A few years back we executed a mission that involved repeating time
. Ever since then I’ve wanted to try something that stopped or slowed down time. How would people react if they found themselves surrounded by people moving forward at a different rate or time (or not moving at all)? I decided the Home Depot on 23rd Street in Manhattan was the perfect place to try this out for two reasons. 1) The assonance in “Slo-Mo Home Depot” sounds funny. 2) The mere existence of a Home Depot, an enormous behemoth of a store, on our tiny island is hilarious. It also helped that the store is located on the exact same block as the Best Buy we invaded earlier this year
On a Saturday afternoon, around 225 people showed up at the meeting point in Madison Square Park, a short walk from the Home Depot.
A pretty diverse group of folks showed up. One family drove down from Connecticut to participate. The wife joked that her husband looked like Tom Selleck. They were the first to arrive at the meeting point.
The Massari family
After everyone had assembled I revealed the mission details. We would sychronize our watches and then walk over to Home Depot and shop. At exactly 4:15 we would all begin moving in slow motion. We’d do that for five minutes, and then shop normally for five minutes as if nothing had happened. At exactly 4:25 we would all freeze in place for five minutes. When that was over we would go back to normal and eventually leave the store.
Giving instructions to the group
Agents synchronize watches
This particular Home Depot location has a ground level, a lower level, a balcony, and a contractor services area. I divided the group up by months of birth and spread everyone out equally among the different sections, ensuring that we’d be spread out over the entire store. I also divided the group up by year of birth, instructing the even numbered birth year folks to approach and exit the store from Sixth avenue and the odd years to approach and exit from Fifth. I did this to make us seem less like a parade of people and more like random individuals entering and exiting the store.
One thing that is unique about this mission is that the photos are pretty worthless. You can’t show movement or stillness in a photograph so we needed to capture as much video as possible without getting caught. We learned in our Best Buy mission that while corporate chain stores have security cameras monitoring you on every aisle, they don’t much care for you videotaping them. We snuck in six DV cameras and two video capable digital cameras, concealing them in duffle bags and shooting discreetly from the hip.
Agent Shafer’s camera
Agent Slocum preps his camera
Several of our cameramen also took advantage of the Home Depot shopping carts, which in addition to being great hiding places, also provided some nice dolly shots. Some rested their camera on top of merchandise; others hid their camera below the merchandise, capturing video through the orange cage.
Many agents wore their watch on the inside of their wrist, to make it easier for them to discreetly check the time during the mission.
An agent moves in slow motion while Agent Gross films from inside the shopping cart behind him
One thing we had not anticipated was that most people normally shop a pretty slow pace. Because of this, the slow motion phase was very subtle; you had to look close to notice something out of the ordinary was going on. It was difficult at times to tell who was in on the mission and who was not. It was only the large gestures like picking up a product or taking a sip of a drink that were obviously unusual.
An agent slowly drinks while another slowly reads
The employees slowly started noticing that something was going on. It was particularly noticeable from the balcony, where they had a good view of the entire main level.
I instructed everyone to be polite and to be sure to not get in anyone’s way. While someone checking out in slow motion would surely be funny, it would also be annoying to anyone behind him in line. We stayed clear of the cash registers altogether, and also made sure not to block the escalators. If spoken to by an employee or customer, agents responded in slow motion speak (slow and low), and denied anything unusual was happening.
Freezing in place was much more impressive. In every aisle and corner of the store there were people frozen mid-shopping. Most agents were in pretty normal positions, but some got creative.
Although you can’t tell, everyone in this photo is frozen:
Amazingly, about thirty seconds before the freezing in place began, the Home Depot PA system started playing Jewel’s 2001 hit, “Standing Still.” Really. Several agents came up to me after the mission asking how I had gotten that song to play. I wish we were clever enough to sneak into the Home Depot back rooms and insert a CD into their stereo, but it was honestly just a freaky coincidence. I’m sure their music is piped in via some type of corporate satellite radio subscription. As soon as I heard it I ran to stand under the nearest speaker and record the audio using the video mode on my digital camera. You’ll notice an employee asks me if I need help right at the beginning of the clip.
My favorite part of this mission was the exact moment that the freezing stopped. As I was walking around covertly shooting video, I hadn’t noticed how quiet the store had gotten. Over 200 customers were dead silent. When the five minutes ended, everyone instantly sprang to life and began talking to their shopping companions. For a moment, it was as if the world was moving in fast forward.
To truly appreciate how all of our agents were operating at a slower pace than everyone else, I put together a series of clips that play at five times the normal rate. You’ll see that we appear to be behaving normally as the rest of the world whizzes by.
