Have you ever done a shop where you had to drink alcohol? There are bar and restaurant shops where you may be encouraged or even required to order cocktails or wine, but drinking alcohol on a mystery shop can create problems if it is not handled properly.
Becoming inebriated can mean that you do not get all of the information you need for your report. And if you are drunk enough, you may behave completely inappropriately and not even realize it.
I had to do a fine dining mystery shop where my husband and I were required to order drinks in the bar, then a bottle of wine with dinner. That is a lot of alcohol, but with planning and thought, we kept our wits about us and did not become intoxicated.
Here are some things you need to remember when drinking while mystery shopping, and how to handle your liquor without getting out of hand.
Understand exactly what the shop requires you to order. Often, you will have a companion on these types of shops. It may be that only one of you is required to order alcohol. In that case, you might arrange for your companion to have a drink at the bar while you sip a soda. If you are required to order more than one round at the bar, you may be able to order an alcoholic beverage one time, and a soda the other.
When you must order alcohol, order something that will have the least effect on you. A wine spritzer, or a mixed drink with ice, is probably better than a martini.
Do not accept a shop requiring you to order alcohol if you are a teetotaler. You can not leave your drink in front of you, untouched, and expect that no one will notice. The bartender or server will think that there is something wrong with your drink and will want to make it right for you. They may even take the drink off your tab, so your receipt will not show that you ordered a drink. In any case, it will draw attention and that is not something a secret shopper wants to do.
Put something in your stomach before you start to drink. Most people feel the effects of alcohol quicker on an empty stomach, so eat something first.
Alcohol can also have a greater effect when you take certain medications. Be aware of how your medications interact with alcohol.
Drink slowly. The alcohol gets into your system more slowly that way, and it gives the ice a chance to melt and water down your drink a bit. When you order a bottle of wine, the server will often refill your wine glass before it is empty, so drinking slowly means fewer refills and less mindless drinking.
You do not have to finish everything you order. You can sip your drink at the bar and leave some of it in the glass. When you are required to order a bottle of wine, you do not have to drink the entire bottle. Have a glass of wine, then stop. Depending on the laws in your state, you may be able to take home the partial bottle.
You are responsible for making observations and writing the report, so you need to keep your wits about you. However, it is important that your companion not over indulge either. Your companion drinking too much can be a distraction for you, and can jeopardize the shop. The last thing you need is your companion drunkenly telling the server, “You’re doing a great job. You will be very happy when you see the mystery shop report.”
Do not drive if you are at all impaired. Unfortunately, we are often not good at judging when we should not drive. You can use a rule of thumb about how much alcohol puts you over the legal limit, but even being under the legal limit does not mean that you are capable of driving safely. The safest choice is to have a designated driver, call a cab or take public transportation.