Could never understand requirements of some reports.

I did a shop for an electronics store today. The guidelines said to check the restroom, but do not ask where the restroom was. That may tip them off as to you being a mystery shopper. How does asking where is the restroom tip them off? Only mystery shoppers use the restroom?
Another shop I looked at, for a restaurant. The guide lines said not to ask for doggie bag. (do not ask to take home left overs). This could tip them off to you being a mystery shopper. Again, only mystery shoppers take home leftovers?

One fast food shop I had said, only order a small drink and do not accept any upsell. I would think a fast food business would want you to buy anything large. Every other fast food shop I've done has encouraged you to buy a large of anything. It's more money for them. I just find all of this strange from some shops. Personal opinion, whoever writes some of these shops appears to want total control over the shopper.

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Just a guess, but it may be that a shopper was outed in the past in a way that was connected to the bathroom, like maybe they were seen taking notes or photos, but of course that is ridiculous to think it would be a tip-off.

I once did one of those shops where you have to go during the last half-hour of business, order an app, entree, and dessert, and you must eat it all there. (I felt so bad for the girl who had to stay that I no longer do those late shops.) She had already put away the desserts by the time I was ready for mine, which I had already paid for, and that made it into my report. From then on, the guidelines said that you're not to say they didn't bring the dessert just because they put them all away.

@johnb974 wrote:

I did a shop for an electronics store today. The guidelines said to check the restroom, but do not ask where the restroom was. That may tip them off as to you being a mystery shopper. How does asking where is the restroom tip them off? Only mystery shoppers use the restroom?
Another shop I looked at, for a restaurant. The guide lines said not to ask for doggie bag. (do not ask to take home left overs). This could tip them off to you being a mystery shopper. Again, only mystery shoppers take home leftovers?

One fast food shop I had said, only order a small drink and do not accept any upsell. I would think a fast food business would want you to buy anything large. Every other fast food shop I've done has encouraged you to buy a large of anything. It's more money for them. I just find all of this strange from some shops. Personal opinion, whoever writes some of these shops appears to want total control over the shopper.
Clients have their reasons. If you ever find the guidelines odd (like the restroom scenario), contact your scheduler in advance with possible scenarios and get their feedback. Most likely dozens of others had the same issue.

Of course, things come up that never fit into any of the scenarios......
One company that does a lot of fine dining doesn't allow leftovers to be taken home. I would say a larger percentage of their 'regular' customers wouldn't ask to take it home. A lot of these restaurants are in hotels and if you are spending that much on a hotel and dinner you probably aren't worried about wasting some of your dinner, if you get hungry later you'll just order room service.

Servimer Regional Manager- Nevada, Illinois, Wisconsin & Minnesota
@luckygirl0100 wrote:

One company that does a lot of fine dining doesn't allow leftovers to be taken home. I would say a larger percentage of their 'regular' customers wouldn't ask to take it home. A lot of these restaurants are in hotels and if you are spending that much on a hotel and dinner you probably aren't worried about wasting some of your dinner, if you get hungry later you'll just order room service.

That I understand. There are some exceptions. This was a chain restaurant, where it would have been normal to take home left overs. As one poster said, I should have contacted the scheduler and mentioned it.
Some of the requirements are silly. I find that the silly requirements are often tied to the MSC rather than the client. The reason for the 'no doggie bag' policy is likely that they do not want the shoppers ordering more than necessary. I've seen plenty of people staying at hotels take a doggie bag back to their room. I've never understood it, but it's done. People who dine in the finest establishments bring home doggie bags for themselves and/or their dogs.