The employee reaction was really great. Typically when we attempt missions in retail stores the customers and lower-level employees laugh and enjoy themselves while the management becomes angry. I’m not sure if it was due to our brevity (we were in and out in a mere fifteen minutes) or if the Home Depot management is more laid-back than other stores, but no action was taken towards us at all. Most employees either laughed or thought they were going “crazy,” or both.
A group of employees trying to figure it out
A customer who asked me with a smile, “What is wrong with everyone?”
Julian smiles as he tells me what happened
Travis acts out how a person talked to him in slo-mo
Employee demonstrates a pose of a frozen customer
Employee who was upset that it all took place on his lunch break
I stuck around after most of the agents had left to get reactions from the staff. I shot video with a small Cannon digital camera, claiming I was just a regular customer trying to figure out what was going on. I think the fact that I had a small still camera in my hand and not a big video camera, made my story seem more believable. I shot somewhat discreetly, but the employees realized I had a camera in my hand. Here’s an unedited 2-minute clip of my encounter.
I had a blast. Looking forward to more missions!
After finding myself in the frozen position in front of the floor-sander rental display with a spatula and a shower caddy in my basket, I unfroze, dumped the spatula, and headed to the register. I actually needed the shower caddy so I bought it and took the extra time to observe the store after most of the agents had vanished.
A lot of the floor staff were checking with each other to see if it was just them that “was buggin” or if everybody else “was buggin too”. They were also checking to see if they were “on drugs or not”. I was now in possession of a Home Depot bag and receipt so I seemed to escape suspicion. Eavesdropping in the flashlight department I overheard the following exchange:
Manager: “Well, I’m glad you were here to see it because I wouldn’t know HOW to phrase this in an email”.
Plain-clothed off-duty employee: “Well, we just have to wait to see how we’re gonna get slammed now. I’m sure we’re gonna end up in the next ‘Super-size me’ or something.”
As I was leaving the store I heard a few employees discussing what they saw and one of them said \”I think it was an acting class and the guy in the suit was the teacher\”.
After the mission, i bought a plant and while it was being potted, i chatted with the employees who didn\’t know i was in it. they general sentiment was that manhattan had too many weird people and that they should all just switch to the Bronx store.
Really upset I couldn’t make it to this. Synchronized watches sounded promising. Great job though guys, hahaha.
Awesome! I wish I could have been there. This was a great idea and you guys did a great job carrying it out. Hope the next mission is before the DVD release so I can be there! *hint, hint*
You never disappoint. England needs an IE branch!
We considered coming down from Connecticut to participate…but we probably wouldn’t have been able to convince our 11-month-old to move in slow motion, or freeze. Alas.
What an extraordinary idea to push the limits of people’s grasp of time. You not only created performance art, you also gave the employees and shoppers at Home Depot a story for the rest of their lives.
Great work, continue expanding the depths of art.
This was so much fun to do. I loved the reaction of the people as the walked past and stared in amazment. Especially when they asked us what was going on. Haha… this was priceless. Can’t wait until the next mission!!!
2nd Event I’ve particiapted. I was like OMG when he said we’re going to Home Depot !… that was great. Looking forward for the next one…
Favorite quote overheard while frozen: "Jerome, check it. These people buggin. These people are STRAIGHT UP BUGGIN!"
Thanks for such a good time!
What you’re doing when you deliberately slow down like this is actually a method of teaching from the hermetic mysteries. It teaches obervance and patience.
There is a well known example of this in Pualo Coehlo’s novel, "Diary of a Magician".
What you guys did was an act of magic.
Awesome. The musical touch just proves that the deity of your choice has a sense of humor. I wish we had a branch in Pittsburgh.
Home Depot could incorporate this mission into an ad campaign: “Take your time, we’re here if you need us.” I hope this report finds its way to their corporate powers-that-be. Congrats to HD employees for having a sense of humor, sounding intelligent, and staying cool. Congrats to Charlie and the crew for their fine execution of another terrific mission. Reading about it and watching the videos made my day.
Heya! I’m the son from the family in the video, and the picture.
I’m 14 years old, my dad is 50, and my mom is 46. I found ImprovEverywhere when I saw the site linked to from a link-dump website that I frequent. It was the first mission I saw: The Best Buy mission. I was immediately hooked. I HAD to read more. I continued back to the site, always checking for updates, until I finally saw that I could join the group. I did so as quick as I can, and talked about it to my parents and friends all the time. I’d recap missions for them, ones that I had never been to. Finally, I got the email, and said, “Thank you, God (Agent Todd), for dropping this sure-to-be-delightful event right in my lap. I convinced my parents to take me, and my mom quickly decided that she would take part in the prank, as well as my father. I sat there, in awe. “I have the coolest parents…” I thought to myself, before finally breaking out of my Kodak-freeze-frame moment.
