Saturday, August 17, 2013

067 : The GISHWHES Experience

So, like two weeks ago, I signed up for GISHWHES The Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen. A facebook acquaintance posted that she still had slots open on her team and encouraged her followers to join up under her team. I paid my $10 and registered with 1 hour to spare. About a week after that, the event started and the items were announced.

On Sunday, my team was ALL OVER Facebook, to the point of all of us being annoyed at the messages we were sending. So I hopped on the organizational train and created our secret Facebook group to relieve the annoyance of the message updates. I also created a group gmail account, group imgur account, group youtube account, and a spreadsheet of all of the items with space for each team member to claim it. There was still a flurry of activity Sunday night and then...NOTHING.

road less traveled
The road less traveled.

Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, I was ON IT. I was doing every task I thought I could. Meanwhile, my team was doing NOTHING. Now, the list has quick and easy items, but it also has more difficult items. I didn't expect my team to update us on the more difficult items (a video of a CEO of a major corporation dancing to "Single Ladies"), but at least to submit the easier items (dress your car up as your awkward prom date), and maybe updates on the more difficult items. Nope, radio silence.

Until Wednesday evening when a team member decided to launch his own personal hate campaign against me, calling me all kind of things including game ruiner.

pool party
In which I host a pool a dumpster!

Back story: That team member announced on Tuesday that health problems would prevent him from completing the five tasks for which he signed up. (Because 5 items out of a list of 156 to be divided among 15 people was really an acceptable number of items.) One Wednesday morning, I began a full day of GISHWHES tasks. (I had already completed ten of them.) It just so happened that I started with one that team member had claimed. Apparently this makes me a dick, but I did it with no malicious intent. I was going to get breakfast at McDonalds and I had a Shakespeare script written, so I just did it. I didn't even realize I had taken his, but when he brought it up, I just said that it was no big deal. If he did it after me, mine would be deleted. But if his health problems and schedule got in the way, then he didn't have to worry about it. I didn't apologize, because it wasn't a big deal, but he launched a massive attack against my character. Following the commandments, I offered to settle our issue with a dance off, but he refused.

This is where it really started to go badly for me.

Outfitting Charles Goodyear with a GISHWHES Cardigan

So it was accidental that I did this kid's task, but it really meant nothing. Submissions can be entered multiple times and the last submission will delete the previous submission. If this kid really wanted to do it, he could just do it and submit over mine. But we had 156 items to complete. Of those 156 items, MY ENTIRE TEAM signed up for 49 and I signed up for 49. For a total of 98 items claimed, I agreed to do as many as the other 14 people combined. I don't know, but I think that if one person decides to do as much work as the entire team combined, that's a good thing. I clearly had the time, so I was going for it.

In the meantime, I was really active in the group. I made sure to post everything I had submitted so the team could see what I was doing. I let them know if I was working on harder stuff (like linking the craigslist ad for the diaper drive I was hosting). My team interpreted this as "militant nagging," or so at least one team member told me. They felt "pressured" by my activity. Which, is patently ridiculous. We had 7 days to complete 156 tasks, so my going for it and finishing tons of them was not a bad thing.

On Wednesday, a few tasks trickled in from other team members...and they were AWFUL. They were only the bare minimum, poor photo quality, and not original. Meanwhile, I was really tearing it up and not even one person on my team had bothered to thank me for my effort. It would've been nice to receive some support. Like for how I made a geocache and installed it (the logbook) as the plaque for a fictional landmark. I mean, I felt like that was an original and cool idea...but my team said nothing. There was a little bit of activity, about future tasks, but it was about the bare minimum of teamwork.

If I left this in, I'd be helping to break a world record!

Thursday, I did a few items and then went on a date. (While I was out, "Carry on My Wayward Son" came on the was a sign!) I had submitted two images earlier in the day and had taken another image and two videos to be submitted later. I came back to my team's facebook group to more silence. No commentary on what I had done, no follow up on their tasks, no updates for what they would be doing with the remaining 2 days and 17 hours.

OH man, was I PISSED!

So...after entertaining some truly vindictive thoughts, I decided to take action. I deleted all of my submissions, and all of my work. I deleted the spreadsheet I had made. I deleted any comments I had posted in our group. I deleted the Twitter account I had created. I almost deleted the entire gmail account and youtube account, but I felt that would be going too far. I felt angry but I also felt discouraged and punished for going at the game hard.

Serving up frosted beefcake

There is still a day and five hours left of the Scavenger Hunt, and I won't be part of it. As for my team...we never had a chance of winning. Even if we had completed all of our 98 items, I met other teams in chat that had far exceeded our abilities. So, no, I don't feel even the littlest remorse in ditching them. They had not a chance in hell even with my participation.

I might hit up the chat room again, where I met cool people who have connected with me via social media. I've also had a really great time with my friends. (The closest member of my team is 45 min. away, so I've engaged in all my tasks with the friends and family nearest to me.) It's been fun!

I knew, getting into this, that it could be crazy. What I didn't know was that I would be punished for being very into the game. This was a development I had not expected, and there is no logic to justify it. However, I'm not overly hurt at these turns of events. Some might think my decision to remove my submitted items was spiteful, and maybe that's true. But I just feel like I don't need to support those who would not do the same for me. Nevertheless, participating in GISHWHES has been REALLY FUN! It's kind of crazy what I would do and how easy it was to do it. It was fun talking to NASA and meeting people via chat and being turned down by the CEO of the Akron-Area YMCA. I learned stuff about myself and my friends and I laughed a LOT. I'm excited to do it again next year, and one of my friends has already agreed that she is in on the team. We're going to KILL it next year!

teddy bear hostage
A teddy bear hostage situation.


  1. Dear You--
    I'm so sorry to hear about this bad experience :( It sucks to be the only one on a supposed team that works so hard. I hope you don't give up and get on a team that works with you next year.

    1. Thanks! I had a great time with my friends and we're all excited to play next year!

  2. That is awful! I'm so sorry about your experience. I hope you find a great team!

    1. Thanks! I think I'll have a great team next year.