What things have you learned from mystery shopping that you would not know otherwise?

Post office procedures, better banking practices, Visa surcharges, what to look for in a mattress, fast food places do up-sells, a lot about hardware and DIY projects, standards for gas stations, learned a lot about technology, how to buy a tractor if I ever need one.......What have you learned...Some of it has been UBIs(Useless Bits of Information) and some things I have learned have been very beneficial. I find mystery shopping to be educational in some respects.

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I've learned that there are multiple, different health plans offered to seniors through the medicare advantage plans. Each company has its plusses and minuses. Before I started doing these several years ago, I had no idea of all the differences between the different health companies offering these plans.
I learned about Assisted Living homes and actually had to put my sister in one...the one I did had another in her location, that's where she is. I learned about the timings and how strict owners are about that, and how to be more detail-oriented. I learned I can and do enjoy a good meal, even while trying to remember did she smile, her name, description and all that stuff. I learned yes, you can still work at my ripe ole age and this is good for the mind.

Create a life that feels good on the inside, not one that just looks good on the outside.....
Dr. Judith Wright
How important the Hazmat question can be for safely shipping packages. Managers of restaurants should circulate and greet patrons. Certain retail stores have personal touches such as the employees walking around counter to hand shopping bags to customers. That I can say I am looking for a $10,000.00 wrist watch as a H.S. graduation gift and both the employee and I find that believable.
Those assisted living shops were tough, since I’m expecting to need to do it for real in a few years for my mother. Learned a lot about how Medicaid works and how to start planning her finances. Got to do it now since her side of the family has a history of dementia.
I love that watch example.
I was laughing at myself the other day because I went from shopping as a bank customer with 100k+ in savings, straight to a little ceasars shop for my dinner for the day.
I learned a lot from the different scanerios you had to present when doing a Lowe's shop. I actually would have bought one of the doors I was shown had I needed one.

Kim
I learned how to negotiate a car to the point of putting the salesman in tears.

You know how you have to be a member of a target group (company, city, organization, etc.) to be a member of a credit union? Nope. They have bypasses for this.

The internet doesn't make you smart. It makes you good at regurgitation.
Soooo many things I've learned while shopping. Most of all the things listed above have been learning experiences. But...to just learn about the different types of this or that (cars, woods, door knobs, picture frames....whatever) has been useful.

I often tell my husb that one of the hidden benefits of MSing is the fact that you learn so much about so many different things
I have learned that BMW knows how to run a business, so I invested in BMW. Darden restauranta are completely on top of their game, so I invested in them also.

I have learned that customer service really does make a difference and should be taken seriously. I have learned that employee quality and effort wildly varies. I have learned that mystery shopping is a smart way for companies to see what exactly they are paying people to do or to not do.
@HonnyBrown wrote:

I learned how to negotiate a car to the point of putting the salesman in tears.

You know how you have to be a member of a target group (company, city, organization, etc.) to be a member of a credit union? Nope. They have bypasses for this.
My bank is a credit union, I opened accounts and was not asked about anything, never was a member of above mentioned. Been with them for years without being a member of anything.

Create a life that feels good on the inside, not one that just looks good on the outside.....
Dr. Judith Wright
I have learned how to make cash by watching out for big deals where as a new credit card holder you get very large rebates of the first several thousand dollars charged.

I have learned how many types of cash fraud can pass almost without notice at garages, on trains, in retail stores, and other venues.

I have met people from all over the world who were starting entirely new careers here in the US and were enthusiastic about it. But what really blew me away was how consistently the immigrants I shopped were the ones to remind me to vote, whenever an election was near. I almost never hear that from anyone with a local accent.

I have discovered the dream car (that I cannot afford) many times over.

Based in MD, near DC
Shopping from the Carolinas to New York
Have video cam; will travel

Poor customer service? Don't get mad; get video.
I've learned which phone I want, though I refuse to pay that much for a phone; which TV I want, though I refuse to pay that much for a TV, and which washer I would buy if I didn't think that any washer that works is good enough. I've learned that my big-name bank is actually kind of crappy when its offerings are compared to some others. Most of all, I've learned that you should never pay for any product or service until you've checked to see if they're shopped.
I learned that most employees take the mystery shopper program seriously. They are aware that we will be making visits.... Most of them try hard to please us. "smiling smiley
I feel I have been able to keep up with my adult grandchildren because I mystery shop. I know what they are talking about most of the time.
I learned that mystery shopping does make a difference in how locations are represented to the shopping public. Those places that have frequent MS programs tend to have better cleanliness and customer service. ie..When a new bank was added, I could see the difference between customer service at others with previous programs...greet, use name, chat, offer additional products, coffee, etc. New bank showed major improvements after a few months, probably due to training. Same with gas stations..those with programs (overall) tend to be in much better shape than say one like Delta, or Fly By Night Gas.