We packed up the car with Pringles, pretzels, water, and soda, and we were off to NYC. This was quite the adventure, seeing as we live a couple hours away. We’re from Glastonbury, Connecticut, which is right next to Hartford (our capital.) After looking for a parking garage, we found one only a few blocks away. I was so excited, with my red and black Wal-Mart watch equipped on my wrist.
We walk to the park, after getting some Wendy’s ice cream, and checking out the Flat Iron building (Sp??). We sat on a bench in the park, waiting, waiting, waiting. I had my head darting every which way, looking for any sign of someone I could recognize from the photos of previous events. With luck, Agent Todd walked right by us. I looked up, smiled, and said, “Hey man! What’s up?” As he continued to usher pass me, he gave a quick smile and nod. We wondered if we should follow him, eventually deciding that we would, but sit far enough away to not look correlated, figuring he didn’t want everyone all together before the big meet. We waited, I watched the group of people to my left, consisting of Agent Todd and the cameramen/women. The places they concealed their cameras were amazing. I was sitting there, saying to myself, “Man that’s cool…”
People quickly began to fill up this side of the park, laughing, talking, joking. It was so amazing. But I didn’t realize just how many people had come until everyone was called forward. I looked behind me, glad to be in the side/middle of the crowd. We were told what we had to do, being informed that ‘There is nothing illegal about shopping in slow motion.’ Me, my mom, my dad, and the rest of the IE agents went on our way. We dispersed across the park, to our destination. As we walked out, an older woman who was sitting with her husband on a bench asked us, “What was that all about?” My dad simply shrugged and responded, “Silliness.”
We made our way to Home Depot. I couldn’t help but watch the people in front of us, wondering what was going to happen to them when they arrived.
We arrive at our destination.
I walk in casually with my mom and dad, looking around, trying to find where to go up to the balcony, which is where we were assigned. Finding the stairs, I lead our way up. On the balcony is where they sell tile/material for counters, and large kitchen appliances (Refrigerators, stoves.) We walked normally for a bit, checking out each kitchen area, pointing out what looked nice, what we wanted or didn’t want. We had gotten just over to the stoves, before I saw people start moving in slow motion. This is when I tapped my dad, whose time was a bit off, to start going. I started to walk in slow motion, ignoring those around me, talking softly back and forth with my mom, conversing about the stove/oven in front of us. I began to walk back toward the refrigerators and kitchens, my mom still back and looking at the ovens, my dad in front of me. I get around the corner of the balcony, and turned to my mom, who was way behind. I wanted to make it more realistic. Cause a bit of chaos. So I looked at my mom, and shouted to her, “MOOOOM! MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMM!!! HURRY UP!!” In a deep, slowed voice. My mom recognized it was me, luckily, and shouted back, “WAIT A MINUTE!!” I continued to harass her, and she yelled back, “BEEE PATIENT!” It so kicked ass. I believe this is what started to get the employees on our side’s attention.
I slowly made my way back to where my mom was, and looked at the refrigerator she was looking at. I told her, in a raised, deep, slow voice, “It looks like the one we have at home!” There was a young woman looking at the ‘fridge right next to ours. My mom says, “I like that one…” as I tell her, “This one’s my favorite…” She played along, talking to my mother, not cracking a smile.
The employees definitely took notice. A young black female employee came up to us, trying to make conversation, trying to figure out what was going on. “..ARe you all together?” she asked us, “Do you need help? Are you alright? Are all of you together? Is this an act?” She continued to try and help us make a decision on a refrigerator, as we shook our hands, and answered in slow motion, acting as if we were confused.
