share a "caught off guard" mystery shopping moment...

Mine is that I went to a store and asked if they sold powerwashers per the guidelines. The employee said, "what's that?" I didn't know either and I stumbled, "uh, I don't know, my mom told me to go get one." grinning smiley

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 12/20/2018 01:34AM by fluteplaya.

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I did a trifecta at a large bank. The one portion that threw me off was an investment inquiry that I previously shopped maybe a year ago. Dude remembered me. I had to come up with a back story quickly.

"There's so much trouble in this world; surrounded by miracles" - Citizen Cope
I shopped a grocery store religiously until the MSC lost the client. Then recently they got it back, but I wasn't thrilled with the new shop requirements so passed. But I did go into the store to do some personal shopping. An associate came up to me and said, "Hey did you hear we're being mystery shopped again? Did they call you?" Umm, AWKWARD!
Doing some personal shopping at a big box electronics store a few months after a mystery shop, the associate walked up to me and said, "Hello again, which TV did you end up buying?" I found that to be pretty awkward.
I had a cashier lean out the window of the walk-up food stand I was shopping and straight up as "Are you a mystery shopper?"
Mine was when I had to go to an equipment store and ask about a snowblower or a generator. In my area, we don't have ANY use for a snowblower. So, I thought I would ask about a generator. Come to find out, the brand name company I was shopping equipment for doesn't even make generators. So, I was at a loss. I decided to shop a lawnmower. A lawnmower during the winter time, in my area, makes more sense than a snowblower. After I submitted my report and stated what happened, they added a lawnmower to my choices for the remaining shops.

Shopping Arkansas, Louisiana, & Mississippi.
My all-time caught off guard moment was when I was at a retailer shopping for a washing machine/dryer set with one employee at a store that was north of a mid-sized US city. There are only two stores of the same name in this city, and the second location was 30 minutes south of store 1. Upon arrival at store #2 for the same product inquiries, the employee from store #1 sees me and makes a comment to the tune of "What, you couldn't find what you were looking for at my store?" Turns out that this employee was covering someone's lunch break at store #2. Keep in mind that this is a video shop.

I decided to wait this employee out. I browse other items within the store for about 15 minutes, ignoring questions from other employees regarding financing, etc. All the while, I'm watching where the shopped employee from store #1 is located at. While noticing that he is in the back of the store within the electronics section, I proceed to the front of the store to the washer/dryer section (the assigned products for this client) and complete a full shop. All the way, I notice the employee from store #1 eyeballing me all the way in the back of the store with a look of astonishment.

Altogether, the MSC retailer accepted the shop with my editor comments on a rare occurrence.
Eric, if that was one of a chain of rent-to-own stores, mainly in poor neighborhoods, I have met that guy! I also did 2 across town (different town) from one another. At the first, a truck with the store logo was loading appliances into it. At the second, the same crew was delivering those appliances. Surprises all around! And, all on video.

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 was on a shop at a California Tortilla, I used to shop them often for the previous MSC. The manager sits down at my table and starts shooting the breeze with me. I eat there occasionally on my own dime as well. I dined there recently, she sat down again and we chatted a bit. I am not sure I would be able to shop the location, if I wanted to, for the current MSC.

My posts are solely based on my opinions and for my entertainment, contact a professional if you need real advice.

When you get in debt you become a slave. - Andrew Jackson
Cellphone shop about three years ago when I was working full time for a small business. There were only 5 of us, total, that worked for this company, and we knew each other well. The one lady who was with me often picked up her high school senior daughter from school and she'd be around for a little while, not causing anyone any harm, but needless to say, I saw her enough to be able to recognize her and vice versa.

Walk into the cellphone shop, and who's there ready to assist me, of course, my co-workers daughter, who immediately called out my name and started making small talk. There was no way I could continue the shop, so I just looked for accessories. I had one day left in the shopping window after this, so I went back hoping she was not there, and she wasn't.

This was a shock also because the cellphone store was about 30 miles away from where I worked, and about 20 miles from where I knew my co-worker lived. (Only 10 miles away from me).

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/20/2018 03:16PM by KA047.
Yesterday I did a custom closet shop that let me pick one of three scenarios. I decided I wanted to prettify my garage, but the location I went to did not have any displays for that. The associate kept telling me to go to the company website or their sister store 15 minutes away.

Happiness is not a goal; it is a by-product. Eleanor Roosevelt
doing one of the chase bank shops and before I could get the words out of my mouth on overdraft fee the banker says here let me get you what you need aka the required materials. I had never done this location nor this banker but had done several other locations that day. What did the other locations call ahead or were the shoppers the only ones who started off asking about overdraft fees. Easy shop for me so who cares but definetly weird.

Shopping Western NY, Northeast and Central PA, and parts of Ohio and West Virginia. Have car will travel anywhere if the monies right.
@walesmaven Lol. I know which rent-to-own chain you are talking about, but its not the one. This retailer (very large, big box-type) is popular in the south, and has a dubious name and reputation for the perception of charging its customers high interest rates over the last 100 years. They are in all sorts of neighborhoods- I've shopped them as far west in Arizona, and as east as Richmond, VA. The MSC normally asks for me to shop them a few dozens of times per year, which I don't mind (their employee turnover is somewhat high).

