The artist known as Plastic Jesus on Friday stocked shelves at five local stores with black boxes beside price tags matching Best Buy labels that read "Useless Plasticbox 1.2" for $99.99.
The "warranty" says, "If you are dumb enough to buy it you deserve all you get."
Plastic Jesus, who would not give his real name, told The Times in an email that the items were placed at stores in Hollywood, West Hollywood, Sherman Oaks, Atwater Village and Burbank, and one piece remained on the shelf for at least four days.
Best Buy spokesman Jon Sandler confirmed the boxes were placed in "a few" L.A. stores. "We realized pretty quickly, and the folks at the stores took them down," he said.
Plastic Jesus said the pieces were a play on the country's — and the artist's own — obsession and frustration with "latest must-have gadgets."
"We are sold this equipment, often with the pre-release hype lasting many weeks, and told 'this gadget is THE one' the one that will change our life, only to be left disappointed," the artist said.
Other L.A. street artists have put hoax artwork on display.
Last year, an artist known as Wild Life turned eight neighborhood landmarks into "art" installations, including a downtown dumpster with an official-looking placard claiming it was designed by Andy Warhol.