the police responded; that did divert resources.
Folks need to lighten up.
If this was done at my work, my coworkers would freak out. They REALLY need to lighten up.
Thanks for the laughs! Every reply made me smile.
Funny stuff. As some of your agents have said, I can understand why the management and security would be curious and eventually ask you to leave–if for no other reason than several agents confessed to giving wrong information and mildly upsetting some customers. Still, it’s a pretty funny idea and I’d have liked to have been there to get the full effect – as a customer, employee or player. And if I was working I think I’d have to chuckle as I booted you out. :)
Man some of the responders on here are such uptight pricks. ‘Don’t you have a life/job/etc’ seriously!? You just took time out of your “precious” day to respond to something that you deem worthless. So that makes a you a nonparticipating bystander to a worthless event, making you less than worthless. Get a sense of humor or at the very least calm down.
Haha! Pretty funny stuff, looks like I’m about a year late though. I like the video records of what happened, and the stories. And.. they have a two story Best Buy in Manhattan!? Damn, New York is crazy.
I actually work at a Best Buy myself, and am amazed that they would treat what is still technically a customer with such disrespect!
i would like to think that anyone at my store would actually find this as funny as i did. except the floor managers. they might be a little pissy about it. but they’d probably still just ask anyone filming to leave. i doubt the cops would get involved.
anyway, this was freaking AMAZING! keep up the AWESOME work IE!
I’d like to see the same prank, only at a Hooters.
Oh my god that is freaking awesome! I shop or ‘browse’ at best buy quite often. I only wish this would have happened while i was there. I want to join the IE!!!!
To all of the people who worried about the impact that the event would have on hours for the BB employees;
Have you ever considered that the unfairness lies in this policy of Best Buy’s? If such a system has the power to screw employees over so royally, why does BB implement it at all? It seems to me that the whole system of sales=hours is bad policy. Too many businesses are penny-wise, pound-foolish – they save five cents today, but the consequence is that they lose five dollars tomorrow. Of course by then, the CEOs have taken their severance packages and are laughing on a beach in Maui sipping mai-tais and using their golf caddies as footrests. There’s no incentive to implement policies that support sustainable business, it’s all boom and bust, and the little-guy employees pay the price.
All these people did was wear a blue shirt in a store. A society where that’s a crime, is a socie