*Think* I was figured out as the shopper, mention it in the report?

So I think the employee figured out I was the shopper on a shop I did this afternoon. The first question out of her mouth was one of those things you are told to refuse if asked. It's one of those almost dead giveaways that you are the shopper. I did what I was supposed to and refused but I really think that tipped her off, no fault of mine though. She just went through EVERYTHING she was supposed to mention and even said so, even the little things that are often left off. Should I mention this in my report or no? Not sure what to do since I don't have 100% confirmation of it but I really do think she figured it out.

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 did a bonused pizza shop for the second time and got the deluxe epecial. I was not told but I knew. I begged off future ones until I gave up. So now every so often I get the best pizza I've ever had from the chain.

Do not read so much, look about you and think of what you see there.
Richard Feynman-- letter to Ashok Arora, 4 January 1967, published in Perfectly Reasonable Deviations from the Beaten Track (2005) p. 230
If you were a new shopper I would suggest it was your imagination since we all go through those scares when we start off. But if you indeed have been regularly doing this for the 5 years of your membership here, I suspect you likely are correct. I have had pretty certain identifications. I put in the report as if nothing was awry and then in the comments or by email to the scheduler outlined my suspicions of having been identified. I have never had one come back to 'bite' me because I didn't misrepresent in the report and the smart employee got an almost perfect report because they did so well for whatever reason. If they don't challenge there is no reason for anyone to get upset--the MSC has no explaining to do, etc. Since they did well there is no reason to challenge. I then have taken it upon myself not to revisit the location for a while and/or make certain I don't interact with the same employee again.
Thanks! I have been doing this for a little over 5 years and this is the first time I've ever thought they figured it out. I'm just hesitant to say anything because I had a report questioned last week and even though it was accepted because I stood by the timings, I still got dinged for not saying exactly where a particular cosmetic problem was at a location because I didn't note it in my notes. Trying to make sure I cover all my bases this time, but the report doesn't leave much room for details. It didn't even ask if the employee asked me the question that I'm pretty sure gave it away.
@MarionS wrote:

The first question out of her mouth was one of those things you are told to refuse if asked. It's one of those almost dead giveaways that you are the shopper. I did what I was supposed to and refused but I really think that tipped her off, no fault of mine though. She just went through EVERYTHING she was supposed to mention and even said so, even the little things that are often left off. Should I mention this in my report or no? Not sure what to do since I don't have 100% confirmation of it but I really do think she figured it out.

Well....if the employee actually asked the question, AND the company specifically told you to refuse...perhaps the employee then simply followed protocol and did what she was supposed to do?

I realize that some questions may seem "obvious" to us (like one shop where you go to a financial institution to send money, and you have to ask something about "I want to wire this money to another city" under strange circumstances, and you have to repeat yourself), but if the company specifically instructs us to do something, then as long as we do it and act somewhat normally, then we do it.

Asking for a receipt could also be a tip-off....but many/most companies say to ask for one if not given one (except for most bar audits), even though it may tip off the employee. I did a bar audit at an entertainment venue, and after being served my drink and told the cost without being given a receipt, I asked for a receipt (per the client's explicit guideline). The bartender had to then dig the receipt out of the trash can with all of the other receipts she was throwing away, and fish through them to find mine! (she didn't want to hit "reprint" on the POS because it will say "reprint" on the receipt, and the client would know that the employee likely threw away the original receipt).

Funny how when I arrived at the bar, the bartender ignored me for 2 minutes while she waited on someone who arrived AFTER I did, and when she did acknowledge me, she gave me a disinterested, unfriendly, rushed greeting of "what can I get you?"...but after she had to dig the receipt out of the trash can, she came back to check on me later, and when I left, she actually gave me a very friendly departure salutation of "have a good night!", despite completely ignoring everyone else who was leaving. smiling smiley
I agree with Flash. The client will see the report, but not what you email your scheduler. I have only been asked once if I was a mystery shopper. I played dumb like I had no idea there was such a job.
I wish there was some really, really good way out of it when somebody suspects or identifies you as a shopper. I have never been asked by anyone, though someone once speculated out loud as to whether or not I was. I didn't give an answer, just tried to look a bit confused, like I didn't know what the person was talking about while they continued talking. THAT was an interesting audit. Had to call the scheduler in a slight panic right afterwards because of something else the client's employee did. It all turned out okay on my end, though, as far as I know.
I would never state that I think anything. Only report the facts. Unless they walked up to you and said, "You are the shopper." you cannot know for a fact that they have identified you. It is possible that they know the day and approximate hours the shopper will be visiting and treated everyone exactly as the corporate policy states.

I shopped a location that they used very soapy rags on the tables and there were soap streaks on the tables. I put it in the report and it was very visible in the photos.

When I shopped them the next time, the manager saw me and immediately dispatched someone to clean the restroom and then sent two people out into the dining room with wet and dry cloths to make certain the tables had no streaks and wiped and dried every table that was not being used. I'm 99.99% sure I am outed at that location.

