Tales of a DQ detective

A secret shopper follows-up on a customer purchase from Victoria Secrets.

It seems like a lot of secret shopper opportunities are out there these days. Everywhere you turn, on a job board or on craigslist, an advertisement is offering a wonderful career as a mystery shopper, restaurant reviewer, etc.

About 20 years ago I did some secret shopping for this company out of Austin. The job consisted of going to a number of Dairy Queens in East Texas, buying a meal and then writing a report about the experience. They wanted to know about the quality of the food, cleanliness of the place, customer service and yadda. Although I really don’t remember, I suppose they paid me something else other than in Hunger Busters and Chicken Finger Baskets (Before this experience, I never knew chicken had fingers, badum-bum-CHING!)

But without a doubt my experience as a DQ detective got old. One can only eat a hamburger that is undercooked, survive and then write about its lack of flavor so many times. I did, however, count myself as fortunate that my sleuthing was at Dairy Queen rather than some of the secret shopper company’s other clients such as a particular chain hair salon. Like a friend told me back then: “How many bad haircuts can a person get?”

Actually, I had a near-tragic experience at that chain salon. For the life of me, I can’t recall the name of the chain. It was long ago — when I had hair and when I visited barber shops rather than making my pool-cue head an extension of my facial shave.

One day I got a haircut at this chain which was inside a Longview, Texas, mall. The haircut was going okay until the barber spied this pretty, young woman who was walking in the mall wearing spray-on jeans and a halter top that might have covered a couple of pennies on a good day. Now, I must say that I looked rather intently at this work of nature and/or cosmetic surgery. After all, what else is there to do in a barber’s chair? The problem was the barber — with clippers in one hand and a comb in the other — was also checking out Miss It and he stuck the comb in my eye. Fortunately, I wasn’t injured.

I am telling all this in case someone who is reading this blog is thinking about a career as a secret shopper. It isn’t all glamor and intrigue. Real dangers exist such as E. coli from who-knows-what-or-where or being blinded by an inattentive barber. Trust me, it’s just not worth it.

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