Hunts kind of fascinate me. I remember last year doing one and it was fun because it was in one store and it was cute to just look for the little items. I can't remember what it was now, it was a long time ago. Then FashCon Day hit, and that was the first time I remember hopping all over the grid for gifts. But it wasn't that bad because it was new and nothing was hidden and everyone had a fun time. Then Valentine's Day came, and Cen and I hopped all over the grid hunting for our gifts. It was a little annoying, but also kind of fun because, again, it was kind of new and everyone seemed to be having fun.
Fast forward a few months and suddenly everyone and their mother was doing a hunt, and then the gridwide hunts started blasting off like mad. And I'll admit it. I did almost all of them. 20 stores here, 50 stores there, who cared? Didn't matter if I threw almost everything away immediately afterwards, I learned of great new stores to shop at later.
And then... The Ghost Hunt. *shudders* For the first time that I could remember, we were hit with over 100 stores to go to. It was so much! It was nuts! It was....just the beginning. 200 stores, 300 stores, 400 freaking stores. Stores were participating in 3 or 4 hunts at once. People were mindlessly running from store to store, never stopping to look at what else was on the walls of the store, just looking for a heart or a box or a snowflake or a pair of lips. Inventories grew, people began to get annoyed. Even if you weren't doing a hunt, you could no longer shop at the stores you loved because the lag from the hunters made it a less than enjoyable experience. [Personally, I've begun to shop at stores now that aren't currently in any hunts because I can't stand being knocked down as someone charges past looking for a gift. I love free gifts as much as the next person, but give me a break.]
As the hunts grew, another funny thing happened. People began helping each other out. Cheat sheets were being passed around with the direct SLurls to the items. Object scanners and hunt helper HUDs were on the rise. There were massive group chats asking for help finding this or that. But the fact was, people were helping. We made new friends on these hunts as we helped each other out. We were able to spend a little more time in a store once in a while because we weren't spending 20 minutes hunting for a flower petal embedded in a chair. But not too much time. There are only so many hours in a day and 300 stores is quite a lot to go through.
But then the store owners began to get angry. They didn't want anyone to say where they'd hidden their gift. They didn't want people to find it easily. After all, the longer someone is stuck at their lagged out store, the higher the traffic, right? Or perhaps they believed that if someone was forced to stay there staring for a box, they might see something that they would have to buy on the walls. And that might work on a rare occasion, but as a hunter and as a friend of a group of people who do almost every hunt out there, I can tell you that that's not usually the case. Especially if the store hid the item so well, they were forced to stay in there for a long time to find it and grew frustrated. There were even some store owners who were banning people from their stores for helping! How is that in the spirit of fun??
Today I got a group notice from one of my favorite stores that they were participating in a hunt that I'd never heard of. Having hit the wall of The Bunny Hop, I knew there was no way I'd be able to do this new hunt, but I love this store so I went out to pick up their item. While I was there, I decided to grab the notecard for the hunt, just to see if there was a list of stores participating, or at least a blog where I could see the list. You see, in some hunts, I just go to the stores that I absolutely know I love. It saves time because it's more likely I will keep the item rather than wondering why I wasted my time picking it up. I was a bit floored to read this directly on the notecard:
Also, vendors are encouraged to move their hunt gifts every week or few days so cheat sheets will not work for this hunt. Nor will freebie finders as the vendors are also encouraged to change the name of their box to something random.
Why are cheat sheets and other ways of helping wrong? Why does it matter? I understand that it's a hunt, but I also understand that people sometimes don't have time, or aren't really good at hunting, or sometimes their computers just simply won't rez properly and it can be completely frustrating for them to try to find whatever little thing they're looking for. Also...do you think this works? There are people who spend their time helping instead of hunting. There will be an updated list within an hour of someone changing their location. Trust me on this.
I headed over to the hunt blog to see who exactly was participating in this hunt, and how many were participating. Guess what? No list. Not a list of SLurls. Not a list of names. Nada.
Pulled the vendor list, it will not be returning.
Yes, some of the [deleted] are out already but to avoid cheat blogs we feel it's necessary to pull the list.
Oh really? So not only do we not know how many people are in this hunt, we don't know WHO they are in the first place? The stores don't get their advertising because people don't know they're in the hunt. Instead, there are some [quite noobish] looking photos of hunt gifts and that's it.
We can't get help, we don't know who's in it, and we don't know how long we'll be going from store to store. Wow. That's....fabulous.
Look...hide your gift and leave it. Let people find it with help or without it. Let them have fun helping out and meeting new people. I promise it won't kill you. It might even help out your business in the long run.