Never did I expect a bank shop to be gross!

I have been mystery shopping for 15 years, but had the grossest experience this week. I was doing a bank shop to inquire about a new account. The branch manager greeted me in the lobby, then invited me to her office. After shaking my hand, she started coughing and said she was dealing the bug that is going around. I blurted out, "and you just shook my hand???" She looked at me like I was nuts and handed me some hand sanitizer. Then the sneezing started. And the sniffling. Twice she wiped her runny nose on her sleeve!! I could not wait to get out of there...and yes, it all went into my report! I wonder what the incubation period is? I am not a germaphobe, but I wanted to run when her sleeve became a Kleenex. Who can beat this gross story?

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Being that I once worked at a bank and was asked, on the day of my grandmother's funeral, was I coming in after the funeral, I understand why the employee might not have stayed home sick.

I am a germaphobe and can't stand anyone in my personal space let alone doing all of that.
My worst was a unisex restroom with a gas station. When I opened the door I almost added my stomach contents to the yellow flood on the floor, which was toilet overflow including disposable diapers and three dimensionals that did not go down.
Eileen, that is gross. I don't shake anyone's hand during flu season.

By the way, hand sanitizer is effective for some bacteria, not for dirt or viruses. Hand washing rules.

@Flash, I stopped reading after the first sentence.

"Drive like your children live here."
Yard sign
Grossest was a restaurant shop where an employee kept picking fries off of plates that had been returned to the kitchen.
@EileenS wrote:

I have been mystery shopping for 15 years, but had the grossest experience this week. I was doing a bank shop to inquire about a new account. The branch manager greeted me in the lobby, then invited me to her office. After shaking my hand, she started coughing and said she was dealing the bug that is going around. I blurted out, "and you just shook my hand???" She looked at me like I was nuts and handed me some hand sanitizer. Then the sneezing started. And the sniffling. Twice she wiped her runny nose on her sleeve!! I could not wait to get out of there...and yes, it all went into my report! I wonder what the incubation period is? I am not a germaphobe, but I wanted to run when her sleeve became a Kleenex. Who can beat this gross story?

I agree it's poor manners to shake someone's hand when you are ill, but this really sounds pretty common and not so horribly gross. And SERIOUSLY? You don't think it's bad manners to call someone out like that? I frequently find people shake my hand when I think they don't look well because they think it is expected in our "polite" business-world hand-shaking culture. I carry hand sanitizer and sanitize when I believe it is warranted. Problem solved. AND - you are a 15 year mystery shopper and you made yourself memorable by your comment?
Jay, I too would put it in my report. This is something that the MSC and the client need to know. There were plenty of people in to see the banker during the days that she was sick. Pinpointing it to one particular customer might not be all that easy, especially with a fuzzy brain from being sick and possibly from cold medicine. At any rate, I personally wouldn't reshop the same banker in a year, though I know there are people who go to the same banks every few months. Bankers are pretty smart and some have really good memories. I once reshopped a bank after it had been three years and I used a different name and a different scenario, and the guy was sure he had met me before and was sure I had come into the bank. He mentioned it several times and he gave a spanking great presentation. He said to me, "I never forget a face."
Flash, I had a gas station restroom recently that was under construction. Signs referred customers to an outside area, so I went there. The "outside area" was two porta potties and they were both overflowing....incredibly gross....I took a photo!

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/07/2017 04:38PM by winemaker.
@JASFLALMT wrote:

Jay, I too would put it in my report. This is something that the MSC and the client need to know. There were plenty of people in to see the banker during the days that she was sick.

I totally agree. It would have gone into my report. This is something the client would surely want to know. But making the rude comment "and you just shook my hand???" almost guarantees that her report will identify her as the shopper if she includes it in the report. It seems a newbie mistake from a 15-year shopper.

