In the understatement of the decade, times are weird. It's hard not to look at friends and strangers alike with the nagging suspicion that they're carrying a bomb in their pockets. In some ways, they could be. A germy, biological bomb invisible to the eye, like the scarlet letter of viruses.
As such, bars and restaurants are closed except for take-out and delivery. Malls are shuttered. Basically anything nonessential (and everything fun) is off limits. The upcoming weeks will be hard, but they are going to hit Seattle's local business owners the hardest. It's a dire time for the establishments we know and love, and though we may feel helpless - stuck in the house with very limited ways to show our support - one local company is offering a tantalizing opportunity.
I told you a few weeks ago about Mystery, a service that plans your night out down to calling the Lyft and paying for the evening ahead of time. Obviously, traditional date nights are going to have to take a cool seat on the back burner for a while. So in the meantime, Mystery has rolled with the times and, in just "a handful of days", pivoted their company from date nights out to their newest venture: Mystery Night In.
"Our only goal in any of this is to give Seattleites a way to support the businesses that make this city great," said Emma Biskupiak, who runs Mystery's marketing. "Each Night In touches at least 10 small, locally-owned businesses."
The price for a Mystery box ranges from $125 to $150 and includes dinner, dessert and an activity, all of which are kept secret until the box arrives at your door. Like it's night-out counterpart, Mystery Night In gathers a few preferences to curate a date that matches your sensibilities. Meals are fully prepared by a local restaurant, ready to be heated then enjoyed at your dinner table (or couch or bed... or, you know, whatever your normal may be). The activity portion is sourced from Mystery's existing partners who have quickly adapted their products so they can be crafted at home.
Meant for two people, the Night In boxes can be shared with that special someone who has the honor of being your quality-time quarantine buddy: significant other, friend, roommate or even your kids. Each kit comes with two meals, though additional meals may be added for $30 each. Orders must be placed by midnight the night before delivery, which is offered Wednesday through Sunday.
"I'm personally excited for the dessert portion, " Biskupiak said of why Mystery's new venture is special to her. "The supplier is a great friend of mine who's lost a ton of business. The wedding industry is coming to a halt. Never in a million years did I think I'd be in a position to help her... It's been an emotional couple of weeks for this city but it's been just so inspiring to watch this all come together. These are people who love what they do and are struggling to stay open."
This pandemic is ravaging the economy and has the potential to alter the landscape of Seattle's social and cultural identity. It is nearly impossible to ignore the effect it is having on our community. But this is the part in the movie where Seattleites come together and help our own. Businesses supporting other businesses is great; the team at Mystery is really stepping up to the plate. It is now we, the consumers, who must eye the ball, swing the bat and knock it out of T-Mobile Park.