Yeah, thanks for that link. It’s useful to remember that context, whenever this comes up.
I wonder if, as a customer for a service, as a general principle, you should include one detail that is innocuous (say if you are having some one write you code, you make a specification for how dates in a not so important and little used log file should be formatted) in your specifications to check how fidel the team serving you is, just like Van Halen did.
In general, engineering efforts are fairly amenable to reviewing exactly what was done, compared to stage-management tasks. To the extent that you can inspect the work before accepting it, I don’t see a need for this sort of test.
Also, if the service wasn’t actually anything that important, I’d feel like a jerk for taking it to this level.
Those cases aside, yes, this strategy sounds perfectly reasonable to me.
I saw a video on youtube of a peanut sorting machine where peanuts would come down a chute into a chamber and a camera would see which one is defective and use an air blower to blow it away. It works very fast. It might not have been peanuts though, but something of similar size.