Consumerism is the target -- but plastics are part of the punch line -- in a joke from Los Angeles street artist Plastic Jesus.
The prank: the artists smuggled plain black plastic boxes into Best Buy stores in Los Angeles, with realistic-looking product tags that list the retail price at $99.99, according to the Melrose and Fairfax blog.
"Useless Plastic Box 1.2," the tag reads. "Another useless gadget you don't really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of use."
According to Melrose and Fairfax, Plastic Jesus says "that these pieces were motivated by deeper concerns about consumerism."
Would a useless cardboard box be as funny? Of course not, because plastics and consumerism are linked in the public's mind. "Useless plastic box" will resonate, unfortunately.
For some reason, this reminds me of that famous line from that Dustin Hoffman movie -- you know the one.
Postscript: Jon Sandler, a spokesman for Best Buy, sent this statement about the "Useless plastic box" prank:
"A few stores were affected and the boxes were removed immediately. We are flattered that Best Buy is so top of mind for Mr. Plastic Jesus, and are happy that he presumably had the opportunity to witness our expert Blue Shirts and Geek Squad members in action during his visits. Hopefully he also had the chance to check out our fabulous back to school deals."
I'm not sure if Best Buy is in on the joke.