Is The “Useless Plastic Box” A Best Buy Exclusive?

Earlier this month, some Best Buy shoppers in the L.A. area began noticing a peculiar new offering on their shelves: A Useless Plastic Box, or rather the “Useless Plasticbox 1.2,” all for the low, low price of $99.99.

“Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home,” reads the product description on the tag. “New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is to short to be of use.”

And just in case your Plasticbox 1.2 does work, like it’s not supposed to, don’t go complaining to the manufacturer.

Under the Manufacturer’s Warranty heading, it reads, “There is no warranty with this piece of crap. If you are dumb enough to buy it you deserve all you get.”

You can buy add-on Geek Squad protection plans for one or two years.

If you’re still living in 2010 and really enjoy scanning QR codes, the prankster behind this bit of fun will be revealed, as the code on the tag takes you to the website for L.A.-based street artist Plastic Jesus, who has a bunch of photos of his latest project.

So what is Mr. Jesus hoping to accomplish with this “product bombing”?

“How often do we pay out hundreds or thousands of dollars [for gadgets] and in-fact the product will not do much of what it is claimed,” he explains to Melrose and Fairfax. “The frustration these things actually create in out lives is far greater than any possible benefits.”

He mentions the all-too-frequent consumer complaint of being abandoned by manufacturers after they’ve received your money, often being forced to deal with outsourced, under-informed customer service reps.

“We all need to make a strong statement to gadget manufacturers and demand products that work and customer support that actually support the customer and not the profit of the companies,” he explains.

For its part, Best Buy is taking the prank in stride:

“A few stores were affected and the boxes were removed immediately. We are also flattered that Best Buy is so top of mind for Mr. Plastic Jesus, and are happy that he presumably had the opportunity to witness our expert Blue Shirts and Geek Squad members in action during his visits. Hopefully he also had the chance to check out our fabulous back to school deals.”

We’re hoping that Mr. Jesus makes a Walmart exclusive, Plasticbox 1.2W, that is somehow even more useless and is made with inferior materials in order to meet that retailer’s pricing demands.

Meanwhile, we’re going to wait until Plasticbox 1.3 comes out before we consider buying one. At the very least, the price on version 1.2 will drop to a more reasonable amount.

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.