"Have fun with your mystery shop."

First time poster here.

I was calling to cancel an appointment as part of the requirements for a phone shop, and at the end of the call, the receptionist said, "Have fun with your mystery shop." How common is this? And how screwed am I?

Thanks!

"And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age." -Matthew 28:20

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I was once asked if I was the mystery shopper. I replied, "What makes a shopper mysterious. I don't think tht I am very mysterious!" The sales clerk looked puzzled and apologized for making me think that I was anything else but a valued customer.

Shopping Southeast Pennsylvania, Delaware above the canal, and southwestern NJ since 2008
It is not common and should be reported just as it happened. All too often MSCs have too specific requirements about just what you are to do or to say and that opens the door to detection by the location. They should know better, but they want to retain some fiction of 'complete uniformity' and as a result, smart locations figure it out quickly and do their song and dance to unusual perfection or call out the shopper. If you were calling on a recorded line, the location may have noticed a familiar number or an out-of-area code number for a very local service. You can only play with the cards you are dealt and the MSC needs to be made aware that they aren't playing with a full deck.
Just complete your shop according to the guidelines and get paid. It's not up to you to determine if the questions you are required to ask identify you as a mystery shopper, just faint ignorance.
@Flash I completely agree with you. Too many times the clients ask for things that can give us away as mystery shoppers. I get that they want bases covered and for every aspect to be observed BUT if its going to give us away as shoppers, its pointless. In the future, employees will notice and be able to perfect their service once they know that they have an easy way of identifying the shoppers. The clients really should know better.
Like @wrosie said, as long as you conducted the shop according to the guidelines, the MSC has no cause to deny payment. As to out-of-area telephone numbers possibly appearing on clients' Caller ID, keep in mind that with the proliferation of cell phones, the old-fashioned concept of an area code "belonging" to a specific area will soon go the way of the dinosaurs.

If, during a telephone shop, someone should ask why my "out-of-area" area code appears on their Caller ID, my ready excuse is that "this is my cell phone, and I used to live in the _____ area, and I don't want to give up this number, but I live right here in ________ [general area of where the client is located] now."
@Flash wrote:

You can only play with the cards you are dealt and the MSC needs to be made aware that they aren't playing with a full deck.

99 times out of 100 they know this already. Telling them forces them to either acknowledge to the shopper the shop is flawed or give them a song and dance. Neither is helpful. It puts the MSC in an awkward position with both the shopper and the client. As our client putting them in an awkward position is poor business. Just laugh about it, do the report, and move on.

There are reasons that a body stays in motion
At the moment only demons come to mind
It wasn't recorded, so I don't think it'll affect me anyway. I'm not too worried about losing payment for the reasons many of you have stated. It was just jarring to be confronted that bluntly.

"And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age." -Matthew 28:20
I have a friend; every time I leave to go on a shop, she says "Have fun!"

I have told her over and over, this isn't fun, it's WORK. Please STOP saying that!!!

I can only imagine it would be much, much worse coming from the client!!!
I did a post office job once where the clerk said at the end to give a good report. I just kinda looked at her like "huh?" and left.
I had a retail shop where the sales staff were loudly discussing among themselves who in the store was the shopper. They concluded that the shopper clearly had not arrived yet because no one was behaving like a mystery shopper.

I had a bank shop where at the end of the interaction the banker asked, "You aren't a mystery shopper by any chance?" And I said, "Of course not. Don't you watch Judge Judy? Mystery shopping is a scam." He shrugged and gave an embarrassed laugh.
@Equine24 wrote:

I did a post office job once where the clerk said at the end to give a good report. I just kinda looked at her like "huh?" and left.

Probably referring to the survey at the bottom of the receipt.

If not, I would have mentioned the survey and said, "Oh yeah, I'll try to remember to do that. Does anyone read those?"
@callinectes wrote:

It didn't take me long to realize my improv training was going to be very useful while doing shops!

Yep. Saw the manager from Friday night's hotel in a different hotel on Sunday morning. She called me out on it. I agreed. I was at the other hotel on Friday night. Friday's hotel was $100 more a night than Saturday's hotel, so we switched. True and believable. 20 years ago, I would have peed my pants.
@spiralofsilence wrote:

First time poster here.

I was calling to cancel an appointment as part of the requirements for a phone shop, and at the end of the call, the receptionist said, "Have fun with your mystery shop." How common is this? And how screwed am I?

Thanks!

