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Apr 22 / mystery shopper

Couldn’t find the shop!

My second mystery shop didn’t go quite as smoothly as the first one because I couldn’t even find the thing I was supposed to be pretending to buying. My mystery shopping brief said that I was supposed to find a member of staff in the Hallett Retail department of a Debenhams store and ask them for assistance in purchasing a top for a night out. It was clear on the brief that I had to get assistance from a member of staff who worked on that department and not a Debenhams member of staff.

So my first job was to locate the department I was supposed to be mystery shopping. I went into the Debenhams store and spent 20 minutes looking for it. When I couldn’t find the department I asked three members of staff if they could point me in the direction of the Hallett Retail department, but none of them had even heard of it. I did another lap of the menswear section and was beginning to think that I was giving away the fact that I was the mystery shopper. So by this point I was convinced it didn’t exist and maybe this was some sort of test they send all new recruits on to make sure you are actually doing the mystery shop. I went outside the shop and rang the mystery shopping company. I told them that I couldn’t find the Hallett Retail department and the lady on the phone explained that it wasn’t a department, but actually a range of clothes with several different brands I had to find. I looked back at my brief and saw six brands I had never heard of before. None of which I had noticed in the store the first time, but I went back in anyway.

After another couple of laps of the menswear department, saw all the brands I recognised such as Levi’s, Tommy Hillfiger but none of the ones I was looking for. Just as I was about to give up I noticed three clothes stands with emo T-Shirts on. I couldn’t believe the whole time I had been looking for Shirts you would wear on a night out and there was these emo T-Shirts I would never wear on a night out. I had a look around and there was only one staff member in the department. I went up to her and said “I was hoping you can help me, I’m looking for a top for a night out”. As soon as I said it she smiled a little. Now maybe its something about the nature of this job but I was sure she knew I was the mystery shopper.

She started selecting tops she thought would suit me just like it said she was supposed to on the mystery shoppers brief. She took me to the changing room to let me try them on and waited outside the whole time giving me her opinion of what she thought looked best, then went back and changed the ones that didn’t fit. I’m pretty sure she knew I was the mystery shopper and if she didn’t, she certainly would have after I had to make an excuse to leave without buying anything, even though I’d spent about half an hour trying on all the different shirts. However the one thing I did learn from this was that it probably wasn’t worth all the effort and time it took for £12. It would have been ok had I not spent half the time unable to find what I was looking for and the fact that I had to drive and pay for parking then get stuck in rush hour as well. All in all though it was a successful mystery shop and the girl got a glowing report from me.