Hello. I was looking at a company's description of an unrevealed gas station shop that they want someone to do. They want you to pump gas, buy something inside, check cleanliness, etc., and at the end go and take a photo of the overall store and the primary ID sign. Now, does this seem weird to any of you considering the fact that this is supposed to be unrevealed? Do these companies not realize that when the store clerk sees you taking pictures that it is going to be "obvious" that you just mystery shopped them? Is this just me??? Thanks in advance for your opinions.
Hi Dawn. You don't have to take those pics on the premises. I often shoot the main id from inside my car and then drive off the premises for the overall shot. Also, the clerks are not hyper attentive to the outside unless it is a station where you can pump gas without prepaying. Not many of those around. I wouldn't be concerned whether they saw me or not. You've already done everything except take the pics. That's why you do them last.
Mary Davis Nowell. Based close to Fort Worth. Shopping Interstate 20 east and west, Interstate 35 north and south.
I always do the photos last so that if they notice me and figure out that I just mystery shopped them, it's too late to do anything about it at that point (meaning I've already got all my observations). But, you'd be amazed at how much people are not paying attention to you. I don't think I've had one gas station where I felt like they suspected me as a mystery shopper yet. Even the one where I paid $1 for a bottle of water, asked for my receipt and was careful to put the receipt in my wallet, and then walk out without my water (!!). I came back a few minutes later and felt dumb, but the guy didn't even blink.
I also just did one where you had to take photos of the outside if anything was wrong, such as a pump being out of order. I thought that was a dead give away too, if the clerk would look out the window.
I did gas station shops recently where they required photos of the pumps, but you were not allowed to buy gas. I thought that was dumb. So I parked at the pumps and cleaned my windshield, then snuck a picture quick, only hoping they weren't looking out the window.
I find a pump to park at that is not in direct vision of the cstore attendant. Then I wash my windshield if I"m not buying gas and go inside. When i get back out, I shoot a photo of the pump if there's something that is negative, usually without being seen. I try to look like I'm texting as well. I'll smile at the screen and tap a few times. Then I go across the street to shoot the main ID and the overall. All that driving in heavy traffic generally takes longer than the actual shop.
I did a debranded gas station "unrevealed" but carried a LOA, "just in case" I was approached. I was required to take pics of all the pumps, take pics of all POP regarding the former company, inside and out, all station signs. ect. I got to Pump #10 and the associate came outside and said, "I noticed you are taking pictures. Is everything okay?"
I felt so weird. I told her at that point who I was and I had an LOA. She was very pleasant! (It could have gotten ugly if the wrong person worked the front--like telling me to leave) But I got lucky and she was good about the whole thing.
I normally do revealed debranding audits. I just wonder why this particular client wanted me to be undercover when there was not much "undercover" about it. I wish they would have made it revealed but I saw the guidelines and decided to take the plunge
I take my pictures at the end of the shop and have never been approached. I don't even think they notice me. The entire gas station can be taken across the street. The hardest part for me is getting the picture in the frame from across the street.
Thanks to all for the pic advice--I have comic book shops coming up that require exterior and encourage interior. Since these types of shops are not usually huge enough to hide, I was feeling apprehensive about being revealed/approached.