They were so busy concentrating on the dining room that there were errors on the slower service and the food order. They still did not get a perfect report. Much food is prepared ahead of time and cannot be corrected even if they do think your the shopper.

Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 01/31/2016 08:40PM by scanman1.
I am pretty sure I got outed at a recent local carryout restaurant shop. The shop guidelines stated it was mandatory to get a photo of the lobby. Well, when I walked in, there was an employee sweeping the lobby (which was about six feet from the door to the counter and maybe fifteen feet wide). There were no other customers, and there were two employees at the counter. One of them rang up my order while the other one retrieved it. There was no opportunity to shoot a discreet photo, so I just pulled my phone out of my pocket and nonchalanty took a photo of the lobby before leaving. I know that the cashier saw me do it and possibly the other two did as well, because as I was getting in my car, I turned around and looked, and all three of them were staring out the window at me and talking. Oops.
I had a shop where I think they "caught" me when I was taking a picture of the bottom of the pizza. Taking a pic of the top is one thing but picking up a couple of pieces and taking a photo of the bottom is not something a regular customer would do. I declined the shop for a few months before doing another one hoping they would forget about me. I am glad to say I saw nothing during my latest visit to think they remembered me. The good thing about some businesses is that they have such a fast turnover of employees. I saw many new faces at the location this time including the manager.
I've worked for many companies that did mystery shops: restaurants, convenience stores, banks. While managers train employees to do the right things at all times they also do teach how to spot a mystery shopper as well. The convenience store it was always look for the person buying one really cheap item and has the cash out in their hand ready to pay as soon as they get to the counter. The restaurant it was always look for anyone dining alone with a tablet or laptop. Btw even if your not mystery shopping if you ever want really good service go to a restaurant by yourself with your tablet out, guarantee you will get the best service! Anyway all I'm saying is if you've mystery shopped for 5 years you've probably been spotted more times then you realize, but at the same time there are employees that do, do everything they're supposed to routinely so at the same token just because the employee you got did everything they were supposed to shouldn;t always mean they must have spotted you either
Many people have said variations of, "The best defense is a good offense." I was once accused of being a shopper. I demanded an apology from the employee and manager for being insulted. I completed the shop, let my scheduler know what happened and was paid. Or, as Barney Fife would say, "Nip it in the bud."

"To be persuasive we must be believable; to be believable we must be credible; to be credible we must be truthful." Edward R. Murrow

Thou shalt not steal. I mean defensively. On offense, indeed thou shall steal and thou must.--Branch Rickey
Unless somebody said to me, "Oh, you must be the mystery shopper," I'd never assume for sure that an employee or employees spotted me as one. You don't know for a fact that she spotted you, and, although your opinion may be well informed, it's still that, and we're generally supposed to be objective with our observations. Just the facts, ma'am, just the facts. smiling smiley

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 02/01/2016 11:06PM by BirdyC.
If I am confronted, I mention it in the report. If I "think" the employee knows I'm a shopper, I don't put it in the report. It is just a suspicion on my part.
I figure about a third of my shops at least are stage plays for both me and the employee, in this heavily shopped medium sized city. We play are roles well, tho. winking smiley
Even though I was too young, I went to one of the Medicare seminars either as the decision maker for a parent or someone on disability. As luck would have it I was the only one there. The agent actually said, "You're not my mystery shopper are you?" Apparently he believed the look of bewilderment on my face because he explained how shoppers were sent in to verify agents did exactly what they were supposed to do. The seminar was at a local Italian restaurant and he had provided some great appetizers. It was so tough to decline when he tried to get me to take a bunch a home.

Equal rights for others does not mean fewer rights for you. It's not pie.
"I prefer someone who burns the flag and then wraps themselves up in the Constitution over someone who burns the Constitution and then wraps themselves up in the flag." -Molly Ivins
Never try to teach a pig to sing. It's a waste of your time and it really annoys the pig.
@sbobgal wrote:

I figure about a third of my shops at least are stage plays for both me and the employee, in this heavily shopped medium sized city. We play are roles well, tho. winking smiley

I think we all probably play our roles pretty well!

I learn something new every day, but not everyday!
I've learned to never trust spell-check or my phone's auto-fill feature.
I had the reverse yesterday. I went to a high end restaurant I mystery shop on my own dime because I had finally earned a $25 rewards certificate after spending $$$ there. I often wondered if they knew I was the mystery shopper. We went to happy hour to get the most out of the $25. After eating and drinking my $25 worth I got my tab which came to $13.00 after taking off the rewards amt. When I got the receipt back from my credit card I noticed I had been charged $20 so I asked if they had already added a tip to my bill. I sat there wondering if the bartender had just given me another customer's bill to pay on purpose and hoped I would not notice and then after I left he would ring up his customer/friend with my tab. It could have been an honest mistake but the happy hour customers at this place seem to be regulars every time I go to do a job. They all sit up at the bar and greet each other warmly as they come in and the bartender always seems to know all of them well. After I mentioned the discrepancy the bartender could not have been more gracious. He fell all over himself personally coming to my table to see me off.
I have done a bunch of new customer bank shops for a regional bank where there is a scenario where you walk in and state a certain statement. 100% of the time I am the only customer in the bank. 100% of the time the people fawn all over me. I was starting to think "wow this bank has great customer service training." And that might be true. But one time they were fawning over me even more than usual... The manager came up and introduced herself and everything... lol.