My mom began to walk away, as customers, and employees watched us. She asked me, off to the side, “Are you alright?” I raised my eyebrow, turned my head to her and nodded, as if I didn’t know what she was talking about. She told me, “I was just wondering if you were okay, honey…” I responded, “I’m fine.” My voice exaggerated how slow we were going. I followed my mom, as we walked over to the other side of the balcony, where the tile was. We finally caught up to my dad, who had been looking at kitchen sets and tile for counters. I began to look through a book, asking my parents, “What’s your favorite brand?” as loud as I could without yelling. Finally, the time came to go normal. We walked, looked at tiles, discussed which were good, which were bad. I watched other agents discreetly, watching them to see when we should freeze. I was mid stride, with about six employees behind me, talking, and leaning over the railing. My dad was right in front of me, reading a sign, and my mom was ahead of him, looking at more tiles. I watched through a semi-transparent sign at two women, one in yellow, and one in brown, if I remember correctly. I watched to see when they moved. As we would still, Jewel’s hit song ‘Standing Still’ played on the radio. I admit, I smirked for a second, but no more. I quickly regained myself, midstride, standing still. Watching…Watching…Waiting…
As my dad comments in the interview videos, that was the longest five minutes of my life. You have a different perception of time when you’re going in slow motion, or standing still. It was awesome. However, it didn’t seem like the guys behind me noticed. As we stood still, a woman and a three men swerved their way through us. One looked my right in the face, smirking. He was smiling and softly laughing to himself. I ignored it. I had to. I would’ve laughed if I thought too much about it. Finally, I saw those two girls move. I moved as soon as they did, walking forward to my dad who was still standing in place. He moved when he saw me, and my mom when she saw him. We made our way slowly downstairs, hearing employees comment on what happened. I smiled, realizing that none of them knew that us three were a part of it. Just some more people walking by.
One man commented, “All of a sudden, everyone was just…STanding around!” another one saying, “I don’t understand it. It’s not like it’s RAINING outside!” and another snippet, “Oh, man. It was just like that time in Vegas! Remember?” I don’t know what happened in Vegas, but it must have been quite the event to have rivaled this prank.
We made our way to buy a small flashlight, not only to blend in with the rest of the people, but because we needed one. We got in line, and I saw many people who were part of the event buying things. It couldn’t have been a complete loss for Home Depot.
We went back to the park, and stood around a while. I was planning on meeting up with a woman I know from a community I am part of, called Unfiction. She finally found us, and we began talking in the middle of the park about the event, which she had not been able to attend. We looked around, seeing all the people, enjoying being part of the group, when suddenly rushed a bunch of people saying, “There’s the family! There’s the family!!” headed up by a camera. This struck me as odd. The event had lasted fifteen minutes. FIFTEEN MINUTES. And we had some kind of reputation. I was awestruck. Absolutely amazing. We gave our interview, and went out to dinner with Rose. It was an amazing experience that I will never forget.
Thank you, ImprovEverywhere, for letting me be a part of such an amazing experience. We had a ton of fun, and I plan on attending more of these events.
Hey, found ImprovEverywhere awhile ago and have been a fan since. This one is definitely one of my favorites now. You all did an amazing job, watching the video of everyone movign slow and frozen was incredible. Kudos to all the participants. Also, glad to see that the Home Depot employees had a sense of humor (my name’s Julian, same as the employee in the video!) as opposed to the management at Best Buy. Great job again IE, love it!
I’m sure the managment at Home Depot would have gotten all pissed if you had all shown up in orange aprons and did this, or if it had lasted longer then 15 minutes. But kudos to them for being cool about it for the time!!! Awesome job IE!
This was great!
It kinda reminds me of how it is when you are walking around in your own life or with your friends and things for you are going in slow motion and the world seems so fast around you. Or when you spend time on your own out in pubilc in places you don’t know anyone and you in your own head and space and everone else seems so far away.
Wow. Over and over again, mission is accomplished with hilarity and laughter. I do agree with Observer James here though. Pittsburgh really does need a branch. What’s your email Observer James? Email me at Stirfryboy@gmail.com if you ever get the chance.
During the event, my friend & I were on the balcony level. We played with the blinds for the slo-mo and closely (very closely!) examined a stove for the freeze.
During the slo motion, we had a very hard time maintaining a straight face because directly below us was another agent paging through the huge hanging rugs and the rack from which the rugs were hanging CREAKED loudly!
Thanks IE for a really fun afternoon!
I’m in the bright green shirt right behind Agent Todd in the group shot.
My favorite quote of the day came from two employees who were right behind me when I was frozen (I was right behind the agent with the tree, pushing down the button on a toaster.) They were arguing as to what it could be, when the other employee said, "Dude, this is an NYU psych experiment! I went to NYU, we did these things ALL the time at different stores!" Suuuuure.
This was my first mission, and I thought it was great! I can only hope to be invited to the next one. My boyfriend and I went and we walked in slow-mo in the basement…somehow there were barely any people around us….and then we went to the balcony level for the freeze time (sorry that we didn’t stay in our spot Todd…) and he could see everything while I stared at a very lovely green and marble kitchen set. On our way to the cashiers at the end, employees were commenting that "That was the scariest shit I’ve ever seen" and "I thought they were gonna kill us!" Needless to say we returned home with a shiny new blue mag lite…nothing illegal about shopping in slow motion!
