Feb. 16, 2011 at 3:18 PM ET
Picture this: A bunch of people are innocently going through their daily work activities when a masked man with mysterious metal objects in his hands walks into the office and demands that everyone "go to the lobby." Is this a criminal situation of sorts, a poorly thought-out marketing stunt or the weirdest news item you'll read about all day?
Answer: D, all of the above.
Engadget pointed out a report by KXAN which describes how a marketing stunt intended to promote the new Dell Streak tablet —which can dock with Harley-Davidson motorcycles — ended with a visit from a SWAT team, two arrests and 400 terrified people.
Apparently someone at Dell decided it'd be a bright idea to rally all employees at the Round Rock, Texas campus buildings into the lobby for some sort of internal promotional event by having a guy "dressed as a biker in all black with a black mask" walk around waving "small metallic objects," KXAN reported. Since no one except for that man's supervisor was aware of the stunt Monday, a few people freaked out and called the cops:
When officers stormed the place, they say one man refused to comply with officers.
"If it wasn't serious enough that elevated it to extreme risk scenario," said Round Rock police spokesperson Eric Poteet.
But 11 minutes into the situation police determined the masked man and another man were part of an in house marketing plan but told nobody about it.
"Through a series of misinterpretation, miscommunication this sent a lot of others into a controlled panic," said Poteet.
In the end, no one was hurt and order was quickly restored. The two employees involved in the stunt — 48-year-old Bryan Chester and his supervisor, 36-year-old Daniel Rawso — did wind up facing misdemeanor charges of deadly conduct and interfering with public duties, though.
The whole mess was "an unfortunate choice," Dell spokesman David Frink told KXAN. But to us it's just the most amusing thing that's we've heard about all day. We just hope to never experience anything like it at our own offices.