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/23/2018 04:31PM by Eric in Tampa.
I shop many Kroger's shops and they move the butcher's around, so doing another, there is my butcher from the one lose to my home and I'm in all the time, job or not. He runs up to me saying, what are you doing in these parts of make matters worse, I had to ask him a stupid question as if I didn't know which fish is good to BBQ. I think he knows I'm the shopper as he is always so gracious running out to greet me, yes, he always gets a good report (and deserves it). I've shopped large T.V.'s so many times, the associate once said, you must have a huge house.....I said, my husband is so fussy about this purchase and I do the leg work. I'd think they must be brain dead not to know the shopper.

Live consciously....

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/23/2018 05:10PM by Irene_L.A..
I went to a part hosted by a friend who does not know I do MSing. He mentioned that he had just started working as a server at a high-end eatery I had been shopping on an occasional basis. Later during the party I walked into a room where he and two of his co-workers were agreeing that "It's SO STUPID they ask if we crumbed the table. NO ONE CARES about that." Luckily the subject quickly changed. Obviously I don't shop that eatery any more.
This has happened to me twice- when the server starts to call you "my loves." The first time this happened, there was a rapid personality change also.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/24/2018 12:57PM by Niner.
Seems I'm always running into a Kroger's employee at a different store...yesterday I'm in produce in a Kroger's that I don't normally shop and low and behold, there he is, "hi, haven't seen you in awhile, what brings you here"?
I quickly say, I was shopping at Marshall's and needed a few things, why are you here. oh, they change us around as needed. Who knows if I'm spotted as a shopper, but I definitely get around.....variety is the spice of life.

Live consciously....
I was at a local restaurant when the manager (?) rushed over to my table and asked, "Are you a mystery shopper!?" Half question, half statement. I continued eye contact with him, not missing a beat, I asked, "Does that mean I get a free meal, like when it's your birthday?" He was stumped and then said no. I asked, "Does that mean I get a discount?" He looked even more deflated and then said no. I asked, "Does that mean I get a free dessert?" He looked totally dejected and then said no and apologized and left the table.

After dinner, my dining partner and I had a good laugh in the car in the parking lot.

I was in the same restaurant the following week and the same manager/guy said nothing to me.
I shopped a new to me pizza shop..the instructions explicitly state the pizza slice has to be New York style. When I got to the location; I asked for a new york style slice of pizza. The employee looked at me like I had lost my mind. I repeated myself 4 times; and the employee finally said all of our pizza is New York style.

Shopping Idaho and Oregon/Idaho border region.
I did the Boarshead meat shop. The deli clerk didn't do anything she was supposed to do.

When I got to the cashier I had $12 and change in merchandise. As the cashier is ringing me up, she says, "How do you like this roast beef?" Without thinking, I said, "I haven't tried it yet." She says, "They didn't give you a sample?" I said, "No." She promptly removed the charge and comped me the roast beef, bringing my total down to $9 and change. I couldn't think of anything to say or do.

I explained it in my report. I got my hand slapped but they did take the report with a warning that it was a one-time-only exception.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 12/26/2018 07:58PM by whiterosie.
@dawnhu wrote:

I shopped a new to me pizza shop..the instructions explicitly state the pizza slice has to be New York style. When I got to the location; I asked for a new york style slice of pizza. The employee looked at me like I had lost my mind. I repeated myself 4 times; and the employee finally said all of our pizza is New York style.
I did a bank (chase) asking about credit cards. The associate/employee who helped me is manager who floats, very friendly and talkative. Matters because I saw this same employee/manager at a different bank , she said “ you shop around “. I quickly came up with that I like to make sure all my corners are covered “, she laughed! I was watching and hoping I wouldn’t run into her again.
I went into a famous burrito fast casual and this girl tapped me on the shoulder (I recognized her from the famous fast casual burger shop) and she said, "Wow! You mystery shop here too!" I said, "No." (I wanted to crawl under a rock) I prayed she would not say anything to the other associates in the burrito store. I tried to avoid her after that and vowed never to do the burrito shop again! tongue sticking out smiley
dawnhu, it's funny you wrote this because this happened to me the very first time I did this shop. The employee looked at me like I came from outer space or somewhere when she said, "All of our pizzas are New York style!" I forgot about it until you mentioned it. Now, you have me laughing.

@dawnhu wrote:

I shopped a new to me pizza shop..the instructions explicitly state the pizza slice has to be New York style. When I got to the location; I asked for a new york style slice of pizza. The employee looked at me like I had lost my mind. I repeated myself 4 times; and the employee finally said all of our pizza is New York style.

Shopping Arkansas, Louisiana, & Mississippi.
I did a new car shop yesterday.

A while back, I mentored a new shopper. She lives quite close to me.

The salesman said to me, "Why, I just had a customer from your neck of the woods. Do you know XXXXXX?"

Well, yes. I taught her how to MS, and I referred her to this company for this shop, which she just did last week.

"Nope. Never heard of her. Maybe she's new to the area?"

But it really did floor me!
Recently I entered a bank that I had shopped about four months ago. The scenario was slightly different this time and as soon as I walked in, I was greeted by a banker. She was the same one that I had met with before. I approached the counter. She looked at me and said, "Maria, right?" I nodded my head, tried for a slightly puzzled expression, then proceeded to ask questions about the bank product I had been instructed to express interest in. The shop proceeded fine after that initial moment of panic, but as I left, I knew that I wouldn't be returning there for a long time!
The cashier at an Aveda store asked me, "How long have you been shopping Aveda?" I told him I had been a customer for years, and was hoping that's what he meant.

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

Zen Shin Talks
They no longer do Boarshead, but I was in getting something for myself (not a shop) and the employee says, "hi, you changed the color of your hair", "oh my, you notice and family doesn't, interesting!!

Live consciously....
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