Sunday, February 20, 2011

SPENT: Can you make it through the month?

...thus asks the Urban Ministries of Durham, together with McKinney, in the newly-launched SPENT. Unemployed, homeless, and down to your last $1,000, you're tasked to make it through the month with what you have. You're faced with tough brain (and, sometimes, conscience) racking decisions such as dodging layoffs, putting your pet to sleep, and scrimping on your kid's lunch money just to make it through the month. The question is, can you make it through the month even with all of these saving tactics in place?

At the onset, I was confident (even hubristic) to assume that this was going to be such a cinch. But, on my first try, I ran out of money on day 12. It took me 3 more tries for me to make it through the month - with my kid's piggy bank smashed, $800+ in debt, and just $300 in my pocket left. Certainly, that was not an achievement that's going to make my situation any better in the long run.

Spent is, at its core, every bit of an eye-opener on the complex situations that surround our modern urban landscape wherein institutions designed to help us out tend to be either inaccessible or not enough at all. Even the littlest things like lunch money and taking breaks take on an entirely different meaning in this game and those that we, the privileged, easily dismiss are those that the unprivileged painfully accounts for in their daily lives - that without any other chances to start over and try again.

Play the game here.

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