The Hazards of Video Mystery Shopping

Recently, I attempted video mystery shopping. Anxiously awaiting the arrival of my recording equipment, I pondered my opportunities for disguise. Mystery Shopping DisguiseDisguise is really an overstatement, since the objective was not to leave my house looking like Groucho Marx with glasses and a fake moustache. The mystery shopping company was only sending me a shirt to wear for my shop — with a built-in button camera attached to a video recorder I could wear.

But I was super excited nonetheless! I anticipated the arrival of a flamboyantly colorful, flowing Hawaiian shirt. What I got was a nice blouse with a black and white pattern – it looked like something I would wear on a normal day. Equipment in, shop done, and equipment packed and shipped back to the mystery shopping company. It was a snap.

The next time I signed up to do a video shop, I decided I would put in a special request for my ‘spy shirt’ just for fun. I said, “Send me something really cute to wear!”  For all I knew all the shirts looked exactly alike and just came in various sizes – but when my package arrived, I had something pretty pink and paisley to sport for my shop.

On the day of my shop I had planned to also to meet a friend of mine for a late lunch.  I arrived early and my friend was running late. After awhile, I decided to check out the powder room. It was a good thing I did, because as I looked at myself in the mirror, there was an obvious bulge on my right side where the video recorder was placed. I moved it to an alternate location where it was not noticeable and went back to wait for my friend.

Mystery Shopping is ExcitingOnce we were seated, I noticed my friend was staring at me. I couldn’t decide what the problem was, but of course I was self-conscious about my ‘spy shirt’ so I started looking down and checking myself out. I finally asked her what was going on and she said it looked like I had a wire sticking out of my shirt. Sure enough I had wrapped the wire for the recorder around the button and then back inside my shirt. The black cord showed up like a neon sign against the pink fabric. Off to the restroom again for an adjustment!

Later that same day, I had to do a mystery shop at a local spa before I could head back home and write up all my reports. After changing out of my clothes, I caught another glimpse of myself in a mirror and gasped. There I was with my espionage pink shirt hanging over my shoulder with the tail of the cord dangling out the bottom for everyone to see. I quickly folded it and shoved it in the closet, hoping nobody noticed (especially since I was in the middle of another mystery shop).

I could not get home and out of my ‘spy shirt’ fast enough that day. I don’t know if my experience was a lesson not to wear my video mystery shopping equipment around town all day, or if it was a lesson to check and triple-check myself in the mirror before I went in to do the shop. Either way, I can say I learned some things that day. I did take note to ‘up’ size my shirts in the future, just to make sure they are a little loose on me.

I’m about to sign up for my next shop now. Despite the hazards of video mystery shopping, they’re actually kind of exciting!

Have you done any video mystery shopping? Tell us about it.

Lauren N