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Best Buy Invaded By Blue Shirt Improv Artists 399

Posted by Zonk
from the actual-wisdom-of-the-crowds dept.
deviantphil writes "About 80 Improv Everywhere agents invaded their local Best Buy store wearing blue shirts and Khakis. Eventually they were asked to leave, but not before capturing some great photos and video." From the article: "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!'" Their inspired cellphone symphony from this February is also well worth checking out.
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Best Buy Invaded By Blue Shirt Improv Artists

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  • Thrown out? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Average_Joe_Sixpack (534373) on Friday May 05, 2006 @07:47PM (#15274367)
    What a waste ... they were probably more helpful than the regular employees
    • This guy [vimeo.com] wasn't very helpful. Neither were the other four people before him.
    • And when they said they didn't work on commission, it really was true...
  • by Hulkster (722642) on Friday May 05, 2006 @07:48PM (#15274371) Homepage
    Then I don't know what is ... ;-)

    Well done Improv'ers ...

  • by technoextreme (885694) on Friday May 05, 2006 @07:48PM (#15274372)
    Hmmmm.... Imagine if the entire population of Slashdot each received one. Think of the possibilities. Also, can't this be considered Slashdoting something physically.
    • Also, can't this be considered Slashdoting something physically.

      Only if the customers starting using so much electricity that the building started to melt :)

    • Think of the possibilities.

      Get yours.
    • Also, can't this be considered Slashdoting something physically.

      Big public wanking sessions are generally looked down upon.

    • My mother sent me two Geek Squad shirts...

      The Geek Squad employees wear white short sleeve dress shirts, black pants, black shoes, and a black clip on tie. The black shirts with the Geek Squad logo on them were used during the Geek Squad roll out by all employees throughout the stores.

      By the way, I still have like 4 blue Best Buy shirts and 3 black ones if anyone is interested. Size Large and X-Large.
      • and a black clip on tie.

        In my youth i had an embarassing job requiring a half-assed bow-tie--not the tying kind, the clipping shut kind. I swore after that I would never wear a clip-on tie, and learned to tie a necktie two ways REALLY well, and a third half-assed way, which I don't use.

        Now that I know how, I can't believe I ever DIDN'T know. As a matter of pride, if I worked at the Geek Squad (I don't) I'd buy my own regular necktie. Clip-ons are... um... not a good look.

  • Wow (Score:5, Interesting)

    by inexion (903311) on Friday May 05, 2006 @07:56PM (#15274404)
    These people rock, I heard a story about them a while back on NPR on This American Life http://207.70.82.73/pages/descriptions/05/286.html [207.70.82.73]
    • Re:Wow (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Lepruhkawn (199083) on Friday May 05, 2006 @09:11PM (#15274682) Homepage
      I heard the This American Life thing as well.

      I think the leader of this group isn't very aware of himself emotionally/psychologically. He's too comfortable manipulating people. These kinds of "performances" seem to come from having difficulty in asserting boundaries and allowing other people to assert their boundaries. He's not very empathetic and expects people to have the emotions he imposes on them and he even expects them to like it and is unreceptive if they don't.

      This touches on the fascination with Andy Kaufmann. Fans were interested in him for manipulating the emotions of other people with his pranks, but when they show up and he manipulates them by reading from a boring book, all of a sudden they're angry. "It's fine if he doesn't respect other people's boundaries but he better respect mine."

      I'm not saying these types of performances are unethical, but at least acknowlege them for what they are.

      Pranks that don't take into account the emotions of their targets are about exploiting other people for your own amusement. I don't look up to people who deny this. It just makes them more self-centered in my eyes.

  • by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland&yahoo,com> on Friday May 05, 2006 @07:57PM (#15274408) Homepage Journal
    Jeez, she should be fined.

    "Is this an emergency?"
    "Dear lord YES! there are people wearing Blue Shirt and Khakis! KAHKIS!!!"
    • by luvirini (753157)
      Well, in some other countries the manager and the security people could get jail time.. lots of it for stopping a person from leaving without a serious enough actual law having been broken. Over here they could get upto 2 years of jail.
      • by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland&yahoo,com> on Friday May 05, 2006 @08:12PM (#15274461) Homepage Journal
        In California, If a security person detains you, you can Sue, and will probably win.