Jeffry, there’s a local recruitment thread at the IE forums: http://www.improveverywhere.com/mb/viewforum.php?f=1&sid=3396f69566e2c74b70f2b57194cb4940
Hope that helps your search for prank-minded Pittsburghers.
The last guy in the last video talking about waving to the old lady in the scooter made me laugh so hard – how wonderful.
thank you for contributing to a happier society
Brilliant idea! Can’t be done any better!! Outstanding!!!
RESPECT to all of you!!!!
Get it. Sorry, this just seems childish and pointless. Maybe that is the point? If so, congrats. If not…nevermind I don’t even wanna know. Peace.
I’ve been a fan for years, but this is the first mission I made it to. I had a great time, and I even managed to pick up some hinge bolts I’ve been needing!
Many applause. A very worthy piece of societal entertainment. Art and creativity at its best. The human canvas.
This was my first IE event…I have to say I was mostly invisible in my section (Contractor Services) because even if I had been shopping in that section, as a non-construction worker (and a girl to boot) I would’ve been a nonentity to the staff anyway! I was filmed a lot by you guys although I guess I was invisible in the final results too :)
When our son Agent TOM-TOM, requested a family road trip to Manhattan, we assumed we’d take in a show and maybe do a little shopping. Hell, we had no idea that we’d be part of the show while shopping. Friends, It was a blast! We met a wonderful group of people. Good old fashion fun….only a little more modernized. Where do we go next? Thanx so much!
I very much enjoyed watching this. It inspired me. Thank you for that. We need more work that has a generous spark of creativity to it, that can spread a little joy. Thank you for sharing your work and thank you for charging my creative batteries today.
You know you live in a rich country when you have time to do this kind of stuff. Get a job you bums!
Too cool! That is one great performance.
Hmmm, if you can get this many people, how about a congo line?
Just have them file in in a large pack (this alone will get their attention) then blow a whistle, maybe play some music, and congo around for a while, then back outside and scatter.
Awesome stuff. Been a fan for ages, and I never get tired of seeing what you’ll come up with next.
And just figured I’d let you know that this one got you featured on Lore Sjöberg’s blog on Wired. So Congrats on that.
Keep up the great work.
I am so pissed off that I couldn’t make it.. I got off work at 3 o clock, overall was a horrible day.. I am definitely making it to the next mission!
LOVE this mission, but I think it would have been even funnier if there was a 5-minute segment of "rewing" shopping after the complete pause segment! Each agent could try to exactly reverse everything he’d done up to that point for 5 minutes. :)
Sorry, that was supposed to be "rewind"! :-/
U guys rock…i applaud each one of u for pullin it off. great work
This has to be the funniest damn thing I’ve seen in a long long time.
I love this ,Im not sure why but the whole thing gives me good shivers.
Keep doing your t…h….i….n…g!
This was my second mission, after the Mp3 Experiment a few months ago. I have to say, when I realized that Jewel song was playing on the PA, I thought, "There’s no way I’m going to be able to sniff this candle for the next five minutes with a straight face."
But I made it. And hopefully the gaggle of teenage girls shopping next to me the entire time were sufficiently freaked out by it all.
You guys are crazy! But I like it >:D I’m a weird guy and I like crazy stuff, so I say you guys are the true kings/queens of pranks ;)
This kind of confirms that since everything is art to someone then nothing is art. I agree with the comment that it seemed more like a prank.
What would be even better is to get a group of say 10 people, then every day picked one of the 225 people involved in this and surround that person around for an entire day moving in slow motion. Imagine them trying to get to work or pick up their kid from daycare and it takes them 3 hours. Fun huh? Now that’s art.
This is hilarious! More people should have a sense of humor in this world. Thanks for given me a good laugh and keep it up!
Todd Clark – broker
i just click play on the last 4 videos,all were playng at the same time.the sound track was pretty neat.i wish i could have had all the vids & sound playing at once on the screen.
I was amazed at how well everyone in the videos kept still. I was trying on gardening gloves, with my arm in the air, and it’s still sore. :^)
After the event, one of the employees asked me "Why were y’all moving in slow motion over there?" I said "What? There were people going in slow motion? That’s really weird." She turned to another employee and said "They’re all just messin’ with our heads."
I loved the employee in the clip who said "He takes his street theater very seriously." Street theater? What gave you that idea?
That was HYSTERICAL! A friend of mine showed me this and I am so glad! I wish somebody would do this down here in Atlanta!