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A flower does not think of competing with the flower next to it. It just blooms.

Zen Shin Talks
I did a restaurant shop where the server threw down the sizzling fajita platter so hard, it slid across the table and was a hair's width from branding my bare skin. He was the same server that had his sides written in multi colored crayon on his cheat sheet that he read off to the diners.
Here’s one- always use your valet key that comes with your car and lock up your change, valuables, and any even snacks that you keep in your car before you hand it over. They will rifle through anything that looks interesting.
Also, valet attendants will drive it like they stole it, even if “it” is a minivan

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Seriously, nobody cares that you're offended.
There is no way I would valet my car. Even at the dealer you have to be careful. They took my manual WRX on a 30 mile joy ride. I take pictures of thr odometer on my cars and tell them this.
I learned to never, ever pay anything close to full (or sale) price for a mattress.

Shopping Southeast Pennsylvania, Delaware above the canal, and southwestern NJ since 2008
@Niner wrote:

There is no way I would valet my car. Even at the dealer you have to be careful. They took my manual WRX on a 30 mile joy ride. I take pictures of thr odometer on my cars and tell them this.

You can't valet a Subaru?
Some people are mental about their car. I’ve never been mental about a minivan.

@SoCalMama wrote:

@Niner wrote:

There is no way I would valet my car. Even at the dealer you have to be careful. They took my manual WRX on a 30 mile joy ride. I take pictures of thr odometer on my cars and tell them this.

You can't valet a Subaru?

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Seriously, nobody cares that you're offended.
I've learned that there can be wild variations in quality between some locations of a chain and others, and that you can feel a bad one the moment you walk in the door and have to fight to retain your objectivity for the entire rest of the visit.

I've learned that a restaurant chain that's been in bankruptcy for four years, has awful food and 2-star service (out of five) on Yelp, coast to coast, inexplicably has a shopper program.

I've learned that most bartenders are honest and that the dishonest ones can be outrageous in cash mis-handling. I've learned that Western Union clerks, almost universally, are personally concerned that you are being scammed if you cancel a money transfer, and want to stop you from being taken advantage of...Particularly the ones in the small barrio markets. I've learned the opposite about the clerks at payday loan outlets. Those people don't care about anyone.

I've learned, as noted so much by others, that chains that have a shopping program have much more consistent quality and customer service than the ones that don't.

There's bound to be a pony in here somewhere
Oh! And very gratifyingly, I've seen very clear improvement at three locations where I (and probably several other shoppers) wrote 'constructive' reports and then visited again later, either as a private citizen or after rotation. In two cases, the employees involved had done a major turnaround. It's nice to see that shopping can be a helpful tool in coaching employees for more success.

There's bound to be a pony in here somewhere
I learned that Dollar General has some locations that are full-fledged grocery stores, with a gas island and everything! Who knew?
Most recently, on here, I have learned how to e-mail photos to myself, put them in folders, and insert them in reports.

Due ENTIRELY to a fellow shopper who took the time to write out in specific detail how to do same from my iPhone.

I never would have learned this any other way.
I also learned about .99 stores and if your a good shopper, there are buys to be had. I've picked up Melatonan and Oprah;s new califlower pizza and other things...why not, stores over buy and stuff they can't can't handle goes there. Nothing from Mexico, thank you very much.

Create a life that feels good on the inside, not one that just looks good on the outside.....
Dr. Judith Wright
I've learned a lot about assisted living facilities and never to pay a community fee. I know all about cell phones, prices and plans. I've learned a popular gym caters to first-time gym users. I've learned how valuable shoppers were to Chipotle, evidenced by the lousy experiences I've had recently without the program in place. I know all about televisions, though I tend to use mine until they die. I know I'll probably never use a junk truck due to the expense. I've learned what guidelines are non-negotiable and which are. I've learned about smaller companies that reject shopper's reports yet use them later. I've learned medical procedure prices vary, and you can even negotiate some of them.

Evaluating and mailing packages since 1994
I've learned about cell phones, bank offerings, and mattresses for sure. I've also discovered some awesome restaurants through shopping that I probably wouldn't have tried otherwise!

Happily shopping the Pacific Northwest. Shopping since 2013 and editing since 2018 smiling smiley
That Google Scan docs sucks. I've also learned that a certain shoe store sells earrings. Everything else is just verification of what we already knew about businesses.
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