Evaluating and mailing packages since 1994
I think mystery shoppers have to lower their expectations & frequently set aside logic in order to keep shopping without being driven mad lol. As we've discussed here often, guidelines and/or instructions can be nonsensical or confusing or unrealistic.... I've often wondered whether the MSCs & their clients ever employ the services of a business consultant to take an outside look - these folks are geared toward achieving better results at less cost and as an independent party, their perspective is less complicated.
I have one MSC that prohibits taking leftovers. What bigger tip-off is there when one has consumed 1/2 of a pizza and is clearly done, the wait person comes over and without prompting offers a box for the leftover, and the shopper declines?
There can be some practical reasoning behind some instructions. In retail, employees are often expected to guide a customer to the restrooms instead of simply pointing the way. This takes that employee away from there assigned area. If the store is busy, this has a negative impact on real customers. Also, practically ever store requires employees who are not a actively engaged with a customer to make eye contact and greet each customer they come near. This means the trip back from guiding you to the restroom could take 30 minutes or longer. Meaning even more time their department is short-staffed. Ever had to wait for another employee to return before YOU could take your break or go to the restroom, while you’ve got customers waiting for assistance?
Kind of the same thing with not asking for a to-go box or doggie bag. Takes the employee away from helping or being available for the paying customers, causing longer service times.
And no, mystery shoppers are not considered paying customers. We’re contracted for specific tasks and evaluations. Finding the restroom is one of those things you might be expected to do without help. Likewise the meal may be reimbursed, but doesn’t mean the client wants their employees to be required to spend more time with you than necessary for what you are there to evaluate.
But asking the shopper to find the restroom takes away from our time too. In the electronics store it's not easy finding the restroom. Sometimes you have to walk all around the store to find it.
When that happens I try to be positive about it. The extra walk means I have more steps towards my daily goal :-)
@johnb974 wrote:

But asking the shopper to find the restroom takes away from our time too. In the electronics store it's not easy finding the restroom. Sometimes you have to walk all around the store to find it.

Happiness is not a goal; it is a by-product. Eleanor Roosevelt
@BarefootBliss wrote:

I think mystery shoppers have to lower their expectations & frequently set aside logic in order to keep shopping without being driven mad lol. As we've discussed here often, guidelines and/or instructions can be nonsensical or confusing or unrealistic.... I've often wondered whether the MSCs & their clients ever employ the services of a business consultant to take an outside look - these folks are geared toward achieving better results at less cost and as an independent party, their perspective is less complicated.
I suspect many of them do, but that work is done at the corporate level. The testing is done by mystery shoppers at the point of sale to see if what the consultants recommended is working or has been (properly) implemented. A business consultant costs tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars; a mystery shop a hundred or so (maybe less).

Also, turnover is high, training is limited, and pay is low at many of the shopped locations -- especially retail and fast casual and fast food locations.

Another issue is food quality at food outlets like Chipotle and Five Guys (where many things are made from scratch in the restaurant) is limited by the interest and skill of whoever is working that particular shift. Not so much at Panera and McDonalds where the food quality is tightly controlled with much of the preparation done in centralized kitchens.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/01/2018 10:38PM by gukka.
@TroyHawkins wrote:

There can be some practical reasoning behind some instructions. In retail, employees are often expected to guide a customer to the restrooms instead of simply pointing the way. This takes that employee away from there assigned area. If the store is busy, this has a negative impact on real customers. Also, practically ever store requires employees who are not a actively engaged with a customer to make eye contact and greet each customer they come near. This means the trip back from guiding you to the restroom could take 30 minutes or longer.

Are you saying that it takes 30 mins for an employee to show a customer where the restroom is??

______________________________________________________________________
Seriously, nobody cares that you're offended.
Anytime I've asked where is the restroom, the employee just pointed in the direction and said "over there"
@luckygirl0100 wrote:

One company that does a lot of fine dining doesn't allow leftovers to be taken home. I would say a larger percentage of their 'regular' customers wouldn't ask to take it home. A lot of these restaurants are in hotels and if you are spending that much on a hotel and dinner you probably aren't worried about wasting some of your dinner, if you get hungry later you'll just order room service.

Exactly. Most of the customers are in town/hotel for business or just visiting and do not return home with leftovers to warm them up later!
@TroyHawkins wrote:

No. Please read what I wrote and you will understand what I said.
I did. You're saying that it could take up to a half hour for an employee to show a customer where the bathroom is because they could get waylaid by other customers. I can't say I've ever been in a single store in my 45 years where an employee walked me to the restroom. Where are these stores?