I've never had someone be so blunt, but on several grocery shops, I've felt the floor person I asked the question of the month to knew and was giving me signs (e.g., nodding profusely and smiling HUGE, doing a double-take and staring at my eyes for a long time directly after I asked one of the fixed questions, etc.).

They might have heard the same q's all month long and knew I was just another shopper testing them.

Never had long-term issues, though. I can still shop those locations.
I know what you are talking about. Sometimes, when I cancel the appointment they don't even ask my name. They'll say something like "We know who you are" or "Let me guess." I had one guy asking me "How did I do on your little mystery shop?" I pretend to not understand. As long as you don't say that you are one, you are fine.
@spiralofsilence wrote:

"Have fun with your mystery shop."

That is funny!smiling smiley!smiling smiley

I wouldn't worry at all about it.

A Dad shopping the Ark-LA-Tex and beyond.


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/11/2019 03:30AM by ShoppingDad.
I tell myself, here's a job close by, no driving, have fun...beats telling myself this is a drag, sick of it.

Live consciously....
There's nothing you can do! One time at on an upscale restaurant shop, the waiter asked me if I was a mystery shopper, because "only mystery shoppers ask us about that." I asked him what a mystery shopper was, and he explained it to me. I acted excited and said I wanted to sign up and asked if he knew who to talk to! Free meals? And money? LOL
I'd ignore the comment, let her have her moment, do the report and move on.

Live consciously....
My second shop in April of 2003, was for a, still in existence, steakhouse that, as I recall, owned their own MSC: Focus On Service. The appealing aspects of this work were that a guest was not required, I was given a seven day window and a $30 reimbursement. During my second visit two months later, the manager approached me to reveal he knew I was the shopper, because he been informed of both when I had visited and where I sat. I was so green in the business I could not comprehend any logic to informing management of those details. I now realize, though, that sometimes we are just playing a game.
@Equine24 wrote:

I did a post office job once where the clerk said at the end to give a good report. I just kinda looked at her like "huh?" and left.

maybe the clerk meant on the survey that they are supposed to highlight and invite you to fill out?
I used to do bar/food compliance shops for a Dallas based chain in Dallas about 4-5 years ago. They used to ask me for my description, what I wore and where at the bar I sat. I'm guessing it was so management could review the video of my shop and compare or view along with my commentary.

The reports were pretty intensive but I enjoyed the reimbursed drinks and food and the clientele I got to meet while doing the shops, so I did quite a few. I felt the scheduler liked me and sometimes I would shop two locations in a single night as they would have different restaurants next door to each other.

The interesting thing was there were many times when there was a complete change over of the bar staff month to month as I did these shops. I only felt I was doing my job and not ratting out any of the staff. If they had been doing their job as they should have, I feel I might have seen the same staff month to month.

I don't think I saw many bar staff breaking the shopping report rules, so perhaps, there was just that much turn over in this chain's staff.
I have had one shop I gave a bad report on a bartender as he ignored me to cater to his regulars. The problem I had was that he was an excellent shopped bartender previously. The difference between the two shops is he became a new father and was so excited to share his experience with his regulars that he ignored me.

Apparently, he disputed the report as he and the manager watched the video and claimed I was on my phone too much to have given a good report. I responded that I was taking notes on my phone and never heard anything else back and got paid for the shop.

Just ignore any mystery shopping references and do the shop and report what you experienced. That's the job!
@shopperbob wrote:

My second shop in April of 2003, was for a, still in existence, steakhouse that, as I recall, owned their own MSC: Focus On Service. The appealing aspects of this work were that a guest was not required, I was given a seven day window and a $30 reimbursement. During my second visit two months later, the manager approached me to reveal he knew I was the shopper, because he been informed of both when I had visited and where I sat. I was so green in the business I could not comprehend any logic to informing management of those details. I now realize, though, that sometimes we are just playing a game.

Today, I was very excited to see and take a lunch shop for this steakhouse. I haven't seen it since Focus on Service ended the program. It might be just a promotional type thing, but I enjoy that place.

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

Zen Shin Talks
I have been called out once at a pizza place where I was shopping the bar. I had been there two months before and the only, and minor, flaw was that the drinks weren't garnished. So I came back two months later and ordered my drink and it came with two limes, a lemon and a mint sprig. The bartender put it down, looked at me, and said "How's that for garnish" with a big smile. It seems the company shared the entire report including our order and the bartender immediately remembered us when they read it. On the plus side, they always know my name and my drink now.
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