October 2020 was the turning point in the trick-or-treat journey for young Emily, now 14. “The weather was terrible that day,” she recalls. “I mean, it’s northern Illinois so what do you expect, but really? 34 degrees and sleeting?”
The fateful day began with the then-12-year-old Emily, dressed as Harley Quinn, venturing outdoors in for early evening trick-or-treating and noticing that it wasn’t as fun as she remembered.
“Sure, it was terrible outside. And I had to wear a jacket so my cute ‘Daddy’s Little Angel’ t-shirt was covered up. Plus of course was raining and my wig smelled like a wet dog,” Emily says. “While I was running up and down the driveways, ringing doorbells and collecting candy, the thought occurred to me – is this really fun?”
Upon reflection, Emily determined that it wasn’t the weather that was the problem so much as it was the lack of ROI. “So, here I am, putting in all this effort, but for what? Sure it’s worth it if the people are handing out big candy bars, but what about all the stingy creeps that have hundreds of dollars of Halloween decorations in their yard but are giving kids, like, a single Tootsie Roll? Or an Almond Joy – I mean, what kid likes coconut?”
Adding to the urgency of the situation was Emily’s age. “At 12 years old, I knew that my time to trick-or-treat was almost over – I had 2, maybe 3 more years, tops. That’s when I decided to make the most of my limited trick or treating time by getting serious about it. And that’s when I found Fulcrum.”
Using Fulcrum’s field inspection software, Emily quickly enlisted the help of kids in her neighborhood to collect data about candy received at each house. “I made this really quick app where kids could put in what kind of candy adults were handing out at each house,” Emily says. “It was a game changer.”
Emily soon realized that most trick or treaters were novice tech users. “The typical member of my field team is a 6-year-old nosepicker in a Paw Patrol costume. While most of them have their own smartphones, most of them aren’t great at remembering how to do stuff. Or following instructions. Or reading.”
Using Fulcrum’s platform, Emily’s legion of trick-of-treat field inspectors can report on what candy was handed out – and for those who are still new at reading, visual guides help to ensure the accuracy of data collected. “I uploaded reference photos of bunches of different candy so kids could just pick what they see,” says Emily. “I even put in a guide that shows the various candy sizes as compared to an iPhone so the kid can make sure they’re not confusing a fun-size with a mini. I mean, one is bad, but the other is just, well, insulting.”
“Before Fulcrum, if I came across a kid with a full-sized bag of M&Ms, I’d have to interrogate him to try to figure out where he’d gotten it. A 4th grader who’s trying to hit as many houses as he can with a little brother in tow who’s whining about having to go potty isn’t great at remembering details,” says Emily. “Luckily, with Fulcrum’s natively-collected geodata, there’s no question about which house is handing out what.”
Once trick-or-treating starts, there is little room for error. “We’ve got three hours to get as much candy as we can. We need to know right away which houses are giving out the good stuff,” says Emily. With data collected being uploaded in real-time, there is never a lag between a candy being recorded and the information being available to other trick-or-treaters. “Before it was just a guessing game, whether or not the trek up someone’s long driveway would be worth the trip,” says Emily. “Now, after the first kid hits the house, I know exactly what’s being handed out, from a full-sized Snickers to quarters from people who forgot about Halloween and aren’t considerate enough to just turn off their porch lights and pretend to be gone.”
Emily’s favorite new Fulcrum features are issue reporting and task assignment. “So let’s give an example that happened last year,” says Emily. “This grumpy boomer has all this Halloween stuff up in his yard. His porch light is on. I walk up his driveway and see him through the big living room window, watching TV. I ring the bell, and nothing happens. I ring it again, then again and really lean on it. I even knock on the window. This giant jerk stands up, looks me right in the eye, and then closes the living room drapes. I couldn’t believe it. He still kept his porch light on, too.” The next day when Emily compared notes with her friends, she found that almost a dozen kids had also been tricked into a fruitless walk up the driveway.
“This year, things will be different,” vows Emily. Fulcrum’s new issue reporting functionality allows for tagging of problems, sharing location and all relevant details with fellow candy-seekers. “If something like that happens again, we can immediately alert other kids to avoid the house.”
Plus, with Fulcrum’s task assignment feature, anyone can assign follow-on tasks if necessary. “I mean, I’m not saying that if someone turns on their porch light and then refuses to hand out candy they will for sure get their trees TP’ed. I am saying that if some decided that this totally-justified act of vandalism was necessary, it’s super easy for them to assign the task to, say, a 6th grader who’s been dying to be invited to play Call of Duty on your PS5. Hypothetically speaking.”
With Fulcrum, trick-or-treating has changed forever. “This is probably my last year of trick-or-treating,” says Emily. “I’m 5’8” and people are starting to give me funny looks. So I’m glad that Fulcrum is here to make this last time a blowout.”
With real-time data, automatic geolocation, ease of use to allow even the littlest candy monster to participate, and issue reporting with task assigning, Fulcrum has changed the way that Emily does trick-or-treating. And as she ages out, she’s passing the torch to the next generation.
“My little brother is only 8, but he’s already in training to take over leading the field team next year. And if Fulcrum is easy enough that a kid who used all his birthday money to buy Fortnite skins can operate it, then anyone can. I’m thrilled that with Fulcrum, I can leave behind a world where kids won’t suffer walking up a long driveway for a Cream Soda Dum-Dum sucker again.”
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