Should I just LIE when confronted "Are you a mystery shopper?"

Well well... this was a real pickle. Halfway through an automobile shop, the salesman just flat out asked "are you a mystery shopper?". I was so shocked I nearly dropped my pen. I said "What, why would you ask that". He said because I was writing some things down. I said "Sir, this is a huge purchase that costs half my annual salary - you better believe I'm writing things down.". And that was the end of it..... but it made me wonder. If confronted, what do you all do? Just lie convincingly? Appreciate your input! Thanks!

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I think your response was perfect for that kind of shop! smiling smiley I've never actually been asked "the question" but I would probably say something similar depending on what type of shop it is.

What's done is done. An egg cracked cannot be cured.
There are 3 kinds of lies. Lies, Damn lies, and statistics.
Never admit, just say, "What's that"? Don't admit you have no money, dead giveaway. Sometime a little white lie is all you need.

Skills can be taught, Character your born with....
Anthony Bourdain


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/25/2017 07:53PM by Irene_L.A..
Isn't the fact that you're a mystery shopper shopping for a non real car already a lie? Just make it feel more of a lie when asked. From the statement you said, sounds like you can think on your feet. And it was clever. Clever phrases are good, sometimes it makes the salesperson step back or he assumed too much. smiling smiley
Yes, in every situation no matter how dire it feels you should lie. That was a great answer, by the way.

This gas station pavement is $%^@*#& hot.
When I have been asked this question, I respond with another question, complete with the painted on quizzical look " a WHAT ? what's a mystery shopper " ???
Yes. You should lie. And always have a great answer in your head in case you are asked. I too, like to respond, "What's that?" Or, "I heard about that, isn't that a scam where they send fake checks in the mail?" I haven't been asked in a very long time, and it's only happened twice out of thousands of shops over nearly 2 decades of shopping.
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I have not been asked directly, but I ran into a situation where my partner was by the employee breakroom and overheard someone say, "There is a mystery shopper in the front," and gave the description perfectly fitting me. He texted me immediately that my identity was compromised. So, I finished talking to the associate, thanked him, exited the store, and asked MSC to ban me from that store.
I have mentioned this in another thread, but, here goes. i'm doing my one in 6 Kroger shops, and the Manager walks up to me and says, "I know your the shopper, your not a regular customer, and whenever it's time to be shopped here you are". I swear my mouth dropped open, i just stood there, not saying a word...then he points to his name tag and says, see, my name is Frank, tell then how friendly I was, he was aggressive and scary to the core. I wrote his behavior in my report, and never heard back, but am not seeing that store, fine with me...still doing the others. What a creep.

Skills can be taught, Character your born with....
Anthony Bourdain
My advice is no, never admit that you are a mystery shopper. If you do your presentation is over. And my second bit of advice is not to consider it a lie. Is it a lie if the salesman tells you an extended warrantee is a great idea or that undercoating is necessary? Well, maybe so but the chances are he has been instructed to offer those options. We are instructed not to reveal ourselves by the MSC. If it eases your conscious perhaps you can look at it this way - you may be in the market for a new car at some point and if the salesman makes a great presentation and gets your interest there is the possibility that you may return someday as a prospect and not a shopper.
Why yes I am I was sent this check to see if I could get this Honda for less than 48k is something wrong?
I had a weird situation regarding this when I was a really new shopper.....I wasn’t on a shop and when cashing my mystery shopper checks and the teller asked if I was a mystery shopper and I was so confused for a second. I realized that she had about 4 of my checks and was staring at them because of course they all had different company names on them. I wasn’t on a shop so in my head and being new I didn’t see the harm in telling the truth so I said “Yes.” She said “That’s really neat I always wondered if that was real. I remember thinking “Shoot, I guess I can’t mystery shop this bank location now.” You live and learn, I’ve never admitted it since.
@Irene_L.A. wrote:

I have mentioned this in another thread, but, here goes. i'm doing my one in 6 Kroger shops, and the Manager walks up to me and says, "I know your the shopper, your not a regular customer, and whenever it's time to be shopped here you are". I swear my mouth dropped open, i just stood there, not saying a word...then he points to his name tag and says, see, my name is Frank, tell then how friendly I was, he was aggressive and scary to the core. I wrote his behavior in my report, and never heard back, but am not seeing that store, fine with me...still doing the others. What a creep.

