The Costco Price Tag Prank

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

Fake Costco TagsOn a recent trip to Costco, Internet prankster Rob Cockerham of cockeyed.com noticed that the on-shelf price tags used there are rather generic. Realizing he could easily duplicate them, he decided to create a line of fictitious products. He then enlisted the help of Twitter followers to place these tags at Costco stores around the country.

I detailed my participation in this adventure for Rob, and I’m reprinting it below.

  • Upon arriving, I snapped a picture of the exterior. I figured I should do this now, instead of trying to capture a blurry shot over my shoulder as I fled the rent-a-cops on the way out. Then I realized this giant big box warehouse store had a very nice view of lovely downtown Boston. When customer complaints caused by the bait and switch going on there inevitably put this location out of business, I’m planning to swoop in to buy the property, then erect luxury condominiums.

    I got in and scoped out the Wii area, but had a hard time deciding how to place the tag, so I moved on to the second tag. The infant diapers and infant formula seemed like perfect neighbors for the “Human Infant Skull Replica” tag, because I’m a terrible person.

    The first picture I snapped had the flash on, and came out poorly. It does however capture an employee back in the stocking area, oblivious and texting away.

    A close-up shows the tag in place, right next to Kirkland Signature Infant Formula. When sold next to a replica infant skull, “infant formula” takes on a more sinister tone, of a formula for producing infants. Creepy! I also grabbed a pic of myself laughing next to the tag.

    I grabbed some food, then circled back to the Wii area, which was in the center portion of the store. The problem here, aside from the area’s higher exposure, was that the signs used there were much larger. There was a gap where the tag could have gone, but it would have been too small and out of place. Also, it was impossible to reach without completely blowing my perfect cover of “guy buying food at Costco”. Instead, I opted to put the sign lower – I think it worked well. Close up, it seems to fit right in. I was pleased.

    After getting the tags in place, I circled around a bit and saw one woman staring, confused, at the Wii NIS sign. I chuckled, and then hightailed it to the register, as much as one can hightail it while carrying two giant boxes of Life cereal and a two pound tub of hummus. The store was fairly dead on a Tuesday afternoon, but I’m hoping the signs will last for a few days, until the weekend.

I do wish I could have seen more confused folks, but sometimes, it’s enough to know that it happened. You can see many other fake tags (including my favorites, “Drunk Food” and “Genuine Poodle Hat”) and read the full account, over on Cockeyed.


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