Haha, this was great. A lot of these comments here remind me of Lorelai’s dilemma about holding still and not flinching through her cell phone ring (with Jewel substituting here for a cell phone ring) in the Festival of Living Art episode of Gilmore Girls..
Amazing, funny, creative!
this stuff should really be labeled art! this blows the mind for sure!! kinda reminds me of fight club as in somethin that could end up as a nation wide "assignment"
Wasn’t there, I’m way out in the desert in Arizona observing via the internet, and am profoundly effected by the irony of the chain of events that Made This Mission! Bravo!!!
This is great!! Loved it!
Great fun. Now, if we could only get people to stop and "think".
So much fun. Check out another first-person account at UNCOOLKIDS.com:
This is such an awesome concept. Keep up the awesome work -Rachael :)
Singer Songwriter from Melbourne Australia
Having recently moved to NY, I was on the effing edge of my seat in anticipation o finally participating in an IE Mission! But tragically, that Saturday found me in the emergency room. I was far less concerned about my injured foot, though, than I was about missing this, and now that I’ve checked out how much fun it looked…gaaah, my heart breaks anew. I do hope you call on your devoted IE Agents again in the near future!!
hey yall are awsome i would love to be ap=art of it if yall ever do it in louisiana.
That was great, genius, thanks for brightening my day!
Aw man, if I’d known about this beforehand I would have loved to participate. I was in NYC for vacation that weekend and everything. Can’t wait to read about the next mission!
I LOVED IT. MORE, MORE, MORE.
Loved it Loved it Loved it!!!!
I live down here in Florida where it seems like half the population live in slo-mo & the other half live in Miami!!!
Now everytime I shop in the local HomeDepot I’m going to smile in slo-mo thinking about this Improv gig!!!
Oh my goodness- what if everyone had worn orange shirt while doing this?!! There would definitely be a rash of ex-HomeDepot workers at the unemployment office!!!
Great job one & all. And a loud "shout out" to TomTom for keeping a straight face!
I dig your zany ways.
I thought that was great and so funny, but you took my idea lol. I have always wanted to do something like this, but no one would do it with me. So once again great orgainzation and you deserve an Oscar for the most funny,but disturbing skit I ever seen. You have to know you were funny cause my mom sent me a email about it and when I called her she just went on and on. So once again good work and I want to see what you do next. Idea do it around kids and watch their reaction.Some will cry, some will attack and some will get their mommy LOL.
Hey Kelli Girl, thanx for sharing this with me. It was a hoot. Wish something like this was going down in the Cali Bay Area. I’d be there in a sec! Glad you had the experience.
I was going to suggest that for your next mission you all jump a shark – but I see you did that at Home Depot.
I read this site for the truly wacky and artistic improv stuff. This mission felt more like a Jr. High prank my friends and I would pull.
IE is great because it has the power to pull off stunts that nobody else can. This last mission was not worthy.
IE needs to get back to its roots and shock, amuse and entertain people in the public space – not just mess with box store workers.
This is great! I work for Home Depot, and I can’t wait to bring my laptop in and show my coworkers this.. They’re going to love it! I’m going to submit this as a story suggestion to HDTV (our intercompany TV network), this way other employees can check it out.
Keep up the great work, and I’m looking forward to your next project!
AMAZING. This is what I want to do with my life.
really good, people seem to have enjoyed it allot, I do interventions sing the public..check out a ballet film we did with older people onthe streets of the North East…carry on the work
Your projects are amazing! In a class with Mary Overlie, we used to do similar antics, called Invisible Dance. Anything going on in Los Angeles??
Brilliant. Just amazing. I love reading the missions. Hope to be a part of one someday.
I don’t live in the US, have never been to NY but I love reading this site and imagining the reactions, scenery and fun people are having.
My daughter told me about this… what a scream! Totally loved it. Wish I could have been there. There are a lot of goofy customers somedays, but this tops them all. Great job. How about taking your friends to IKEA to have everyone speak in strong "Swedish" accents? B?)
With as fun as that was to read, this must have been increadible to be part of. To those who say that this isnt funny, what if its not meant to get a laugh? It seems to me that these are more about getting people to just NOTICE things instead of just laugh. If its funny, all the better, but the main reason is to just make people notice that something is different. I would say that was definatly done. I would love to see something from IE along the lines of an "on the road" style. not the "new branch in (insert city)" idea, just something where the IE people do something in other big cities.
Me, my family and friends found this really entertaining.I would like to do something like this in our simple corn state of Indiana.Anyone have ideas?My son suggested crop circles…
I thought this was just too funny! I worked for Home Depot for 4 years & I can just imagine what it would have been like if you would have done that in our store! They would have laughed about that for years! Great job!