They put a really young guy on the "sale" with me. He seemed very earnest and awkward, had a bunch of different papers and reference documents, and at one point left me alone in the office to get "one more brochure" for me. I was able to get a look at his paperwork and he had a laminated piece of paper with the exact statement on the top of the page and said something like "mystery shoppers are going to come in saying this" and all the points to hit lol. He came back in and we just kept going like nothing was amiss and the shop has been in the can for a while now.

I sort of felt like I should confess, but then again... If the company is going to give them laminated training documents that say what the mystery shopper will say... I decided not to jeopardize my shopper pay. Since then I have changed up the opening statement just a teeny bit so as not to sound so scripted.
Cecilia, For the blue bank, I think they all know that we are shoppers especially when we go in every couple of months or so to the same banker. They just are more professional since they usually are college educated and realize that it is their time to do what they are supposed to do to get the good score. If they outed us, then they are back to not knowing who it is. For the most part, I think the shop is more about getting the correct documentation for regulations than it is about customer service anyway. I wish all places are like this as it makes it so easy.

Shopping across Indiana but mostly around Indianapolis.
Please tell me you mentioned it in the report that she fished your receipt out of the trash
@The1Sandman wrote:

Please tell me you mentioned it in the report that she fished your receipt out of the trash

But of course! Details like that are never omitted from the report. I state whatever I observe - the good, the bad, and the downright weird/ugly/strange/detailed. I leave it up to the scheduler/client to decide what to remove from the report.
I have had a store manager say to the employee next to him, this is our mystery shopper. Then he comes over to me and asks the appropriate questions, offering extra add on items and listing special priced items for the month. I've mentioned this to the scheduler a few times when I get called to perform this shop. I've mentioned I don't self assign this shop because I've been outed. I was told that I should always get great service from this location and then she assigns me the shop with a bonus.

~~*~~*~~*~~ kal ~~*~~*~~*~~
Everyone has a photographic memory. Some just forget to load the film.
To tell you the truth, I am pretty sure I have been outed in one of those casual dining places. But I doubt I was even suspected in many of the establishments I shopped. As my companion said, it was more likely he would be suspected because he looked very observant even though he was not a shopper. He said I did not have the look of a shopper, whatever that meant. He said he watched me and I observed in a very subtle way.

As I stated in one of my earlier posts, once I was outed by one of my companions in a large gathering. The associate told me she would never have suspected me in a million years. The guilty person apologized profusely. Damage was done. I never did that upscale retail again.

Recently I did a shop and one of the staff interacted with me. In a light conversation she commented on the mayo on my sandwich which appeared too much. I said I actually asked on the side as I was not a mayo person. But that I just scraped it out. No need to go back to the register.

Lo and behold, here came the manager who told me she could replace it but she knew what I always ordered. I always had mayo on the sandwich and mayo on the side. I realized she completely confused me with someone else. I told her there was no reason to get upset because I could easily scrape it off. Then she shocked me when she said, "I know you are our mystery shopper." I said, "Huh?" She said she knew because I ordered the same thing.

I said, "I don't usually order this sandwich." She said she knew I did. Well, I avoided that restaurant for a while. And I suspect she said that probably to warn me that she knew. But I am not easily intimidated. I am scheduled to go there at the end of the month.
I have always reported to the scheduler when I think I've been identified. I may have been at some of the fast food places I visit regularly, but I visit them on my own pretty often too, so maybe they're just recognizing me as a regular customer. When the carhop makes a point of going in and putting on skates to do my check back, I'm pretty sure she knows, and I report that she did that to the scheduler. The only time I've ever been asked, I was doing a sizing audit, and I told the clerk that "everybody knows that's just a scam!" and laughed about it. She went away and quit trying to re-size the racks ahead of me.
One guy said.. The shopper thanks for giving me a good report. I said I am trying to the buy a car. I finally told him that I was trying to buy a car but he is focused on trying to see if I am a shopper so I left. I told the msc I could not go back. Otherwise when you are peeped they don't let you know they just give impeccable service and everybody is happy.
Fortunately, FF managers and staff change so often that if I just stop going to the place for a month or so it is an all-new crew. I think I got outed at one burger place (the manager put my order ahead of others and nudged the fry cook and they both looked at me. When my order - with the comment "jump the line" - was called the presenter made a point of making sure everything was as I wanted it. The manager stopped by my table, to "check" all was OK. I went in on my own dime a couple of weeks later and then picked up an assignment the next month. Not a familiar face in the place!

Shopping SoCal and Maui.
Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.

Click here to login