- Pretend to make a telephone call and jot down notes while on the phone. Pretend you are taking down directions, or noting info from a voice mail.
- If the table has a tablecloth, take notes discreetly on your lap. Don’t spend a lot of time with your hands in your lap, though, or you might attract some unwanted attention!
- Go to the restroom and write down notes. This is always useful on mystery shops. Go in to a stall where you won’t be seen and you can make notes, check your shop tip sheets, etc.
- Bring a crossword puzzle and write notes in the spaces. Do this at fast food establishments and not fine restaurants. Other possibilities are newspapers, magazines, day planners, textbooks and other places you might reasonably make notes.
- Put a tape recorder in your jacket or purse. See this post about mystery shopping with a digital recorder.
- Send a quick text message to your partner, or have your partner send you a message. Or use a note-taking app on your phone.
- If you have a Blackberry, PDA or similar mobile device, jot down a note or two quickly and discreetly. There are a number of note-taking apps for smart phones, and you may even be able to find a way to take notes with other phones.
- Practice these methods when not a mystery shopper. Practice makes perfect! The first time or two you do this, it helps not to have the pressure of a real shop. If you mess up, it won’t matter, but you will know what not to do next time.
What is your favorite way to discreetly take notes on a mystery shop?