Now this is just DOGGONE HILARIOUS!
Kudos to you all!
Very well performed!
I love it! I was in this very store back in July and only wish I had been there to witness this event!
Please see http://www.hd300.blogspot.com for more fun at HD’s exepense
You guys are great! What I love is how sophisticated yet "family" this project has gotten. Love the video clips – how you interview agents and then corroborate what they say with in-mission clips.
Fuckin’ genius!! Who says people can’t cooperate to do good?!
I just wish I could have taken part. I think it was great. Maybe next time you will do it in Frederick, MD. They would freak out!
You got hot linked on http://tech.msn.com/howto/article.aspx?cp-documentid=1027200
Just wanted to let you know…
Try this at Home Depot on northern boulevard in LIC. This place is always crowded and it would cause chaos!
I have had a really rough week and I stumbled upon this site by chance. With 3 kids, I’m not usually on the internet at all. Anyway – I really enjoyed it. It was so entertaining and interesting to watch your montage. Wish I could have been there or taken part in it. Keep up the good work!
grammatical error: ""it was as if the world was moving in fast forward.""
WAS is incorrect.l WERE is correct.
OOPS! Forgot to mention it is the second use of the word "was" to which I was referring. I also forgot to mention how much I enjoyed viewing this. Really funto watch and good work.
Gah! You guys at IE are the best. I wish there was a branch up in Canada, although I’d totally have a hard time holding laughter in if people were saying "ARE YOU BUGGIN’!?!? I ain’t buggin’!" I always love reading up about IE pranks since I am sadly deprived from actually attending them. :( Keep up the hilarious work!
WOW!!! You people are amazing i wish that people out here would do stuff like that where i work it’d be such a trip. ya’ll receive massive amounts of respect from me. i hope i get to see it or be in it one day that would so freakin sweet!!!
Hey, kudos to Improv for that much needed humor break. I have a good imagination and can only see in my mind what it would been like. I live in Africa and will see if I can try this around these parts…it will be quite the challenge as we already move in slow motion here …so I will try the complete opposite but will definitely do the BIG FREEZE…we can use that coz of the heat.I enjoyed reading about it all.
this is really cool. its going to be my goal to be in one of your missions some day.
this is real hooty mate
I wonder if you would get more obvious reactions from other shoppers and employess outside of NYC.
Can I get permission to repeat this mission in California?
To : McAllister
If you think that you need to get permission to do this kind of thing then I’d suggest you don’t do it… you obviously don’t have the mentality for it.
Just making sure it’s ok with them.
I was just randomly browsing digg.com and I came upon this “prank” and I thought I might take a look at it. You guys did an excellent job on this. I wish I could’ve been there when it happened. I will definitely be making a return visit to this site every once in a while to check out what hilarious things you all do next. Thanks for making me laugh! :D
I liked your presentation; it was very entertaining. I almost wish I could’ve taken part in it. I do like the idea of someone going in slow-motion all day long; that may be an idea for a future project. My only reservations are: I wish the camera shots were clearer and I wish there had been some audio of the people participating in the slow-motion to maximize the entertainment. All in all, though, very entertaining as it was.
Kudos to all of you for your jobs well done… I so wish I could join the crew.
Felaset comito ferrahiki sijee papafe leretrocco! Seced quamo mo felaset juji keta frusha jela set.
This experiment was so interesting to watch. I would like to participate in next experiment.
hahahahahah magical, im glad you made people smile
great site guys
this is the funniest thing i have ever seen. OMG LMAO. this was such a great idea, props to everyone that was in it for having patience and keeping a straight face.
At Target everyday is slo-mo. Sometimes i just want to scream out of my lungs “MOVE BITCH, MOVE”
This is the coolest thing i’ve seen in a while. when are you coming to seattle? I want to particapate!!
You guys are fantastic. Watching Slo-Mo Home Depot actually made me get all chocked up. Participation art! Love it.
This is so awesome. I’m a 61 yr old woman and live in the backwaters of Indiana where no one has joyful ideas like this. I’d love to participate in an improv.
The Jewel song was a crazy coincidence, but The Madame Tussauds bag seen in the sped-up YouTube vid is more subtle!
Given that Tussauds is a wax museum, where the subjects are – you guessed it – standing still.
that’s wonderful ! this free, voluntary and gratuitous kind of acts can not only be amuzing and entertaining but may provide also in some ways some food for thoughts…
I would be interested in knowing whether the participants in those pranks had somehow their perspectives/point of views changed.