______________________________________________________________________
Seriously, nobody cares that you're offended.
No. I said it could take 30 minutes or more to make it back AFTER they showed you to the restroom.
There's one shop out there that requires one to spend 30 minutes on site. Problem is that store is only about 10 x 15 feet and nearly never has more than one customer in it. So one lingers, and lingers, looking at the same unwanted trinket over-and-over, pondering it, after the clerk has several times sold, resold, and attempted to close the sale...

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/02/2018 01:15AM by Rousseau.
@Rousseau wrote:

There's one shop out there that requires one to spend 30 minutes on site. Problem is that store is only about 10 x 15 feet and nearly never has more than one customer in it. So one lingers, and lingers, looking at the same unwanted trinket over-and-over, pondering it, after the clerk has several times sold, resold, and attempted to close the sale...

I would just go out and sit in my car. smiling smiley
There is a bank shop that I have done more than a few times that I can't seem to get quite right from one of the editor's perspectives. I keep getting 9's - so I'm not too worried about it, but I do find it mildly exasperating.

I am supposed to enter the bank, walk up to a teller and complain about my current bank - but, from what I can tell, not say that I want to consider opening an account. I just can't seem to pull off the idea of walking up to a teller and simply complaining about my current bank.

Hard work builds character and homework is good for your soul.
Go up to the teller, say you need a money order for $15.00 and bank “X” charges you $5.00 even though you have an account with them. You deposit the money order back into your account, and you’re not out any funds.
It's an account opening inquiry I am specifically not supposed to actually ask about anything. Asking about a money order would risk invalidating the shop.

Hard work builds character and homework is good for your soul.
@johnb974 wrote:

@Rousseau wrote:

There's one shop out there that requires one to spend 30 minutes on site. Problem is that store is only about 10 x 15 feet and nearly never has more than one customer in it. So one lingers, and lingers, looking at the same unwanted trinket over-and-over, pondering it, after the clerk has several times sold, resold, and attempted to close the sale...

I would just go out and sit in my car. smiling smiley

Why sit in the car rather than just leaving? If one flakes on the job what good is it to be stuck in one's car twiddling thumbs? Not going to get paid either way. Not going to ever get an assignment from the MSC again.
I have gotten paid because there are no cameras in the stores. I've done a certain phone shop that requires you to spend 15 minutes in the store. These are small stores, with very few customers. The shop can be done in just over 5 minutes. No need to be standing in front of the counter for 10 minutes. Waste of my time and the employee's time.
@Rousseau wrote:

@johnb974 wrote:

@Rousseau wrote:

There's one shop out there that requires one to spend 30 minutes on site. Problem is that store is only about 10 x 15 feet and nearly never has more than one customer in it. So one lingers, and lingers, looking at the same unwanted trinket over-and-over, pondering it, after the clerk has several times sold, resold, and attempted to close the sale...

I would just go out and sit in my car. smiling smiley

Why sit in the car rather than just leaving? If one flakes on the job what good is it to be stuck in one's car twiddling thumbs? Not going to get paid either way. Not going to ever get an assignment from the MSC again.

He makes up his own rules, cuts corners and whines about timing and pay, etc. He's not going to actually say he spent 5 minutes in the store. He's going to lie about it.

He's too good to do it right, yet really doesn't do any of these jobs right at all.

(and if he really blocked me because I am such a bully, he won't see this at all.)
@MFJohnston wrote:

It's an account opening inquiry I am specifically not supposed to actually ask about anything. Asking about a money order would risk invalidating the shop.

Well that makes no sense at all... Hence w one of the many reasons I don’t do Bank shops.
Oh, I see how you can bold your statements now.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/05/2018 01:42AM by spicy1.
@spicy1 wrote:

Quoted post removed. Mod

Ruining for you and everyone else? LOL You have nothing to do with my shops. The report is just a yes/ no report, no text. You ask certain questions, get the answers and you're done. It's the ONLY phone shop I've seen that requires you hang around 15 minutes. When you're the ONLY customer and the report is one page of yes/no questions, and no narrative, it doesn't take 15 minutes. Standing around the store doesn't add anything to the report and is a waste of time.
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