DO NOT complete your shop within the first hour of the restaurant opening, or during the last hour prior to close.

To be safe, I have waited until an hour after the location opens before going in. Has anyone tried starting earlier, just making sure you leave once the magic time has passed? If so, was your shop approved?

I do not want to test the closing time scenario.

This guideline just seems to fall into a potential gray area that I do not want to mess with.

My posts are solely based on my opinions and for my entertainment, contact a professional if you need real advice.

When you get in debt you become a slave. - Andrew Jackson

Create an Account or Log In

Membership is free. Simply choose your username, type in your email address, and choose a password. You immediately get full access to the forum.

Already a member? Log In.

I don't know which shop the guideline is from, but I would read it as don't start the shop until an hour after it opens.Presumably, this is to give the location time to prep and to clean up, and to correct any issues left over from the previous night.
I would have waited also. Usually they state not to START before a certain time, not to complete it by that time. I would email the company just to make sure.
I think the gray area is in the wording, specifically the term "complete" .vs. "start." If you are saying that by entering within the first hour, but leaving after the first hour has passed, your "complete" visit was not within the first hour, I think you are taking a risk. To be more specific, the instructions should say do not "start" your shop within the first hour. Some companies and their instructions are hopelessly vague on this terminology. I would assume that you should not do any part of the shop during that first hour. Same goes for the end.

I got burned once when I was supposed to complete a restaurant lunch visit by 2:00. The instructions did state this pretty clearly. Admittedly, I was running a bit late and arrived at 1:20. I told my server that I was running late and wanted a "quick lunch." The whole point of this shop was to see if the server offered a specific beverage when you ordered, which happened at 1:30. Then I sat and waited for my "quick lunch" for 20 minutes. I scarfed it down and tried to flag down the server. Another 20 minutes goes by. Finally at 2:15 I was free to go. Unfortunately for the server, she didn't offer me the target beverage. Fortunately for the server, I was not evaluating the service. This was a reveal, so I got to present the manager with a "try harder next time" certificate. The funny thing about it was that the server admitted to me that she was a mystery shopper herself. The unfunny thing was that I got rejected on the shop. Even though the critical evaluation occurred at 1:30 and the client got immediate feedback on the spot with the reveal, I got the shaft, because I had to wait excessively long for a "quick lunch" and poor service from someone who should have known better.


Could I have a receipt please?
E-mail your scheduler. This is one of the things about mystery shopping that makes me crazy--poorly worded and/or ambiguous instructions. I'm assuming, as many are, that what they REALLY mean is to not START the shop until at least one hour after opening.

However, if you e-mail for clarification, you do two things:
1. You get a written communication of your instructions, and if you follow those, the issue of confusion is eliminated. You're covering your butt.

2. You alert the MSC to the fact that its instructions are not clear! "Completing" a shop is not the same as "starting" it.

I ran into a situation the other day where a portion of the shop instructions were so badly mangled, they said the opposite of what was meant! (And there was a key word missing in a sentence in that portion, too.) I e-mailed for clarification. Even though I knew what was meant, I wanted to be 100% certain. The MSC e-mailed back, clarifying the instructions and saying they were going to fix the mistake.

Why have more shoppers scratching their heads over unclear instructions? It simply amazes me that in a field in which writing skills and clarity are so important, we shoppers receive the most ambiguous, conflicting, and downright horribly written guidelines.

I learn something new every day, but not everyday!
I've learned to never trust spell-check or my phone's auto-fill feature.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/23/2015 12:45PM by BirdyC.
Oh, and it really can help if you alert companies to the issue of unclear instructions on specific shops. I've been complaining about some bank-shop instructions (again, saying the opposite of what was really meant). Lo and behold, on the last of these bank shops that I did, I noticed that, finally, the instructions had been re-worded to state the proper timeframe! Now, I don't know if my comments and suggestions to them had an effect, but, they have been changed!

I learn something new every day, but not everyday!
I've learned to never trust spell-check or my phone's auto-fill feature.
If the store opens at 11:00 AM and I am not to start my shop for the first hour, then I start my shop at 12:00 Noon. (think wings shop) If the store closes at Midnight 12:00 PM (think wings shop) then I cannot START my shop in the last hour of closing, then I start my shop a little before 11:00 PM. smiling smiley
@Birdyc Kind of my reason for posting this. I can't imagine the number of shoppers either contacting MSCs over gray areas or otherwise working around them when they might not have to. Some companies frown on such questions, acting like by asking them we are displaying some type of inability to comprehend simple instructions; at least that is what many of us appear to feel based on posts I've read.

@SunnyDays2 Very nice recognition of the discussion. Start versus complete can be clearer, both used properly would even be better.

My posts are solely based on my opinions and for my entertainment, contact a professional if you need real advice.

When you get in debt you become a slave. - Andrew Jackson
Sentry marketing has an issue with a retail store that says not to COMPLETE the shop in the 1st or last hour. To be safe I make sure I both start and complete an hour after opening and an hour before closing....if its 65 minutes to closing, i make sure I wrap it up and get out of there.
Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.

Click here to login