No doubt, things are bad: Earlier today, Boeing announced that it would lay off 500 employees. But you really know it's not fun and games when fun and games take a hit. To wit: The annual Emerald City Search contest--a city-wide treasure hunt co-sponsored by such Seattle institutions as One Reel, the Seattle Times, and the University of Washington, with daily clues published in the Times--saw its top-prize value drop to a thirteenth of what it was thanks to donor skittishness in tough times.
The current top prize certainly features some good stuff--"Platinum" passes for Bumbershoot, backstage access for the Modest Mouse and Fleet Foxes shows, and a family membership to the EMP. The package's value is about $1,000--nothing to sneeze at, unless you're allergic to Benjamins or indie rock.
But as a disgruntled searcher notified us, the prize package was originally advertised on Facebook to be $13,000. Explains Jeff McCord, a search 'Clue Meister,' "We had had some initial hopes that there were a couple of prizes that looked like they were being added--and they definitely got dropped." The donors, he said, "re-evaluated in light of the economy." He apologized on Facebook for the prize deflation.
The search must go on, of course, with the first clue scheduled to be published at 12:01 AM next Wednesday. You'll max out at a thirteenth of what you might have, but it'll also be a 'g' more than you've got.