snubbed at a restaurant shop

I was recently at a restaurant shop out of town and there was someone I know behind the counter. I've seen her at another restaurant in this chain in my home town in the past. She does not know I am a mystery shopper.

A little back ground....

Her 3 children and my oldest share a father. My son is 3 months older than her 2nd child. We haven't spoken to each other in almost 25 years.

Back to the shop. It's 5 minutes before 12pm.There were two registers open and I was next. She turned away and started organizing bags. After the other order taker got to me she came back to her register and helped the next person.

Do I put this information in my report or just let it go?

I personally hold no animosity towards this woman and never did. But I'm positive she was trying to avoid me.

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It was wrong for her to ignore you, it was her job to take care of her employer's business. These shenanigans are unprofessional and I would put it into the report in a very objective manner.

Her Serene Majesty, Cettie - Goat Queen of Zoltar, Sublime Empress of Her Caprine Domain
@sexyshopper wrote:

Should I say we know each other?

Go back and read the shop's guidelines very, very carefully. Most MSCs and most client's prohibit a mystery shopper from mystery shopping a business if they know someone who works there. This is for a lot of reasons. One of the reasons is that if you are friendly with someone who works there, it may impact your service: for example, you may get better service OR the employee may skip some of the procedures the employer requires because of knowing you. If you are UN-friendly with someone you know who works there, it may impact the service in that you may get bad service. That sounds like what happened here.

Our job as mystery shoppers is to be a "normal customer." It was wrong of her to snub you, but she likely snubbed you because you know each other. It sounds as though you have many years of bad feelings; if not on your part, definitely on her part, because it does sound as though she wanted to avoid you. I would probably not mention the incident or that you know each other and your children share a father.

Since you did not mention the MSC, I can't offer any advice about the guidelines. For example, Market Force prohibits you from shopping a client if someone you know is employed by that client. If the company you performed the shop for were Market Force, your shop would probably be invalidated and you would be barred from shopping the client in the future.

Be very careful here.
Like I said. This was an out of town restaurant. I did not expect her to be here. I cannot guess which place she might be working at. The only reason I know her is because of the connection to our children. She's not my friend.
You still know her and the fact that she was influenced by the relationship is reason enough. I would have aborts the shop and immediately emailed the scheduler and explained the situation.

There are reasons that a body stays in motion
At the moment only demons come to mind
I would contact the scheduler and explain the situation. It is likely they will invalidate the report if you say you know her, and may invalidate it and deactivate you later if you don't reveal that information and they find out later if you submit the report with the "snubbing". You may have to take a loss on this one.
@sexyshopper wrote:

Like I said. This was an out of town restaurant. I did not expect her to be here. I cannot guess which place she might be working at. The only reason I know her is because of the connection to our children. She's not my friend.

I don't mean to imply that I believe you did anything wrong. However, realize that knowing someone does not mean you are friends, only that you know each other. With a 25 year history and both of you having children who share a father, you definitely know her. Since you have seen her working at another restaurant in this chain, most MSCs would prohibit you from mystery shopping the chain. Even if the MSC does not ask if you know anyone who works at the chain, I would probably not shop this chain since she apparently could be working at any location within the chain at any time.
Your sense that she turned away rather than interact with you because of your past history would indeed invalidate the shop. I would contact the scheduler and indicate you encountered an employee you knew who has a long term personal grudge and you suspect the shop should be cancelled even though you went through with it, interacting with a different employee. I would not go into the details with the scheduler but ask if she wanted you to report or not. Chances are that the other woman mentioned to her colleagues your past history when she had a chance, but if your interaction with crew was only at the counter your shop may still be valid because there would not have been time to spread the gossip.
I agree with those who say to contact the scheduler asap with the full story and let him or her decide whether the shop can be saved or not.

We are all here on earth to help others....What on earth the others are here for I don't know.

--W. H. Auden
This is more than just knowing someone. Due to the nature of your connection it is inappropriate for you to shop that location as there is a 'personal' connection.

If you don't tell the MSC, and the store questions it and the person outs you as knowing her, it could cause more problems for you.

When you run into someone like this, you can try to contact the MSC and ask how they want you to proceed.

