In an era when many YouTubers are resorting to ridiculous and bordering-on-illegal stunts to generate views, what these two guys did is quite refreshing. After all, their Walmart prank was simple but hilarious.
JStuStudios is a popular YouTube channel created by 22-year-old comedian Justin Stuart of Colorado Springs. He posts new videos weekly, with the help of 24-year-old fellow prankster Andrew Scites.
Their channel focuses on pranks that range from eating loudly at the library to pretending to be obnoxious billionaires. The jokesters started their YouTube experiment back in 2011 and have since amassed more than a million subscribers.
On August 19, 2015, then, the guys headed down to their local Walmart to play out their latest prank. And for this particular stunt, they would need to make use of the store’s toilet paper aisle.
The dup were no doubt inspired by that popular playground activity of building a makeshift fort out of blankets and furniture. But what Stuart and Scites had in mind was a much more complex variation of this childhood pastime, and they would be using packaged toilet paper as their primary material.
Their plan was to create walls out of toilet paper on the shelves, with a hidden space inside. The difficult part, of course, would be constructing this while the store was still operating as normal.
So, with the help of their girlfriends, they started out by creating an outside wall that would look similar enough to the store’s normal product arrangement. Next, they headed inside the shelves to free up enough space to sit in.
Ensuring that they always had at least one person posted outside to keep watch, the group finished constructing the walls by plugging up all the open spaces. This would prevent any shoppers or Walmart staff noticing what’s inside.
They also hid the entrance to the fort by making it twist around a corner. This way, passing shoppers wouldn’t notice any strange gaps at the end of the shelves.
The success of their construction was proven by the people that passed through the aisle oblivious. Having confirmed that their fort was being completely ignored by passersby, the team could now move on to customizing it from the inside.
Confident that nobody would discover their creation while they were gone, the group headed out to different sections of the store to look for accessories. After all, they were determined to turn the fort into a fully liveable apartment.
They gathered carpets, fake flowers and fruits, framed pictures, and the most important item – furniture. With a total of three chairs and everything else in tow, the group made their way back to furnish the fort.
They started by putting the plush chairs in the main lounge area, along with pictures and other decorations. This unconventional living room was large enough to easily fit all four of them.
Next, they outfitted the smaller “princess room” at the other end of their fort, so named for its Disney princess-themed bed and accessories. This room was connected to the lounge by a long narrow hallway, and it even boasted a nearby mock-up bathroom.
The pranksters even planned to build an “observatory” and a penthouse on the second level of the shelves. However, their plans were thwarted by store staff who began stocking the aisle’s shelves.
Plus, customers began to unwittingly dismantle the outer walls of the fort, so staff would surely soon to discover that the inside of the shelves were hollow. Therefore, the jokesters were forced to abandon their new home. As they headed out of the store, though, they vowed to complete a fort with two levels in the future.
This, however, was not their first attempt at fort-making. Stuart and Scites made their initial toilet-paper-fort video back in 2014, and it proved to be highly popular. Since then, they’ve been overwhelmed with requests for more paper fort pranks, resulting in a total of six videos.
This particular fort video, though, has garnered more than a million views on the guys’ second YouTube channel, MoreJStu. But it wasn’t until it was posted on Facebook that the video went truly viral, attracting some 20 million views in just three days.
The video has generated a lot of discussion. While most commenters praised the pranksters for doing something perfectly legal and harmless to have a little fun, others criticized them for creating more work for Walmart’s workers.
But, if comments by Walmart employees are any indication, in the end, their prank might actually do more good than harm. As former overnight shift worker Tony Campion commented on the Facebook video, “People like this make the overly boring and repetitive overnight work ritual more bearable.”