I was a mystery shopper…

So the other day i got a call from a friend asking for a favour… hahaha! They asked if i would be a mystery shopper for one of their restaurant’s as part of a customer service review. Now i didn’t take much persuading, this kind of thing was right up my street. I was tasked with going undercover, visiting the restaurant and sneakily filming my experience. I’d had food at the restaurant in question before and i really enjoyed it so i was excited to go back, especially considering the meal was free and i was going to be wearing a hidden camera.

Now i thought it would be a cool experience to blog about, i mean i was getting a chance to go all out James Bond – that’s exciting, right? Well it was certainly an experience. I suppose i should start by saying i’m not going to go into any detail about the restaurant and i won’t be naming the place because that’s not professional. What i do want to talk about however is the bloody camera and a few mishaps i may have had.

So i was told the camera i would be wearing was a spy pen – seriously can you get any more James Bond, i didn’t even realise these gadgets were really a thing but apparently they are. So i thought ok a pen is discreet, it’s small, fine – there should be no problems. Until i started thinking about how i was going to wear a pen in a way that didn’t look suspicious but in a way where i could capture enough footage. The ‘simple solution’ that was suggested was to wear a shirt with a pocket on the chest. You’d have thought i would have a shirt with a pocket on, i have smart work shirts in my wardrobe, surely right… turns out nope women’s shirts or mine anyway don’t have any pockets on. Great. After a lot of closet digging however i did manage to find a denim looking shirt top i’d bought months ago with a pocket on so i chose to wear that. We won’t go into how terrible the shirt is, how much it no longer fits nor will we discuss the fact i had to wear it all day at work because i was going on my mission straight from work. It did the job it needed to even if i had to look like an skint artist for the day.

Anyway attire sorted, i then had to get to grips with the pen. In order to get the camera to work, you needed to switch it on by pressing the button on top. Then to start filming you needed to push and hold down the same button on top until it started flashing green. Once it had flashed for a couple of seconds you let go and it started filming. Then once you’d done your thing you pushed the button on top again, it would flash red and turn off. Sounds simple, it bloody wasn’t. It didn’t turn immediately on, it took a long time to start flashing and then when it should of been recording it looked like it was off. It also flashes at the back of the pen which i didn’t realise until far too late. So i went in thinking it was filming and i was a super cool secret spy and then i text my friend saying i’m not sure it’s doing anything. They sent me instructions on how to check it so i’m in public trying to be discrete twiddling with a pen stuck on my chest. Real cool. In the end i think i got it working but i’m not entirely sure. The entire thing was a bit of a fiasco and i’m going to be so annoyed with myself if i didn’t capture any coverage. I’m no technology expert but this pen left me feeling like i should be using Windows 95! I did pull out the old iphone and try take a little sneaky video to make up for it just in case however.

Assuming i did manage to get the pen working, i did a very thorough job of trying to film everything… maybe too thorough. I was thrusting my chest out, practically spinning around in circles trying to cover all areas. It’s really difficult when you can’t see what you are filming, i didn’t even know if it was working or not or if it was whether the camera was picking up anything at all. I don’t think i did a good job at all of being undercover, i wanted to make sure i got every angle but in doing so i probably looked very odd.

I really don’t think spy cams are for me. Stick a camera in my hand and i take a mean picture. Give me a camera where i can’t see what’s being filmed and well it will probably end in disaster. In fact i don’t think being a mystery shopper is for me at all. I learnt a lot from my experience and it was fun and interesting. If i did it again i’d be a lot more discreet but to be honest i think i’ll just stick to the day job.