Some shops are allowed if you know the person, but only casually. I have a neighbor that works at a chain I shop. Even though only close friends/relatives disqualify you for this chain, I do not shop his location at all. As he is only casual connection that I just know from the neighborhood (we've never been to each other's house or exchanged phone/email, etc) is okay for me to shop the other locations. The only history we have is saying polite hellos in passing or making minimal small talk.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 10/30/2015 07:34PM by jmitw.
I agree that you should email the scheduler. The years of history between the two of you affected the shop, so the MSC needs to be made aware. If this shop involved timings, your time in line was most likely increased because she avoided interacting with you. They may or may not accept the shop.
I'm with Flash and the others, contact your scheduler and let them know. I have no doubt that after you left, she was talking about you with her co-workers. Whether you are a mystery shopper or not, sales people talk about their customers. She should not have snubbed you and treated you rudely. But don't let her issues and the situation affect you. I know it's hard. It was her job to take care of and respect the customers, but she didn't. Be the bigger person and move on. Again, it's hard, especially because of your history with this women. Just remember, you are in the drivers seat in your life, not anybody else.
I agree that if she gets "catty" after you walk away and talks about you with her other co-workers, you have a real problem. I would notify your scheduler immediately that this associate (whom you know) turned her back on you when it was your turn to order. At the very least, you will be banned from that particular store, at the most, all the stores in the chain because you know someone who works there and since they share the same father, it would be considered that you know her personally. Also, when the associate (that you know) turned her back, this can be verified by video and she will likely be in some trouble for ignoring you as a customer.

Oops I "liked" my own post, ugh! Trying to edit...

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/31/2015 05:33PM by SunnyDays2.
edited because someone else already said it

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/31/2015 06:35PM by Roxie.
1- Your shop could be invalidated even though you did not know you would have familiarity prior to your arrival.
2- The situation should be addressed with your scheduler who might have to invalidate.
3- If service was not unreasonably delayed due to the known employee's inattention, the scheduler might approve you writing it up without negative mention to the cashier's "distraction." Just focus on the service you did receive.
I would give this employee a break. How would you react if the tables were turned and you were in her shoes and this personal conflict presented itself in your place of employment? Maybe giving you to another cashier was a reasonable discreet tactic which also provided you the best favorable attention and service? If you could successfully write it up with the focus on the attention you did experience it might be passable. No direct contact may be what saves this report for you.
Very nice to hear both of you were civil and accommodating. Very nice.
I'm curious what you ended up doing. In reading guidelines for my shops, some very definitely have said do not under any circumstances do a shop where you encounter someone you know. In those cases, you leave and contact the scheduler asap. Other wording may not be as strong, but most all say not to do a shop with someone you know. You cannot lie to the MSC. As others have pointed out, you do that and get caught, and you are most likely done with that company and any associated MSC or scheduler(s) they are aligned with. Your best bet was to leave and contact the scheduler.

The closest I ever came to this was at a shop where someone recognized my last name. They did not know me, but they asked about my sister. I gave a generic response and said I had no idea if she did business there or not and then continued with the shop. When I left, I did contact the scheduler who gave me instructions on what to say in the report. I was paid without incident.
Honestly? I'd play dumb. You went out there, spent your money, just report on what happened without mentioning that you knew this person. If the MSC comes back to you and says that the employee claims they knew you, you can truthfully say that you didn't know they worked there and, if you're comfortable with stretching the truth, say you didn't recognize them.

Don't believe that MSCs and their editors don't bend the truth to make sure they get paid, either.
I would SCRAP the shop. It seems like you avoided the shop in town because the said person worked there. So you did not know if she STILL worked there or move to a different store . Which is what she did. She too had reasons to avoid you at any cost. Moving out of town was the best she could do for the situation.

You entering the "out of town" restaurant brought back memories to HER. Which is why she avoided you. 25 years, in her eyes, is not long enough. You entering the store as a normal customer did not remain "normal" , once you realized that the Associate was someone you know from a past experience. You completed the shop as you should have, regardless of whom waited on you. If you were in "HER" line and she moved to do another task rather than wait on you, that does affect your timing. Especially if someone else had to wait on you.

You complete your shop and leave the store. Yes, the "FEMALE" probably did go into her Chatty Kathy mode with her co-workers. Now that will probably affect your Report. Depending on what you write objectively. The Retail may question anything you write, negative or positive. She may not of known you for a MS then, but she will know now.

SCRAP the report. Called the scheduler let them know that you knew someone in the restaurant and as much as you try, you could not write an objective report. I would not tell the MSC about your past with the Employee because it is none of there "professional" business. If it comes back later where the MSC found out or knew you had some "personal" affiliation with a client's retail it may bite you in the backside and prohibit you from certain or all shops. MSCs do talk amongst themselves about common or shared Shoppers. Money may be why we are in this but better service is at the top. If your "lost" is less than $50 then everything will be alright . You may just find a better shop for a real bonus. SCRAP the shop, the report and the chain.

Some things PRIVATE should remain private, even on a public forum such as this.
I find it interesting that at least a few people assume the cashier must have gone Chatty Kathy with her co-workers after sexyshopper left. I wouldn't have thought about that, and I don't think it's a given that she did talk to them about sexyshopper.

Anywho...yeah, let the scheduler know about the issue. It seems to have affected the service, assuming you correctly recognized her and vice versa after 25 years.

I don't think there are any Russians / And there ain't no Yanks
Just corporate criminals\ / Playin' with tanks
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