My main takeaway from the Age of Swatting was that the art of pranking had gone stale. Teenagers too smart for their own good had essentially uncovered a red button that, when pushed could, without a trace, send a SWAT team to the house of any random person or celebrity. How boring!
But thankfully a new prank trend has emerged to rescue this great nation from unimaginative jokesters. On Friday night, a man called up a Burger King in Coon Rapids, Minn. posing as a firefighter. The man told the manager there that gas levels had reached a point where the restaurant would soon explode. He further instructed them to flee the building and smash the windows open.
“Officers arrived and found that the manager and employees of the Burger King were smashing out the windows,” Boone said. “The manager explained they’d received a phone call from a male who identified himself as a fireman who said there were dangerous levels of gas in the building and they had to break out all the windows to keep the building from blowing up.”
He added: “The manager was frantic and actually believed the building was going to blow.”
As the Washington Post points out, “getting fast food employees to break their restaurant’s windows by convincing them that the building is about to burst into smithereens” has recently become very popular. Since the beginning of the year, windows have been shattered in Oklahoma and Phoenix and California.
There is a lot to like about this prank. It is creative. The only victim is a guy who owns a fast food restaurant. Though the workers may be stricken with a momentary panic, the end result of the prank may be cathartic. The dudes in Office Space beating the shit out that printer is a memorable scene because every powerless low-level employee has had the urge to heroically destroy business property.
But perhaps the best part is that this prank can’t continue on for much longer. Unlike the police, fast food employees have no social duty to treat every threat as if it’s real. Also, they can just call 911 and quickly find out if the fire department is indeed imploring them to immediately break their restaurant’s windows. The answer, of course, will always be “no.”
One assumes that will start happening if people try and pull this shit for much longer. The prank will have a short lifespan, but it will have burned brightly.