Not too long ago Sheryl sent me an email regarding a diamond dash being put on by Reis-Nichols Jewelers. I have seen events like this before, but had never taken part in one. The concept was pretty simple actually. Couples would sign up, all meet in one place on the same day at the same time, and would run around the streets of downtown Indianapolis looking for clues. At the end of the day each couple’s total points would be calculated and the winner would receive a 1.5 carat hand selected diamond ring.
The ring for this year’s event was estimated at over $15,000 and was on display at the Reis-Nichols location on 86th street and Keystone Avenue.
Once Sheryl and I signed up, we were selected as participants for the event. We began receiving numerous emails all explaining the rules and the processing, also confirming times and location. The times changed several times, but when Saturday, September 25, 2010 arrived we were to meet and register at 10:00 AM on the American Legion Mall just south of the downtown branch of the Indianapolis Public Library.
We arrived a bit early and tried to stay warm by standing in the sun. It was a bit chilly in the shade and the breeze didn’t make it any better. I was wearing jeans, a long sleeve black shirt, and even tossed on a windbreaker before walking out of the house. Glad I did, I needed it until we got started and I began to sweat.
This event was being put on by Reis-Nichols Jewelers and was sponsored by the Hilton Hotels, Z99.5, Geoffrey Chandler Videography, and Rupert’s Kids. The event was actually powered by SCVNGR, an application on the iPhone and other smart phones. It’s actually a pretty slick application and allows you to participate in various scavenger hunts in your city. Everything is based on GPS and you are not allowed to check in (or complete the assigned challenge) unless you are at the location. It forces users to actually travel to said locations. Throughout the day we would visit over thirty locations trying to answer different questions. They were sometimes obvious, others made you think. Some even forced us to use our smart phones and Google the answer.
Before the day was over we would walk/jog/run some four miles and see more of downtown than we really wanted to. The day ended with a reception in the Indianapolis Arts Garden where the winner would be awarded the ring. He would propose in stereotypical fashion, and everyone clapped. We then decided that the best way to end the day was to head downstairs and share a round of drinks at Rock Bottom Brewery.
Heather Pechin, who is a good friend of ours, also took part in this event. She didn’t have a very good time either. Read a little bit more about her time below.
Heather Apparently Doesn’t Like Diamonds
I got an email from a local radio station advertising the fact that they needed couples for this exciting event called the Reis-Nichols Diamond Dash. So, I clicked enter to register for the event. It asked for my name, phone number, type of phone, partner’s name, and reasons why we would want to compete in the scavenger hunt. I wrote:
It’s the day after my birthday, and a diamond ring would be an awesome birthday present! It would also be nice that my boyfriend won’t have to pay for an engagement ring.
After typing that, I realized the allotment for our “Why” was up to 500 words. I didn’t think my entry would get chosen. The next day, I received an email that said, “You have been chosen to participate in the Daimond Dash!” That was the first of many emails. I went to the website and downloaded the rules and read them thoroughly! It had many points. One was that you could use any non-motorized form of transportation, such as bike, roller blades, a scooter, etc. It also said that the winner is responsible for the gift tax per the state of Indiana. In the state of Indiana, that’s around 35-40% of the cost. (It’s a $15,000 dollar gift, therefore, the tax would be around $6,000!) This is when I made my first trip to the Reis-Nichols store closest to me. I talked to a nice man, probably close to my age. He seemed excited and showed me the ring. He told me that bikes weren’t necessary , and I took his word for it. Then, he proceded to tell me that there WILL be an actual ring hidden. I told him the rules online stated it was based on points. He jokes, “You must know more than me then!”
Then, the emails started. There was that first email instructing us to actually go in to the store a couple days before the event and get an extra clue. That was worthless! That got us nowhere. Then, there was an email stating I had the wrong phone that couldn’t support the application being used. I don’t. I have an iPhone. (Thanks to my good friend Ricky. He sold me his iPhone 3GS when he bought the new iPhone 4.) Then there was an email stating the event would start at 10:00 AM, and you needed to be there to register at 9:00 AM.
The next email then stated the event started at 11:00 AM and to be there at 10:00 AM to register. When we get there at about 9:30, they announced sign in would be at 10 and the event would start at 10:45am. Again, a change. Also, there are 200 BIKES! I was so pissed! Then, the personalities of WZPL get up and start talking at 10:45. And they talked, and they advertised diet pills, and they talked some more. Finally, after about five people gave speeches, the SCVNGR representative announced the count down for us to look at the SCVNGR app for the challenges.
The scavenger hunt itself was not too bad, but there were some issues. First off, there were forty-one locations in the list of sites, but SCVNGR apparently lacks a way to give any kind of route from point to point, just a list of locations with no regard to which one is the closest. This lead to us passing over sites that were on the list just so we could get to points that we knew.
The clues were, at times, confusing and sometimes even wrong. One location noted that two challenges involved statues on the west side of the location when in fact both were on the south side of the venue. One challenge involved counting the number of horses on the soldiers and sailors monument, a task that sounds simple enough but proved to be difficult as we didn’t find anyone who answered this correctly. Not a single person we talked to (and we talked to a lot of people) had any idea how to answer that one correctly.
Now, on to the “after party”! It was ridiculous. I thought there would be h’ors d’oeuvres or something. No, a package of pretzels and a granola bar! Oh, and hello cash bar! I don’t even drink! Why rent out the Indianapolis Arts Garden and then pass out bags of PRETZELS! This wasn’t fun for me and not worth the aches and pains afterward! I will not be taking part in the next event.
So as you can see, both Heather, Ian (her boyfriend), Sheryl and I didn’t have the best of times while taking part in this dash for diamonds. The next event needs to be organized a little bit better. One, don’t allow people to use bikes. Or, force everyone to have a bike to participate. It was a very clear and unfair advantage. Sheryl and I completed over twenty of the challenges. That was more than anyone we talked to, and again, we talked to a lot of people. Or have a combination of both. If you are on a bike, then you get a different list of challenges than those walking. Either way, if you were walking you didn’t have a chance at winning.
In addition to all of the emails that we got as Heather mentioned, we also received one requesting comments and complaints about the event. I will be taking a long hard look at that this weekend. It’s not that the event wasn’t fun, it was. But with over 700 people involved you would expect a little more preparation. Train the employees, make sure everyone is on the same page, and don’t send out as many emails. This was clearly a marketing campaign for Reis-Nichols and who can blame them. They are suffering from a slow economy as well. I just wish they would take some more time and effort in the planning stages of an event on this scale. At the end of the day, our feet and legs were killing us. We went home without the ring, but everyone did get a free t-shirt. And it gave us the chance to try out the application. I can’t wait to use that app again. Happy hunting! (And to the winners, enjoy paying that $6,000 gift tax come next spring! Bet you didn’t read the fine print did you?)
Did you take part in the Reis-Nichols Diamond Dash? How did you do? How many points did you score?