        Of course you have to ask to leave, and they imply that you can't ask.

        • by Main Gauche (881147) on Friday May 05, 2006 @10:41PM (#15274978)
          "In California, If a security person detains you, you can Sue, and will probably win."

          That's nothing. On Slashdot, you can make claims that lie somewhere between false and ambiguous, and will probably get modded +4 Interesting.
        • by jhylkema (545853)
          In California, If a security person detains you, you can Sue, and will probably win.

          Of course you have to ask to leave, and they imply that you can't ask.
          /*DISCLAIMER
          This is not legal advice. You are not a client. I'm not even an attorney. If you want legal advice, contact an attorney admitted to your jurisdiction's bar. What I am saying here is probably 100% wrong and if you do anything in reliance upon it, you are a blithering idiot who deserves whatever bad shit is very likely to befall you.

          DISCLAIM
      • by ceoyoyo (59147)
        There are fines or jail time for misusing 911 here too. When I read that bit that security held the guy for twenty minutes waiting for the cops the first thing I thought of was unlawful imprisonment too. I guess in the US in the name of national security you can get away with quite a bit. After all, blue shirts! BLUE SHIRTS!
        • This wasn't a misuse of the 911 system though. The store manager felt that the store was going to have some sort of mass robbery (think Ocean's Eleven pre-theft type of thing - pose as an employee to get access) or other oddity. Had the manager just felt it irritating but not threatening, then it indeed would have been a misuse of the system.

          But a security guy doing any sort of even holding is overstepping the line imo. Had the person being held actually done anything against the law (or visible store po

    • by merreborn (853723) on Friday May 05, 2006 @08:11PM (#15274459) Journal
      The cops took the whole thing really seriously, and gave a few people a lot of shit, if you read the whole page and watch all the videos.

      They get freaked out when people show up, act oddly, and video tape stuff.

      The manager *was* a total douche though: "You're violating my civil rights by filming in my store!".
    • by Anonymous Coward
      That's not quite as good as when they invaded the Virgin MegaStore [improveverywhere.com] and performed a choreographed dance at the listening stations. The manager also freaked out and called the police, resulting in this conversation:

      Megastore guy: They were all just standing there.
      Cop: What were they doing?
      Megastore guy: Just standing, and then they all danced.
      Cop: Did they say anything?
      Megastore guy: No.

      Pause

      Cop: Why are we here?
    • by Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) on Saturday May 06, 2006 @12:13AM (#15275343) Homepage Journal
      At least it's traditional. Best Buy is reported to have had customers arrested for trying to claim an advertised price [geek.com] and in one case for paying with legal tender [gizmodo.com].
  • by mabu (178417) on Friday May 05, 2006 @08:05PM (#15274437)
    Links to more info on the Best Buy incident [bsalert.com] here.
  • same group... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by cl191 (831857) on Friday May 05, 2006 @08:08PM (#15274452)
    FYI, this is the same group that did the fake U2 roof top concert the day before U2 actually plays in NY.
  • Spike (Score:3, Funny)

    by lunenburg (37393) on Friday May 05, 2006 @08:15PM (#15274477) Homepage
    Well, I _thought_ my server load was on the way down after three days of getting hammered by this story....
  • The Uniform (Score:5, Interesting)

    by texaport (600120) on Friday May 05, 2006 @08:21PM (#15274493)
    Twenty years ago it was nearly an artform at some after-work hangouts, for ladies to guess where a guy worked:
    navy pinstripe suits indicated a bank, doublebreasted suits meant insurance, charcoal gray suits were brokerages.

    Today it is trivial for 21-25 year old women; red shirt is a computer superstore, blue shirt is big box retailer, and
    white shirts with a yellow smiley face means WalMartians...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 05, 2006 @08:23PM (#15274505)
    I can appreciate the humor but I also understand why the Best Buy folks were freaked out by it.

    One time when I was working in the UC San Diego college bookstore back in the 1980's, a bunch of activists came in with cameras to film everybody and the inside of the store. They were eventually escorted out by Campus Security, but it really unnerved some people, because we weren't sure who they were or what they were going to do with film they shot. There was talk that the activists were going to identify us and attack us another time away from the store to get back at the "establishment" and those of us who were helping the "establishment".