My point was: Don't expect others to be considerate and take care of your health. Don't even assume that they can if they want to. Others may have a different perception of illness than you do. I can guarantee you most people have a different perception of illness than I do. Carrying sanitizer insures that you can eliminate germs after a handshake. Actually, you are less at risk from a handshake from a sick person than from standing within ten feet of the sick person breathing the same air. If a person came close enough to the OP to shake her hand, she should have been far more worried about the germs she was breathing than the germs that might be on her hand. And realize that there are a lot of sick people working out there, and some of them don't cough, sneeze, or look sick. I'm not a germophobe either, but I am a realist.
I am not sure she actually put everything verbatim in the report. But you are right, actually calling the banker out was a little rude, but perhaps Eileen was just overwhelmed. It's quite true that some people aren't germaphobes like I am. I have friends who have invited us over to dinner, only for me to find out that their kids have been passing a cold around to each other and the one who just came over and hugged me and kissed me is the newest little germ spreader. It didn't occur to them that I might not want to be around their sick child, no matter how cute their kids is and how much I like the little tyke. And I could never work in an environment where I had to be around other people in close proximity all of the time.
Definitely not rude of her to call the banker out. The banker was rude to shake her hand knowing that she was promoting the spread of her germs.
My worst experience was a personal one. My oldest son was 3 years old. One of my husband's co-workers had been talking about he and his wife and 3 year old daughter getting together with my husband and me and our son on a weekend. He called one Saturday morning and asked if we could all go eat Chinese at a new place they had discovered. We agreed, and they arrived at our home an hour later. The kids played for a couple of hours while we visited, and then we left for the restaurant. At the Chinese restaurant, while waiting for our food, I noticed the little girl did not seem to be feeling well. She looked puffy and swollen and I asked her mom if she was okay. Her mom responded "Well, she has the mumps. I told Joe to be sure to tell you before we came over." Horrified, I shot my husband a "WTH? You didn't TELL me" look and he shrugged and said "I didn't know about it." Joe shrugged and said "I didn't think it would matter." Hmmmm. It mattered to me.
Wow. Mumps.

That brings up more germy memories...like when I was 16 and I was so excited because my friend who was an exchange student from Cartegena, Colombia had invited me and another girl to visit her home for the summer. I had just gotten my passport. My older sister came to visit with her two children, one of whom had chicken pox. My sister knew that I had never had it but came over anyway. Of course I contracted chicken pox and was not allowed to leave the country.

But back to the subject at hand: I think Eileen may have been overreactionary on calling out the banker only because it was a shop. We have to stay somewhat neutral during shops, no matter how hard it can be. That's why I have bitten my tongue many times by a rude sales associate and not told them how obnoxious I found them, but was able to objectively portray their attitude in the report. On my own time, I have told someone off more than once, LOL.
I disagree that it would be normal behavior, many (non-shoppers) people are reserved by nature and would not have blurted out in a reactionary way. I am not being derogatory or insulting of Eileen because I too am squeamish about germs and would have had a hard time not blurting out like she did. And we definitely can't act like normal guests many times that we are shopping. If I were at a bar or restaurant (not on a shop), I rarely would sit for 30 minutes and only have 1 glass of wine or a cocktail. If I was in line at the post office on personal business, I would not stand in line behind 14 people to mail something that I could do with a credit card at the kiosk. If I were in a store and wanted assistance, I would not wait for 15 minutes or longer for a sales associate to greet me and offer assistance if they were not with another guest, but sometimes our guidelines tell us to wait for them to approach proactively even if they are just sorting or straightening merchandise. And so on.
@JASFLALMT wrote:

I disagree that it would be normal behavior, many (non-shoppers) people are reserved by nature and would not have blurted out in a reactionary way. I am not being derogatory or insulting of Eileen because I too am squeamish about germs and would have had a hard time not blurting out like she did. And we definitely can't act like normal guests many times that we are shopping. If I were at a bar or restaurant (not on a shop), I rarely would sit for 30 minutes and only have 1 glass of wine or a cocktail. If I was in line at the post office on personal business, I would not stand in line behind 14 people to mail something that I could do with a credit card at the kiosk. If I were in a store and wanted assistance, I would not wait for 15 minutes or longer for a sales associate to greet me and offer assistance if they were not with another guest, but sometimes our guidelines tell us to wait for them to approach proactively even if they are just sorting or straightening merchandise. And so on.

We can just agree to disagree. smiling smiley
I had a personal gross experience. I was doing some errands at Safeway one day when I needed to use the restroom. I waited outside since it was a single use room. A young female joined the line. A few minutes later, a male exited the restroom even though it was marked "women's restroom." The young female and I looked at each other with a surprised look on our faces. I went inside and found the toilet seat dripping wet with you know what and a questionable looking puddle in front of the toilet. At first I thought of washing the toilet seat but the wet puddle was too much for me to handle since I was wearing pants and did not want my pants to get wet. When I exited the restroom, I informed the other females that the restroom was too gross to use.
Does anyone else wonder just how in the world a guy can miss such a large target?

