It’s stupid, reckless, wasteful, destructive and immature – though, okay, if you tap into your inner 12-year-old, maybe just a little bit amusing. But it’s wrong. Bad, bad and wrong. And copycats are never as good as the original anyway.
That said, what started out as a dumb prank by a trio of Virginia teenagers quickly became an internet meme. And grocery stores across the country are hoping the popularity of “Gallon Smashing” fades faster than you can say “Harlem Shake.”
If you haven’t already seen the video (provided above for your viewing pleasure), “Gallon Smashing” went viral a few weeks ago, after it was uploaded to YouTube. As performed by the self-proclaimed prankster brothers, Zayd, Faysal and Omar Khatib, the video consists of a string of clips shot at various suburban Washington, DC grocery stores. One of the three brothers carries two gallons full of milk or juice, pretends to slip and fall in increasingly elaborate fashion, the gallons smash onto the floor and hilarity ensues.
At least that’s what the brothers, and millions of internet viewers, thought. But police and grocery stores dealing with copycat gallon smashers aren’t finding it so amusing.
There have been reports from all over the country of teens pulling the same prank. And as everyone gets wise to the scheme, more of the pranksters are getting caught. In the past week alone, two teens were arrested for disorderly conduct and damage to property at a Walgreens in Peru, Illinois, five were arrested in Hannibal, Missouri, police are preparing to press charges against a teen in Newfane, New York, and it’s even spread internationally. In one of the dumbest moves associated with a dumb trend, four teens in Portadown, Northern Ireland were caught after one posted a video of their gallon smashing prank on his Facebook page, and tagged his three co-conspirators.
And those are only the cases of people who’ve been caught. There have been endless reports of similar incidents, in which the gallon smashers got away before authorities were called. In other cases, culprits who got caught were lucky in that the stores didn’t press charges. After an incident at a Walgreens in Reading, Pennsylvania last week, a police report notes that “youths were throwing gallons of milk inside the store. Police stood by while the youths cleaned up the mess they made. The manager was satisfied with the cleanup. The youths’ parents were notified.”
But what makes gallon-smashing teenagers chuckle even more than filming, watching and sharing their exploits? Listening to all of those humorless adult authority figures admonish them. “If I were a parent, I’d have a harsh discussion and make sure they weren’t participating in this,” one police officer told the Los Angeles Times. “It’s a prank. However, we don’t find it to be amusing,” a Wegmans manager told the Buffalo News. “Get out of my store, you kids!” a finger-wagging old man said – ok, so that part’s not really true, but teenagers would sure find it funny if it was.
The teens who started it all claim they meant no harm. “It was just an innocent prank,” Omar Khatib told the TV show “Right This Minute.” “No one got hurt, nothing bad happened.” Well, except for the mess they didn’t have to clean up, or pay for.
The boys have gotten the attention they sought, for their YouTube channel that features a number of their other pranks. “We probably won’t do anything this bad again,” Faysal Khatib said, adding that they’ll “probably calm it down a little.”
Their latest video prank features them drinking out of brown paper bags in a department store, and filming other shoppers’ reactions.
Charming. At least no one has to clean up after them this time.
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