I am not a fan of practical jokes in general because they tend to have an underlying mean streak that finds humor in unsettling, upsetting, or even frightening the targeted person. Perhaps among close friends practical jokes are marginally acceptable though if I had a friend who was a regular practical joker, they would not be my friend for long. I like to take people at face value and having to always second-guess the actions of someone else would get old very soon.
Practical jokes played on major public figures or corporations can have some justification if the intent is not any of the above but to make an important point. But it is inexcusable for these practical jokes to be done against strangers who are just ordinary people. In the past I have railed against people who play pranks that take advantage of the kindness of strangers, such as pretending to have an accident and then having an accomplice secretly record the concerned reaction and assistance offered by bystanders. This is disgusting behavior and I fail to see any humor in it.
I came across another variation, this time targeting shop assistants, where people try on valuable merchandise such as jewelry and then run towards the front of the store, causing the assistant to chase after them. Then near the exit the ‘thief’ stops and examines another item of merchandise, causing the assistant to look foolish and act as if nothing had happened, for fear of not offending the customer by having thought them to be a crook. Of course, an accomplice records the whole thing and posts it on the internet. This article describes this practice but I am not going to link to the video itself to avoid giving the poster the traffic they seek.
Why is embarrassing a total stranger who was just doing their job considered funny? To my mind, all it shows is meanness.