Hello, I’m not from England nor America but i think i could start an Improveverywere group in DK (denmark) I have a few buddies who know website pogramming ad a popular Danish website wich all of DK’s population visits once in a while. I think it would be a succes here. Email me if you want me to try starting a group here.
THe irony of that song is just way to awesome, if I could participate, I would.
How do you guys know when the time is up if you pose in such a way that you’re not looking at your watch? Do you set your watches to chime or something? I know it sounds like a stupid question, but just curious. You know – i read a lot of comments from people who think the idea of doing this is disruptive or stupid – but for me it’s just clean, safe, and funny. Considering that this world is so polluted with corruption, hatred and fear – its just refreshing to discover an organization that would take the time to unite people for wacky and zany hijinx. No one gets hurt and it looks like so much fun. If you guys ever wanna take a trip out here to Portland, I’d love to join up.
Funny thing is my friends and i allways go round doing stuff like this and i think its grate that its not only use who are haveing fun with something that is soooo simple…
You need to do this is Washington DC. You will freak the Powers. But it has to be on the Mall or on the street around the Capitol or the WH. Doing it uptown like 14th Street, or no one will notice.
you guys rock…
I have been pulling stunts and social experiments like these for years
I had no idea there were so many people interested in this sort of thing.I’m kinda blow away anybody want to do this in LA or SD
Love it! mess with normality without hurting no one…
A friend and me sit in a bar drinking, then slip on gimp masks and continue as normal.. the reactions and mental!!
some people get pissed off, some get nervous &laugh, but most try to ignore us (but you know they cant ;-)
keep up the good work!
My friend and I do this kind of thing sometimes, and we were so happy when we found out about Improv Everywhere. It’s great to knwo I’m not the only person who likes to do random stuff like this. I would love to have been there, I can go forever in the same position!!
This is a beautiful thing. This is art. I love you, IE.
That is so cool…I wanna do it……cooooll
when i listened to the guys comment on the last video i started laughing really hard cause for some reason it was the funniest thing i had heard all day. i could just pictur it in my head
Do you have a photo that you could send me of your shopping carts for kids to ride in? I want to show my niece and entice her to come to Home Depot and also take a class – Thanks
Looks like Home Depot saw a spike in sales from all the extra shoppers. What kind of Home Depot is that? Can you really buy like a 16 foot, pressure treated 2×10 there?
My buddy sent me this link to the video over myspace one day….I watched it because I’am a Home Depot employee in Wisconsin. If I would have seen people doing that at my store I would have laughed my ass off! Our whole store employees would have probably laughed too! Good jokes guys!
I live in a state college town, and I am now determined to make this happen where I live, too. Wish me luck!
quote from the stupid co worker “no i only saw them for like 20 minutes”
That was one of the most literally emotional pranks I have ever seen. The fact that Jewels started playing got my eyes teared up. Because like if you look into it deeply its relateable to life for some strange reason, The ability to just live in slo-mo and to just stand still its freaking genius and pure art. I love the work you guys do!
If I EVER see something like that, I’ll know it’s you. I would be talking to my sister (who is also in love with IE) about it. That would be sooooo cool
as an employee of Home Depot in Norman Ok. I was greatly entertained. I can only imagine what was going on in the heads of the employees of that store. Great job guys.
My mom, Ruth, and her sister, Sally, both in their late teens in 1921, did one of the FIRST PUBLIC IMPROVs I think. They separately got on to a Boston bus, pretended they didn’t notice one another, sat down opposite and then made a HUGE PUBLIC SCENE as though they were long lost friends from grammar school. I heard that story all through their long lives- they had so much fun doing it. I wish they were alive now because they would so much love to hear what you guys are doing.
Definetely my favorite improv everywhere! so halarious to see one of the home depot workers face after seeing someone freeze!!!!!he just stared at him like :/ im in california and i would LOVE to be in a mission!
Hahah! The guy in the basement felt sooo bad! :P
I would’ve, too! xD
Be glad this didnt happen during ur little experiment…
Really…u should do this and home or at school… very unsafe to do in public.
Why don’t you do these sorts of antics in a far superior city such as Philadelphia? Which has a far larger Home Depot? Several, in fact.
How can I start something like this in Rhode Island?
Maybe put together a troup in Providence artea
I need to be in this.
It appeared to me from the video that, like most people in New York, the other shoppers really didn’t take much notice of the people frozen in place… I am sure there WAS some real reaction but none shown on the video.
I absolutely LOVE the Improv Everywhere “happenings”… And I love the way that everything is so positive. Nothing is ever mean-spirited or designed to embarrass non-participants. You make people think, enjoy a wondrous moment of communal “engagement” and THAT is what improv should be…