When customers get in the way of your evaluation

You never know what you'll experience on a mystery shop when it comes to customers. While I almost never make comments or non-verbal gestures while conducting a shop, its human nature for others to intervene in order to be social.

While conducting a restaurant evaluation earlier this week, I was sort of taken aback by a customer that did an incredibly good thing for the purpose of benefiting me, even though it was almost at my detriment. What did this customer do? He "paid it forward", meaning that he paid for my meal without telling me. The server indicated this at an unexpected moment. A major aspect of the shop was to obtain a receipt. When I went to pay for a dessert just for the sake of obtaining a receipt, the customer paid for it AGAIN. I nonetheless walked out ofbthe restaurant without a receipt, and with that feeling of defeat due to the possibility of re-doing this shop.

I called my scheduler immediately, and explained what had happened. Given that this was a video shop (thankfully), she indicated that the client would understand this unusual and rare occurrence (it was very rare for me). She noted that in this situation, turning in the shop without a receipt would be okay.

My lesson on this day- when in an unusual situation, always, always, ALWAYS contact your scheduler if occurences such as this happen.

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This happens to women a lot. Not paying it forward necessarily... Maybe you were attractive to him?

I had to quit doing bar shops at BJ's for awhile. I had to re-do them more than once. Guys were picking up my tab.

Some guy kept buying my drinks in Miami Beach too. It was an integrity shop. Super annoying, since I wanted to get out of there and get some sleep.
No, he wasn't hitting on me. The customer was his wife, and was polite with me after entering the restaurant at almost the same time. Paying it forward was just a thing for him to do, I suppose.
Yes, it does happen frequently.

This happens to me every single time I do my sports bar shop on the last shoppable day. The first time, I was unnerved because I can't reshop. Luckily, the scheduler told me to explain what happened, and to get a receipt the next time. I did the report and got paid my fee.

When it happened again a few months later, I asked the server for the receipt. She gave me both with no questions asked. I explained what happened in my report.

@SoCalMama wrote:

This happens to women a lot. Not paying it forward necessarily... Maybe you were attractive to him?

I had to quit doing bar shops at BJ's for awhile. I had to re-do them more than once. Guys were picking up my tab.

Some guy kept buying my drinks in Miami Beach too. It was an integrity shop. Super annoying, since I wanted to get out of there and get some sleep.

The internet doesn't make you smart. It makes you good at regurgitation.
Heck, I've even had clerks at convenience stores insist on buying my peanuts or crackers or whatever for me.

Very, very sweet, but embarrassing. Golly, do I actually look like I can't afford $1?

But the customer intervention I most recall is doing a JetSki shop. I was asking the salesman about safety, and another woman customer came over, asked me if I could swim, and immediately went into safety issues in depth!!! I just went along with it, and when she was done, I turned to the salesman and said "You should hire her! She's terrific!" He smiled and said, "I already did. She's my wife!"

That was a fun report.
I had a customer (60+ years old so not an idiot kid either) decide that it was hilarious to flip me off when I was trying to take an overall site gas station picture the other day. Who does that?!? Fortunately, I noticed it while I was taking the picture so I was able to retake it.
I was doing a grocery store shop and asked the butcher the required question and a customer answered it before the butcher could.

Another time i was doing a bank credit card inquiry and the banker called my name. I got up and he asked how he could help me. I said i was shopping around for a credit card and a customer told me that i should just look online.
@KarenMSW wrote:

I had a customer (60+ years old so not an idiot kid either) who flipped me off

Sorry about that, but what makes you think I'm over 60?

Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 02/11/2019 02:14AM by Aquiest.
I've had people try to pay for my items in C-stores. I had to say, "No, thank you". The people thought I was being rude but, it wasn't rude; it was more fear! I'm thinking, "Oh my gosh, no! Please don't pay for it!" There is nothing in my demeanor when I'm doing a shop is screaming, "Pay for my items for me!" so, I am baffled why people keep trying.

Shopping Arkansas, Louisiana, & Mississippi.


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/11/2019 12:55PM by ArkLaMissshopping.
Ha! This is so funny to me. I'm usually offered free drinks when i'm having drinks on my own tab but never when i'm "working".
@pegleg2000 wrote:

I was doing a grocery store shop and asked the butcher the required question and a customer answered it before the butcher could.
That exact same thing has happened to me on a grocery shop before, too!! What can you do?? Just listen, and then ask the associate, "Is that person right?" or "can you add any other details?" or something like that!
@eyelove2shop wrote:

Ha! This is so funny to me. I'm usually offered free drinks when i'm having drinks on my own tab but never when i'm "working".

You are twice lucky. It seems every time I get something comped or someone infrequently comes along and picks up my bill (I am old now so it happens way less often) it is on a shop. And every time I mutter to myself, "Why does this only happen on a shop. I almost never get things comped when I am not getting reimbursed."
We have a grocery client with a scenario where the shopper is supposed to leave an item on the bottom of the cart to see if the cashier or bagger is checking the carts for missed items. If it is not noticed before the total is called, the shopper brings it to the cashier's attention before cashing out. At least a few times a year, the customer behind the shopper in line jumps in with a friendly reminder to the shopper about their cart bottom item. Whoops! It can't really be helped, and the question end up N/A'd.

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