    So I understand why the Best Buy folks might be a bit unnerved by this event. I suspect if I was an employee, I would have been also.
  • It's funny indeed (Score:5, Insightful)

    by citking (551907) <jay.citking@net> on Friday May 05, 2006 @08:30PM (#15274531) Homepage
    To all of the people who complain about the stunts, the immaturity, the panic, the idiotic ideas...lighten up!

    I hate to generalize (Ok, I love it, but pretend for a second I don't) but our society today needs some humor. We hear "terrorist this" and "gas prices that" and "x troops killed today in Iraq by insurgents..." every day. We seem so drenched in sadness and tragedy sometimes we forget what we are: free!

    As long as a flash mob/stunt doesn't injure innocent bystanders and cause undue distress to officials I don't see the harm. The way that these people carry out "missions" with their "agents" is harmless. I admit that there is no screening process and no, I wouldn't want to be a manager on duty that day at Best Buy. But these stunts are things that you can look back upon 2 days, 2 weeks, 2 months, or 2 years later and grin. We need humor! I give my props to the people who have the audacity to go out there, do something very strange while surreptitiously documenting it, and post it for the rest of us to enjoy later! Way to go!

    In a world filld with bad news, depressing ideas, and bad people, it's enlightening to smile at the deeds of others without having read it on Fark [fark.com] or the Darwin Awards [darwinawards.com].

    I know I enjoyed the missions (the pantsless ones are priceless!) and I think that they have a great way of making people laugh. If you don't enjoy, that's fine. I don't get British humor and I hate Monty Python. Some humor isn't for everybody. But lighten up!
    • I'm kinda mixed on this one.

      On one hand, there should be nothing wrong bunch of people getting together in public.

      But ... it is disturbing when you are not part of the crowd/don't get it. Imagine if you held an open party at a public park and suddenly a bunch of people you don't know showed up dressed in all leather and large hats. Is that funny or unsettling? How would you feel about a bunch of people who effectively hijacked your party because they thought it would be fun?

      >As long as a flash mob/stu
    • Another example. Mario Blocks Cause Bomb Scare [gamedaily.com]. I feel sorry for those who react with fear instead of curiousity to semi surreal events like these.

      No, people do not respond like that everywhere. Thank god.

      *considers installing Flash 8 to take a closer look at Agent Reeves*
    • I hate to generalize (Ok, I love it, but pretend for a second I don't) but our society today needs some humor. We hear "terrorist this" and "gas prices that" and "x troops killed today in Iraq by insurgents..." every day. We seem so drenched in sadness and tragedy sometimes we forget what we are: free!


      Sir, Please run for president because i want to vote you into office.

      This is exactly correct. I think its important that we have fun and remember we are free people. This group of 80 "agents" are a reminder th
  • Unreported (Score:5, Funny)

    by Zepalesque (468881) on Friday May 05, 2006 @08:56PM (#15274625)
    Unreported were 5 red-shirt clad improv artists at the same event. Unfortunately they all were all killed by a freak car accident in the parking lot ;)
  • by kbob88 (951258) on Friday May 05, 2006 @08:58PM (#15274636)
    Try wearing khaki pants, a white button down shirt, and a tie next time you shop at the supermarket. I used to have to wear that at work, and we'd often go to the Jewel supermarket deli counter for lunch. Usually I'd get mistaken for a store manager at least once per visit.

    Eventually I stopped trying to tell little old ladies that I didn't work there. I had gotten to know the store well enough that it was easier to just tell them where their item was...
    • Try wearing khaki pants, a white button down shirt, and a tie next time you shop at the supermarket.

      Or at a Fry's.

      I can one-up you. More than a few times I've been in a thrift store and mistaken for someone who works there simply because of being a guy who doesn't look confused and lost. Never mind that the other employees are clearly wearing identically-colored vests with the thrift store logo on them.

  • "Thomas Crown Affair! Thomas Crown Affair!," one employee shouted.

    Please, allow me to quote Dice Clay.

    "You fucking geek." :-)
  • by artifex2004 (766107) on Friday May 05, 2006 @09:49PM (#15274769) Journal
    [from Agent Ace$Thugg:] 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.


    Are people really that scared of single adult males, now? Because it probably wasn't to do with his appearance...