TinaMarie
If saying things that are not true while mystery shopping is lying, then all movie stars are liars when they are working on making movies. Mystery shoppers are much the same as Hollywood actors, but we get paid much less for our jobs. The OP played the scenario perfectly IMO. It is called ad libbing and it is an integral part of our job.
What did you say ..Mystic shopper..huh..What's that?

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/02/2018 12:10AM by Mum.
I just told a friend the other day, "Between telling my daughter that Santa is real and mystery shopping, I feel like a professional liar"!
That was very fast thinking! When I am asked the seven million dollar question, I usually reply with a bit of humor. For example if I were in your situation I would have said, " Well I tell you what that will always be a mystery". LOL
I would go with a puzzled "What's that?" and then say "Oh, you mean one of those people who ....? I wish!"
I just did a phone shop where I had to reveal at the end that I was a mystery shopper. Oddly, it felt good!!
MYstery shopping is not things that many ordinary people aware of. We knew about that existence because we involved but others not. So I agree it is better not admite.

Shopping Eastern Pennsylvania and parts of NJ, since 2009
One time I did a visit and at the end the guy said he knew I was the shopper and said he hoped I'd give him a good review. I didn't deny it cuz I knew he "got me" but I also have not been back to that location since - and won't. I was asked one other time and I said to him: "If I say I am will I get a discount on my services" while laughing. He said "No." I then laughed back and said since the answer was "No" - I was not but if I would, then "Yes" I was. He said there was no discount. I said "Bummer" and that was that.
I've done the opposite.
When shopping as a normal individual and feeling a bit miffed, waiting, I start acting like a mystery shopper rather blatantly (one time I made a fake phone call pressing buttons, then asked how long I have to wait until I can finally leave and get my fee).

Odd things one can do for amusement. At a restaurant take some random photo and then act like you've been caught, do timings blatantly, whatever. just of course, not when actually mystery shopping... winking smiley
I don't know what you're talking about... backing away... wild look in the eyes... a twitch here or there...

Or, what they said. You just have to cya and play your part until the end of the assignment. I love all the ideas in this tread! smiling smiley

..get up early. It's the best part of the day.. - George Allen, Sr.
You're lying when you say you're in the market for a new car, why not lie about this as well?

Sorry I don't even know what that is.

Not sure why it's even a question.

They can kick dirt in your face, dress you down and tell you that your place is in the middle, when they hate the way you shine.
Consider this for a moment: Whether they know or think you are a shopper should have absolutely ZERO impact on how the employee behaves. It does, but it shouldn't. Asking if you are a shopper, or saying they know you are a shopper is pretty much telling their employer, "Hey, I'm done working here." Companies don't give out bonuses to the employee who spots the most shoppers. And by companies, I'm referring to the level where decisions to hire mystery shoppers are made, not individual stores and managers.
I have worked retail jobs where training specifically covers what to do if you think customer is mystery shopping and it was basically, "Keep doing your job." When an employee asks if you're a mystery shopper, that tells their employer that they are not providing a consistent level of service, and is important information for them. Our job, as stated in practically every shop guideline or training, is not to reveal ourselves. I don't consider saying, "No, what's that?" any more of a lie that saying I'm interested in buying a new refrigerator or whatever.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/07/2018 04:59PM by TroyHawkins.
In the middle of a car dealership shop, I was accused of being a mystery shopper by the salesman. I asked, "What's a mystery shopper?" He looked at me skeptically and asked, "You don't know what a mystery shopper is?" I tried to look puzzled and shook my head no. He didn't pursue the matter and his spiel about the vehicle continued. He left the room for several minutes and then I was passed on to a sales manager. The guy grilled me with rapid-fire questions, including asking how much I earned and how I earned it. Since my scenario was based on truth, I answered every question without hesitation. I never confessed. When the grilling was over, and I got back inside my car to leave, I blurted out a multitude of expletives. I noted in my report that the dealership should not be shopped again until they got their act together. I described everything that occurred along with a list of grilling questions asked of me. The MSC said that they could not use my report but paid me. They apologized for what I went through. The moral of the story is base your scenario on truth and never reveal who you are.
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