One of the ways I have of making money is as a Mystery Shopper - or as my mum calls it, 'your spying work'. I've been doing it regularly for about two years now and although it's never gonna make me a millionaire it's steady, can be interesting and keeps my deviousness skills up to scratch. It's ideal work for someone who likes to act.
It isn't always shopping per se - sometimes it's a visit to a travel agency to ask about a holiday, or calling into a bank to check out their customer service. I'd say you're only buying something 50% of the time. One of the companies I work for has a lot of pubs on its books; a specific chain that serves food. Today I went with Big Man and Carb Addict to a local pub..one we'd always avoided if truth be told, on account of it looking a bit unwholesome. Carb Addict was distressed because I had told him that we would be going for a pub lunch straight after he'd seen 'Tangled'. What I should have said was 'cinema, HOME, pub lunch'. When Big Man drove home to collect me instead of going to a pub it all kicked off. You have to be so, SO specific with autists - even after 17 years I don't always get it right.
Anyway, we got to the pub and, well it wasn't exactly like the scene in 'An American Werewolf in London' where they go into The Slaughtered Lamb and everyone stops talking, but not much different. The barmaid was friendly enough and I ordered our food and drinks, which seemed pretty cheap. For this job I am only getting reimbursed for the meals, there's no fee for doing the job as such, and because there were three of us the reimbursement won't cover what we spent.
Our food arrived quickly enough and didn't look TOO bad but I'm sorry to say it was just horrible. I had ordered a Bacon and Cheese Burger and the chef blotted his copy book right from the start by leaving the rind on the bacon (eugh, turns my stomach). The burger I think could have been horse meat and the chips were all those little thin, sharp end bits that don't have any potato in them hardly. Big Man chose the Sunday Roast and the beef (I use the term loosely) was the kind of reconstituted meat that's been pressed into a shape then sliced. The giant Yorkshire Pud it was in was soggy and the veggies had come from freezer to plate via the microwave. Carb Addict had Fish and Chips but it's hard to know what he thought seeing as he doesn't talk. He ate it all up but then he's not known for his discerning palate. Nor is Big Man known as a gourmand but even he labelled it 'gopping'. We decided against coffee and dessert and beat it.
We've eaten at other pubs in this chain before (only on mystery shops though) and have liked the food, even though it's the same menu that's served across the chain. It just goes to show the correlation between how a place looks and the ambiance, and what kind of grub they dish up. This pub was a real regulars place, a sports bar really - no women drinkers; lots of footie memorabilia around, and absolutely dire food. Others that are maybe bigger and rely more on passing trade and less on locals seem to take greater care with their food. They have to try harder and I guess the pub today didn't want to try at all. D- I'm afraid.