  • Hysterical. (Score:5, Funny)

    by sootman (158191) on Friday May 05, 2006 @09:58PM (#15274793) Homepage Journal
    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.
    • by Gnavpot (708731)
      I sold my first vacuum cleaner. Damn, it feels good.
      Many years ago, my wife and I were looking for a new car. We went into a car shop, a salesman greeted us, asked what car we were looking for and gave us a lot of guidance. Some time later, another salesman took over, and the first one left.
      "Huh, where did the other salesman go?".
      "That was not a salesman. He was just in to pick up his new Audi A8."
  • Walmart (Score:3, Funny)

    by Davus (905996) on Friday May 05, 2006 @10:20PM (#15274882) Homepage
    Related to my life.
    A few times, going into Walmart wearing my "Your Company's Computer Guy" [jinx.com] shirt, I was asked for assistance, because of the way Walmart employees wear those vest-like things. Sure, it's a totally different shade of blue, and a different style, but that didn't stop them. ;)
    And yes, I did help them even though they realized mid-question that I don't work there.
  • Bravo! (Score:3, Funny)

    by Easy2RememberNick (179395) on Friday May 05, 2006 @11:43PM (#15275219)
    I loved it! Fantastic idea.

      It's too bad they didn't really clown around a bit, act like cockroaches, walk into walls, curl up on the floor and go to sleep, do a little dance; perhaps The Robot etc..
  • by fishbowl (7759) on Saturday May 06, 2006 @03:16AM (#15275805)
    This is just a special case of a general phenomenon -- people in a uniform, even if it's just a shirt color, tend to become defensive about that uniform.

    I once had a temp job at a hospital loading dock. Horrible, crummy job, but it was a job. So all the people on the loading dock wore brown polyester pants, white shirts, and black shoes. So, my second day, I wore brown polyester pants, a white shirt, and black shoes. I was reprimanded for "wearing a dock uniform", paid for a half day, and asked not to return.

    A different situation: There was a Greek Festival, where all the food service people were wearing black pants or skirts, white shirts and a black hat. My girlfriend and I happened to both be wearing black pants, white shirts, and we each had a black hat, all coincidentally (we didn't even know about the festival, just chanced upon it), and so we just sort of hung out for a while and all the workers treated us like we were hosts not patrons. We ate and drank for free and hung out while everybody partied after the festival was over.

    Anyway, if you wear a blue shirt to Best Buy I'm sure they can throw you out if the laws of your state allow it, "for any reason", but not just because you wore a blue shirt, unless they eject *everyone* wearing a blue shirt (not just you.)

    The band of pranksters could test this by being not just a bunch of clowns, but some organization whose uniform is *also* well-established as blue shirts and khakis, go in the store with legitimate business, and get kicked out for no reason other than their attire, they might be able to force the store manager to explain to a judge why he considered a shirt and khakis to be inappropriate attire, or whatever was his bais calling the police was.

    But in this case, it is clear that the group was intentionally creating a disturbance, and that it was not terribly difficult to get a police officer to agree. If a reasonable person believes your intent is to disturb the peace (which it clearly was) then I hope it was enough fun to be worth the potential legal hassle.
  • by joto (134244) on Saturday May 06, 2006 @10:14AM (#15276712)
    There are lots of things you can do that frustrate other people. Having a crowd dress in the same clothes as shop employees only frustrate shop employees/managers/security is one alternative. But I really fail to see why you think it's so funny.

    Yes, you aren't exactly doing something "illegal", but your intention is obviously to make life harder for other people, which in my book counts as "immoral" (at least as long as these "other people" haven't done anything wrong towards you!)

    I find the whole episode comparable to someone who have gotten hold of some disappearing ink [penguinmagic.com], spray it on random peoples shirts, and then write a web-page about it where they talk about how angry some people became because of this, even though it was just an innocent gag.

    I'm sorry, but if some random person sprayed my shirt with disappearing ink, I would not find it funny. And if some random crowd of people had agreed to enter my store with clothes similar to the uniform of my employees, I wouldn't find it funny either. Now, had the random person in either case, been someone I knew and trusted, I might have reacted otherwise, but this depends a bit more upon the situation. When doing practical jokes, it's a fine line between what's funny and what's just cruel.

    Oh, by the way, I killed your dog just to see how you'd react. But don't worry, here's a new one...

"Only the hypocrite is really rotten to the core." -- Hannah Arendt.

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