As mentioned in my previous entries, one develops a certain degree of paranoia when working in our field as, after all, we are the living proof that people really are watching you through the walls. That said, every now and then, one encounters something that seems to go past simple paranoia and forces one to ask the question: Am I the follower or the followed here?
Today witnesses a rare event indeed…I am on holiday. No phone calls, no Ops, no sneaking through the shadows planting tracking devices, just a good old fashioned home day on which the most dramatic event so far has been the raised voices on this mornings edition of the Jeremy Kyle show (Which, as it happens, sees the most concentrated collection of people that really should phone us).
Nipping out to the shops to park myself in Starbucks and watch the world go by for a while, I notice a car in my rear view mirror. Then I turn a corner and notice it again. Then I park my car and see it once more. Coincidence? One could assume so if it were not for the fact that spotting this car on such a regular basis, I decided to exit the car park only to have it follow me out.
Now, in terms of surveillance the very fact that I saw the vehicle almost immediately after leaving home did indicate that at best, the person following me (or not as the case may be) was not particularly good at it, though from this fact alone identification is somewhat hard due to the fact that there aren’t many people in our industry that are good at what we do. But that fact remains that good at it or not, they were having a damn good try!
After employing some very simple evasive driving manoeuvres (and I do mean very simple) the car was gone, not to be seen again, but the question to this point remains unanswered: Who was it?
A competitor (and I use the terms loosely here)? A hard done by target who believes that it was us that ruined his marriage as opposed to his ‘secretary’? Or someone completely unconnected to the industry?
I suppose not having neither the time nor the inclination to find out I will never know, but just for a fleeting moment I was able to see life from our targets point of view. To know what it feels like to be under the spotlight and observed. Don’t get me wrong, I have no need to shroud my relationship with Starbucks from my wife and as such, feel not even a morsel of compassion for the unfaithful among us but still, it was novel and I suppose as long as our competitors (if that’s who they were) continue to work to the same standards they have today there is only one company in the area cheaters need fear: Us!
It’s nice to know when we do it better.