Equal rights for others does not mean fewer rights for you. It's not pie.
Never try to teach a pig to sing. It's a waste of your time and it really annoys the pig.
I did a Tire Discounter shop earlier in the week. The employee had this huge, weird mole/cyst thing on his forehead and it was very distracting. On top of that, his breath was atrocious and he was very chatty. I could not get him to stop talking. At one point I literally almost gagged, it was that awful.
I used to be a massage therapist and over the years there were a few clients who had halitosis so bad that when I was working on their neck and they were in the supine (face up) position, I would have to time taking my breaths when they were on the inhale. I completely sympathize. How do people not know that their breath smells rotten?
I'm not sure I would call my example "gross" but I thought it was tacky and unprofessional. I went into a popular bank and the banker invited me into her office. She had on a very low cut blouse and you could see her massive cleavage and she kept leaning forward..... I felt uncomfortable to say the least. I just felt like that top would have been fine for a night club or a strip bar but a prestige bank. Nope! tongue sticking out smiley
I felt the same way when I did one of those "Lifestyle Lift" consultation mystery shops. The consult was in a physicians office and the consultant had on a lacy camisole, very thin, under her jacket with a tight miniskirt. She was popping out the top. Great for clubbing, but I would have found a white lab coat with a knee-length skirt more appropriate.
The point of my post was to share my gross experience and to add a little levity, because I was quite sure that many of us have had "gross" experiences while shopping, or while living life. Whether it was wrong for me, a shopper, to call out the banker for shaking my hand, then announcing she has a horrible cold is a matter of opinion. I put in the report that she was sniffling, coughing and using her sleeve as a tissue (ridiculous behavior from anyone over age 3), in answer to whether the employee behaved professionally. I did not put my comment in the report, because it could identify me. However this bank has a long rotation and I will have no reason to be back there anytime soon (I do not personally bank at this bank). So, no I did not jeopardize myself as "the shopper." This is no different than returning food that is not prepared properly during a restaurant shop; 90% of the mystery shopping companies I work for ask shoppers to complain about an incorrect order or a food item not properly prepared to judge how the complaint is handled. Certainly that could ID the shopper as well. As far as me being rude, sorry but I disagree. Blunt yes; rude no. The banker should not have been working that day; however if circumstances made it necessary, she should have simply said that she would normally shake hands but does have a cold and doesn't want to risk passing on germs; I would have reported that in the report that she acted appropriately and acknowledged she was not shaking hands for a medical reason.
Jay, when was the last time you saw an adult, dressed as a professional bank manager in a prestigious bank, use her sleeve (more than once) as a tissue?

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/09/2017 03:12AM by EileenS.
I just finished an overdraft shop where the only banker available was the private reserve banker. I suddenly got the sniffles with no kleenex in sight. The whole time I was thinking of this post.
Last month I did a grocery shop in "America's most famous zip code." The trouble started before I even entered the store, with the well-weathered 2-inch-thick layer of trash in the bushes and the ashtray they called a parking lot. Speaking of the lot, there were more carts in parking spaces than cars.

After completing my department shops, I went to check the restroom, which was in the back, down a flight of stairs. By the third step down the stairs I was nauseated... trash, a thick layer of dirt, food residue, and grease covered the stairs. At the bottom of the stairwell was an overflowing trash can with a 2-foot ring of trash on the floor around it. I used my elbow to open the filthy door to the restroom, and refused to enter. The sink, floor, and stool were all as gross as any of the above restroom descriptions. The trash can inside was also overflowing, and the soap and hand towels were empty. I'm thinking, "I just bought food here last night, and the people handling that food used this restroom."

Last week I shopped a burger and ice cream store. The cashier (who also made my shake) had severe jaundice. After taking the required pictures I took my food and shake to the dumpster outside (untasted) and pitched them untasted, and called the health department. I few days later they called me back to say that although her condition had not been caused by anything communicable, they had "dealt with her appropriately" so that she would no longer have customer contact. I wanted to ask if they also "dealt with" the manager who made the incomprehensible decision to allow an employee with possible hepatitis to not only work but to handle food!
Storm,
Those were just nasty, nasty experiences! Ewwww! Glad you called the health dept on that ff store!
Nope, it's not bad manners at all to call someone out on that. If you are sick and shaking hands with people you are the one with bad manners.
I certainly would have said something as well. Actually, I told another customer in the grocery store today to cover his mouth. Plenty of my 3-5 year old students have better manners than many of these adults. Perhaps it is a regional thing - why some posters on here think it was rude to say something and others do not? I've only ever lived in NYC. I hear folks speak up about that sort of thing often.
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