The day the customer came in to purchase a new camera that he could hide in the bottom of his sports bag was rather a turning point for me in the camera trade. Until then I had never considered whether or not the goods and services that we offered had a moral component or not. I suppose it must have been rather naive of me – after all cameras can be used for all sorts of purposes. I guess I just never thought about the surveillance business.
I had owned a spy camera myself for a brief period of time – a Minox B. I must have pressed the shutter button on it a hundred times, but like most owners had never actually taken a picture with it before it was traded away for something else. I’ve since come to recognise that Minox cameras are the tinned gefilte fish of the trade.
I also recognise that there are probably dedicated makers and specialised shops for spy equipment and that the actual devices and procedures are probably unrecognisable to the lay person. I am more than willing to remain in ignorance as it keeps me from having to wonder at what is being spied upon.
In the case of Mr. Sports Bag, I did not ask whether he was going to take it into the men’s locker room or the girl’s. Or why. I was saved from bristling up and becoming all brusque by the fact that the shop did not stock video cameras at the time. We referred him to Harvey Norman with the mental reservation that they probably deserved each other. Nowadays, of course, he could purchase a GoPro or other action camera off the rack in any camera shop and no-one would be any the wiser.
Good choice. Being waterproof it could be set to work in the nurse’s quarters on Shower Night and then later when Mr Sports Bag was discovered by the nurses it could be shoved somewhere else…