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Scavenge This


I love to scavenge. A few years ago, my company hired Where You Want to Be Tours to run a team-building scavenger hunt. It was a warm summer day. Teams departed San Diego Magazine’s office in a double-decker bus. Sales guy Jim Ely’s yellow Afro wig bobbed in the breeze. The mood was high.

The game began on a boat. We ran off the Marriott marina dock toward our first scavenger clue—the carousel in Seaport Village. Little did my team know we’d set the Where You Want to Be Tours’ record for most clues and tasks solved (they’ve been in business since July 2003). I was named team MVP. My prize: a psychedelic-colored ceramic shoe-bank. True story.

Where Tours is run by Darlynne and Marc Menkin. “After the San Diego Magazine hunt, we had to change the rules and not allow running,” says Darlynne. Indeed, we had an art director in flip flops who was not too happy afterward.

Darlynne later asked me to help out as a team leader for other companies’ downtown hunts. I’ve done three, including a University of San Diego Dads & Daughters race. The sorority girls were excitable and competitive. The dads frequently asked if we could stop for a beer.

Downtown San Diego is a perfectly diverse place to scavenge. Last July, my team competed in a hunt sponsored by Dreyers Ice Cream. We were up against two dozen corporate teams. Starting at Horton Plaza, we had half an hour to accomplish 30 tasks. We nailed 22—things like counting the number of lights on the Gaslamp Theater marquee, and gathering sugar packets from certain restaurants.

Our team put one player on a bike. This ploy is legal. Nonetheless, we were booed when it was announced SD Mag won a half-year’s supply of free Dryers ice cream. Where Tours didn’t run this scavenger hunt. But they did enter as a team. Marc and Darlynne’s posse tied for second place. Wouldn’t you say that’s like your company softball team beating the Padres?

Next month, the good-natured folks at Where Tours are teaming up with artist Wyland. They’re holding a “Whale of a Weekend Treasure Hunt.” Wyland is an environmentally-conscious guy who does giant paintings of whales. This will be Where Tours’ first open-call hunt. It takes place April 12 and runs from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. To sign up, call 619-917-6037 or email Tours@wheretours.com. It’s $50/person to play. If you sign up by March 20, you pay $5 less, and get two free tickets on a Hornblower cruise or a whale-watching tour.

I’ll be one of the (non-entrant) team leaders. I’m not eligible to win the fabulous prizes—which, this year, I hear are even better than ceramic shoe banks. These hunts are—literally—a trip. Business owners are hip to crazy fools invading their stores. If you don’t drop the Tiki masks in World Market, everyone will enjoy your scavenging company.

Are you going to enter? Want to talk smack about how good your team is? Register and post…

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