Smart Car Tipping, Latest in Trendy Pranks

Alexandra DiPalma
Smart Car image via

You know the sinking feeling of walking outside to find a parking ticket on your windshield? Now imagine the way you’d feel to walk outside and see your car looking like this:


That’s what happened to some Smart Cars owners yesterday in San Francisco, where a car tipping mini-spree took place Sunday night.

A vivid description of the scene came from Brandon Michael, who was enjoying a cigarette nearby when it all went down.

“They look like they are dachshunds sitting up on their hind legs," he told NBC Bay Area.

Very accurate.


Mysteries remain in the case of the Smart Car vandalism; the incidents happened in four different areas, raising the question of whether or not they were random acts of misguided aggression or whether they were part of a coordinated take-down of tiny cars.

Smart Car tipping could be the latest in a long line of trendy pranks, most of which are equally bizarre. Here are some of Smart Tipping’s forebears, both real and urban-legendary:

Stereotypical Farmer Pranks: Cow Tipping

The Toronto Star called this whole car tipping thing all the way back in 2009, when they dubbed it the “21st-century take” on cow tipping.


Cow tipping refers to the practice of drunk rural frat boys wandering out to the field and tipping over a sleeping cow.

But wait, because cow tipping prank is an urban legend disproved by science and diagrams.


Diagram adapted from Popular Mechanics, using the work of Dr. Margo Lillie and Tracy Boecher. Photo: JAKE SWEARINGEN/MODERN FARMER


Also note: cow tipping is not the same as cow chip tossing. The latter involves competitively tossing dried piles of cow excrement. They’re often tossed like Frisbees.

Good-Clean-Fun: Senior Pranks

These are typically harmless. They can range from sleeping on the tennis courts (rebellious) to bouncing balls down the hallway(fun) to releasing adorable turtles into the school pool:


Complex Viral Pranks: Improv Everywhere

Improv Everywhere, a group of urban pranksters whose slogan is “We Make Scenes,” ushered in a brand new kind of prank. Referred to as “missions,” their pranks aim to cause both chaos and joy. The missions usually involve a large group of people in highly planned scenarios.


No Pants Subway Ride and Food Court Musical are a viral classics.


Theatrical Pranks: Flash Mobs

Flash mobs are a relatively new phenomenon which entails a large group of people gathering in a public place to pull some entertaining hi-jinks. We know exactly when the first one happened - give or take 10 minutes - thanks to academia. According to The Fibreculture Journal, the very first flash mob happened in "Manhattan, New York, between 7:27 pm and 7:37 pm on June 17, 2003." File that information away for later use.


Here's one where a bunch of flash mobbers sing Hallelujah in a mall.


Cruel Vandalism Pranks Accepted By Society: Mischief Night

This category is most similar to the Car Tipping phenomenon. These pranks are somehow accepted as generally entertaining, but basically just hard-core vandalism that ruins peoples' days. Think: toilet papering trees, egging houses and putting things in peoples' gas tanks.


Nice work here, guys.


While it remains to be seen whether Smart Car Tipping will enter into the canon of pranks, one thing is certain: tipped over Smart Cars look like dachshunds.

Alexandra DiPalma is a producer for Fusion Lightworks, Fusion’s In-house Branded Content Agency.

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